Building a new New World. Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture
A study by the French architectural historian Jean-Louis Cohen that traces changing images and influences of America in Russian architecture from 1861 to 1991 makes its copious material easily accessible thanks to optimum structuring and organisation. The easy-to-handle volume with its black-and-white softcover is divided into six chronologically arranged chapters ranging from Tsarism and the Revolution through the various phases of Stalinism to the end of the Cold War. The pages of text include a wide range of image material from art, architecture, the media and more. Each chapter is introduced by an eight-page picture insert, printed in a different colour each time. The full-bleed images, in most cases coarsely grained, are combined here without any text to create formally fascinating and highly associative pictorial narratives, allowing the reader to pause for breath, while conveying the ambiance of the era concerned. All the design gestures are appropriate, and details such as the photos concealed beneath the folded-in cover flaps enhance the book’s attractiveness. The material is treated intelligently and lovingly throughout; it is evident that the designers are themselves keen readers. This already seems like a timeless work of reference.