Stalin's Architect: Power and Survival in Moscow

Written by:
Deyan Sudjic
Narrated by:
Derek Perkins

Unabridged Audiobook

Ratings
Book
Narrator
Release Date
January 2023
Duration
8 hours 52 minutes
Summary
This is the first major publication on the remarkable life and career of Boris Iofan, state architect to Joseph Stalin. Iofan's story is an insight into the troubled relationship of all successful architects with power. A gifted designer and a committed Communist, Iofan became the Soviet Union's most celebrated architect after Alexei Rykov, Lenin's successor, persuaded him to return to Moscow from Rome with his aristocratic wife, Olga Sasso-Ruffo. Iofan was at the heart of political life in the Soviet Union and his work is key to understanding its official culture.

When Stalin's henchmen crushed the architectural avant-garde, it was Iofan who created the new national style, from the grand projects he realized-including the House on the Embankment-to even more ambitious unbuilt projects, in particular the Palace of the Soviets, a baroque Stalinist dream whose image was reproduced throughout the Soviet Union. He was a friend of Frank Lloyd Wright; a rival of Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Erich Mendelsohn; and an enemy of Hitler's architect Albert Speer, whose Nazi pavilion faced Iofan's Soviet one at the Paris Expo in 1937. He kept silent when Stalin executed his friends, including Rykov; he also sacrificed his own talent by following the dictator's instructions to the letter in creating the regime's landmarks.
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