Russian architecture abroad: 5 famous buildings


Projects of Russian architects abroad reflect the history of the country. With the help of the churches, Russia spread its influence and consolidated its political successes. With the help of pavilions at world exhibitions, she demonstrated the successes of national art. The cultural platform “Synchronization” made a selection of buildings that Russian architects built in Europe

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia

1904-1912, architect Alexander Pomerantsev

In the late 19th – early 20th centuries, the Russian Empire extended not only political influence, but also religious influence to the controlled territories. Architects became the conductors of this influence. This is how large Orthodox churches and cathedrals appeared in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Poland. For Russians, the most recognizable of them is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia. This is the visiting card of the Bulgarian capital and the largest religious building in Bulgaria: it can accommodate 5 thousand people.

Following the results of the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878, Bulgaria received autonomy within the Ottoman Empire thanks to the Russian emperor and his army. In memory of this, it was decided to build a cathedral in 1879, but due to the death of the author of the first project, Ivan Bogomolov, construction began only in 1904. The highest point in the city center was chosen for the building. Although the temple was supposed to remind of Russia, there are also Bulgarian motives in its decoration. For example, the oak doors of the main entrance are decorated with carvings in the old Bulgarian style. Inside the cathedral there are 82 icons and more than 200 frescoes: they were painted by Bulgarian and Russian artists.

Parliament building of Serbia in Belgrade

1907-1936, architect Nikolai Krasnov

After the outbreak of the Civil War in Russia, many architects emigrated. They continued to work abroad: they mainly designed Orthodox churches that still stand in Brussels, Prague, Paris and New York. But everything was not limited to temples and cathedrals. For example, the architect Nikolai Krasnov built several government buildings in Serbian Belgrade. The most notable of these is the building of the National Assembly (Parliament) of Serbia.

Before the revolution, Nikolai Krasnov was the architect of Nicholas II and built the Livadia Palace in Yalta for the emperor. After the execution of the royal family, he could not remain in Russia and went first to Constantinople, then to Malta, and finally in 1922 he moved to Belgrade. There he got a job at the Ministry of Construction and designed several key buildings for the capital: the Parliament, the Ministry of Finance (now the Serbian government is located there), the Ministry of Forestry and Mines (now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the State Archives.

Before Nikolai Krasnov, the parliament building was designed by three architects, but in 20 years they did not advance further than the first floor. Krasnov completed the project in two years, thought out the interior of the building and laid out a park near the assembly. By the way, the main sculpture in this park was made by another Russian emigrant – Roman Verkhovskaya.

The People's Assembly was built in the neo-baroque style. A light green dome rises above the building, two more smaller ones on the sides. The main entrance is designed as a portico with columns. Inside, the walls of the building are decorated with stucco and frescoes, floors and stairs are made of white marble, in niches near the stairs are bronze statues that symbolize education and justice.

Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

1914, architect Alexey Shchusev

The Venice Biennale is one of the largest exhibitions of world art. Russia has been participating in it since its inception in 1895. At the beginning of the 20th century, European interest in Russia grew, and in 1914 this success was consolidated with the construction of a Russian pavilion in Venice. It became the country's first exhibition space abroad.

Architect Alexei Shchusev created a tower-pavilion in the neo-Russian style. The building demonstrated the uniqueness of Russian architecture: wooden gates in the through-carving technique, a glass roof with a double-headed eagle, vignettes on the facade. Since 1914, the Russian exposition at the Biennale has been located in this building.

The project of the Russian pavilion in Venice. Lagoon-side façade and side façade. 1913. Paper on cardboard, ink, watercolor. 67.5 x 46.4 cm. Private collection, published for the first time. Illustration from the book “Russian Pavilion in Venice. A. V. Shchusev “.

Russian and Soviet architects also created other pavilions for international exhibitions. In 1925, the USSR pavilion for the Paris exhibition was built by the constructivists Melnikov and Rodchenko. In 1937, Iofan's pavilion was presented there, crowned with the sculpture “Worker and Collective Farm Woman”. The pavilion with the sculpture of Mukhina was returned to Russia and installed at VDNKh, the library from the Rodchenko pavilion can be seen under reconstruction, but the Russian house in Venice has survived. It has been altered many times over the course of a hundred years, but you can still see it.

Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw

1952–1955, architect Lev Rudnev

The buildings of the Moscow State University, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and five other skyscrapers of the 1940s and 1950s became the symbol of the “Stalinist Empire” style. The fashion for massive buildings with towers and spiers spread to countries friendly to the USSR. High-rise buildings appeared in China, Mongolia, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic. Somewhere they were built by local architects, and somewhere by Soviet. For example, the Polish Palace of Culture and Science was designed by the Soviet architect Lev Rudnev, the author of the design of the main building of Moscow State University.

He did not want to make a simple copy of Moscow skyscrapers and brought a Polish flavor to the building. In the design of the tower, he made references to the Town Hall in Krakow, and the decorative elements echo the Cracow Cloth Rows of the 13th century. This building is the tallest in Poland. Its height is 187.68 m, and together with the spire – 237 m.

Museum of Architectural Drawing in Berlin

2011–2013, architects Sergei Tchoban, Ekaterina Rykova

In the late XX – early XXI centuries, the buildings of Russian architects abroad ceased to be ideological. Architects from Russia prove that they can create international projects without national flavor. SPEECH founder Sergei Tchoban has been living in Berlin since the mid-90s and has erected several notable buildings in the city: the Coca-Cola headquarters, the DomAquarée hotel and business complex and the Mall of Berlin.

Museum of Architectural Drawing became a personal project for Sergei. He not only built this building, but also founded the museum itself: the exposition is based on his collection of architectural graphics. It contains works by Giovanni Battista, Karl Schinkel, Zaha Hadid. The concrete facade of the building is also decorated with architectural sketches – drawings by the Italian Pietro Gonzago.

The building is built in the form of five blocks, which resemble boxes standing on top of each other. There are practically no windows in the museum: this helps to maintain the necessary temperature and humidity in the rooms for storing graphics.

The author of the text : Ekaterina Mareeva

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