As a post-communist, pre-digitalist child, sometimes it’s hard to understand where I should stand, ideologically speaking. But recently I’ve come across something that I consider to be highly interesting – some communist buildings are not that bad. Actually, some are quite amazing. Used to hating the grey communist blocks that surrounded me throughout my entire existence, whenever I heard of “soviet architecture” I would roll my eyes. But that is not always the case.
Since I’ve discovered parametric design, I’ve been reading a lot about it and it had become obvious that its roots go way back. Basically, you can say that everything is parametric (in a very large sense, of course) or better said, everything is parametrizable. Everything you do and create is based on a number of parameters, whether visible or not. So what if communist architecture had some similarities with parametric architecture?
Let’s begin with the Tatlin Tower, also known as the Monument for the Third International (a communist organization that advocated world communism). Designed by Vladimir Tatlin, it was supposed to be the headquarters for the Third International, the tower was never built. Viewed as a symbol of modernity, it would have been 400 meters high (higher than the Eiffel Tower) and visitors were supposed to be transported through various mechanical devices. It consisted of a frame of different geometric structures and would rotate. Not only do I already picture how I would design this tower in Grasshopper, but it’s strikingly similar to various contemporary rotating towers, such as the one designed for Dubai by Dynamic Architecture.
One of my favourite communist buildings is the Macedonian Partisan Memorial, in Yugoslavia, Krusevo. Designed by Jordan and Iskra Grabuloska, it was opened in 1974, marking the 30th anniversary of the Second Session of the Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia and the 71st anniversary of Ilinden uprising. I think it is very similar of a Radiolaria, a protozoa that produces intricate mineral skeletons and a very popular form studied by parametric enthusiasts. I couldn’t find a representative render of a use of Radiolaria, so I’m going to present one of my own, created with a Grasshopper definition from Co-de-iT.
I don’t know how Dušan Džamonja designed the Monument to the Revolution of the people of Moslavina in Podgaric, Croatia, but I’m sure if he had Monolith his job would have been a lot easier (for those who haven’t discovered this gem yet, Monolith is a “3D Photoshop on steroids” which is an awesome and easy-to-use software for playing with voxel shapes).
The Monument to the uprising of the people of Kordun and Banija in Crotia was completed in 1982 and represents a haunting episode of the country’s past – it is built on Petrovac, the highest peak of Petrova Gora and the place of a World War II episode, where 300 Serb peasants died attacking Ustase, armed only with pitchforks, in 1942, due to the breakthrough of the enemy ring in 1942. The momument is a curvilinear concrete structure covered with slabs of stainless steel, designed by Vojin Bakic. In my opinion, the Casa Del Acantilado by GilBartolomé Arquitectos is a contemporary doppelganger of this monument.
Last but not least, the biggest abstract sculpture in the world – the Monument of the Revolutionary Victory of the People of Slavonia, built in 1968 on the Blažuj Hill is one amazing piece of art by Vojin Bakić. . Unfortunately, it was destroyed in 1992 by the Croatian army, but it’s safe to say it was the long lost relative of Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao.