The Peasant in the City

This piece was written for a Zacheta show, Polska – kraj folkloru? You can download the catalogue in English here. It includes excellent essays by Gabriela Świtek, Błażej Brzostek and the curator, Joanna Kordjak. A Socialist capital – a city for every citizen … the worker, the peasant and the working intelligentsia’ – political slogan Poland, … Continue reading

Modernism Redux

In October 1993, Charles Jencks, the leading advocate of architectural postmodernism, was guest of honour at an international conference and exhibition on ‘Post-Modernism and National Cultures’ which was held at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. This event coincided with the Yeltsin coup, which culminated on October 3-4 with the fighting at the Ostankino TV Center, … Continue reading

Interview with Herito magazine

In May Herito published an interview with me on socmodernist architecture in Eastern Europe – you can read it here.

Empty Plots – Art and Environment in Latvia in the 1970s

This short essay was written for a publication accompanying the Visionary Structures exhibition at BOZAR, Brussels, opening in January 2015. In the early 1970s Environment occupied a central place in the lexicon of art and design on both sides of the Cold War divide. It was not, of course, a newly-coined term: more than a … Continue reading

Piłsudski’s Architect

This article appears in the catalogue on the life and work of the Polish architect Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz in Kraków in 2013-14 – details here. I also gave a lecture for the finissage of the show in February 2014 – you can watch it here:   Writing after the liberation of Kraków at the end of … Continue reading

Honzík – how high the sky?

This is an extract of a talk which I will present at the ‘Afterlives of Constructivism‘ conference at Princeton University in May 2013 ♦ At the height of the period of liberalization in Czechoslovakia in the mid 1960s, architects began imagining the kind of ambitious projects for cities and buildings that went far beyond the … Continue reading

Walking With Hansen

In lieu of the full text, here is a link to a talk on Oskar Hansen’s ideas about the mobile body. It was presented at a conference at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in June 2013.

Paris or Moscow? Warsaw Architects and the Image of the Modern City in the 1950s

In 1934 architects Szymon Syrkus and Jan Chmielewski presented their plans for the future of Warsaw at the a meeting of the Comité International pour la Résolution des Problèmes de l’Architecture Contemporaine, a key Modern Movement forum (and the elected executive body of CIAM, the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne). Their plan for ‘Warszawa Funkcjonalna’ (Functional … Continue reading

Modernizacje 1918-1939. Czas przyszły dokonany – review

This review was commissioned by the European Architectural History Network in 2010. ♦ Like a number of other exhibitions on modernist art and architecture, Modernizacje 1918-1939. Czas przyszły dokonany (Modernizations 1918-1939: Future Perfect) at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź opened with images of a society in revolutionary turmoil. In this case it was not Soviet … Continue reading

The Photographer in the Hall of Mirrors

This is an extract of an long essay on the work of photographer Nicolas Grospierre. It will appear in a book surveying his practice that will be published in 2013. ♦ … Unlike painters or sculptors, architects do not work directly on their creations. They rely on drawing and occasionally model-making to act as a … Continue reading