Ilya Golosov, the Avant-Garde, and the rise of the Soviet Union

A member of the Russian Avant-Garde, Ilya Golosov was one of many who embraced a modernist stance on literature, art, and architecture. An architect himself, Golosov embraced the progressive ideals of his other Avant-Garde associates and like other members of the Avant-Garde and the Peredvizhniki, studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpure, and Architecture. He graduated just in time for Russia’s entrance into World War I, when he served as a military engineer. After World War I, Golosov `struggled to find work due to the Russian Civil War and the ensuing years of Stalinist fear and purges. It was during these years that he started to work on his designs and he developed a style he called symbolic romanticism. This style involved one massive center of mass where all smaller shapes were subordinate to the main shape and decreased level by level, resembling a ripple in the water. As the Communist Party consolidated power, they started to ask architects to adopt more modern designs that veered away from traditionalist styles and designs. In response, Golosov dropped his symbolic romantic style and built the Zuev Worker’s Club, which was an ideal image of the constructivist architecture that most Soviet architects adopted. Its rectangular, concise shapes represented the Soviet Union’s attempts to rid their nation of its tsarist past and the culture, architecture, and traditions that went along with it. The Zuev Worker’s Club’s design was bland and normal looking, all the while emitting power and fear, just what the Soviet leaders wanted. One of the ways they could change the mindset of their people was through the buildings they lived in and that surrounded them and they used architects like Golosov to achieve these goals. This building was one of the first built in the new age of Soviet communism, an age that strayed away from the individualism of the old days and focused more on imprinting the communist doctrine on all Russians, so that everybody was under the control of the Communist Party. zuev_workers_club_012