{ feuilleton }


• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


The paper architecture of Brodsky and Utkin


A Hill with a Hole.

Searching around for Kafka images yesterday turned up a reminder of the etchings of Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin, a pair of Russian “Paper Architects” who channelled their frustration with the intransigence of Soviet authorities in the 1980s into a series of remarkable drawings. As with much architectural fantasy, these are part unrealistic exaggeration and part serious proposal, with the viewer left to decide whether the world really needs a hill with a hole.

Princeton Architectural Press published Brodsky & Utkin: The Complete Works by Lois Nesbitt in 2003 which is no doubt the source of the available scans. Of those, there’s a small Flickr collection here, while the late, lamented Nonist had a post about the book which repeats some of the same imagery. For more about Russia’s other paper architects see Russian Utopia.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The etching and engraving archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of François Schuiten
Hugh Ferriss and The Metropolis of Tomorrow



Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {fantasy}.

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3 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Toby Ferris


    Great stuff – had forgotten about this.

    At the risk of giving Anatomy of Norbiton a shameless plug, we note here (http://anatomyofnorbiton.org/other_pages/on_Gods_and_Demons.php#boullee) (talking of Étienne-Louis Boullée) that the greatest architecture is built in two-dimensions. That’s probably putting it a bit strongly, but a blank sheet of paper of course eliminates such constraints on imagination as context, structural soundness and utility. And if what you get in return (as here http://www.flickr.com/photos/13964815@N00/4368467286/in/set-72157614490237062/) is a sort of geometry or anyway structure of despair, then perhaps that says something about big architectural projects per se.

  2. #2 posted by John


    Hi Toby. Some of my favourite architecture exists on paper only–from Piranesi, Boullée, Hugh Ferriss, François Schuiten and others–so I certainly agree with the principle. I’d also suggest film as the other great medium, film can give a similar vicarious thrill without having to worry about how you’d build such things or whether it would be desirable to do so.

  3. #3 posted by Piotr


    Boullée immediately comes to mind ! I’m ordering this book right now, how could I pass such a thing ? Thanks a lot for another great discovery.






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