Soviet Design: Revisit the Soviet Cultural Centers Left Forsaken and Forlorn

Thursday, January 8, 2015, by Jenny Xie
soviet1.jpgPhoto by Dmitry Lookianov via Slate

The adaptive reuse of old Soviet architecture has been fun to follow—a Jenga-like government complex reused as a national bank? A former Soviet aircraft hangar revived as a vacation hotspot with a 33,000-square-foot jacuzzi? All true stories. But as a new photo gallery over at Slate highlights, a whole class of Soviet buildings hasn’;t been so fortunate. These structures, called “Palaces of Culture,” or “Dvrortzi Kultury” (DKs) in Russian, were once were dynamic community centers that hosted dance shows, movie screenings and other social events. As seen in these recent photos by Russian photographer Dmitry Lookianov though, many of them look practically abandoned.

Lookianov, who drove around Central Russia to document 18 different DKs, blames the decline of these institutions on the rise of alternative diversions like nightclubs and bars, and on a higher level, the government’;s indifference to “cultural policy.” You can see more photos from this series here. The project has also been documented in a new book called Dkdance.

soviet2.jpgPhoto by Dmitry Lookianov via Slate

soviet3.jpgPhoto by Dmitry Lookianov via Slate

· What’;s Left of Former Soviet Cultural Centers [Slate]
· All Soviet Design posts [Curbed National]

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