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Towards a Typology of Soviet Mass Housing

Speaker: Philipp Meuser (DE)
Soviet mass housing is a contradictory but unique phenomenon. It is usually blamed for creating the most monotonous built environment in the history of mankind, thus constituting a symbol of individual suppression and dejection. The construction programme launched in the post-Stalinist era was the largest undertaken in modern architectural history worldwide. At the same time, Soviet mass housing fulfilled a colossal social role, providing tens of millions of families with their own apartments. It shaped the culture and everyday life of nearly all Soviet citizens. Yet, due to the very scale of construction, it managed to evolve into a complex world denoting an abundance of myths and secrets, achievements and failures. Soviet mass housing is indisputably intriguing, but nevertheless it is still neglected as a theme of research. Therefore, the time is ripe for a critical appraisal of this ambitious project. The German architect and publisher Philipp Meuser has been researching on the Socialist mass housing for nearly twenty years. In his lecture he showcases the most successful housing series of the USSR, described along the three characterizing generations. Moreover, the lecture brings the phaenomenon of mass housing into a context of the Socialist ideal society.

Philipp Meuser is managing director of Meuser Architekten GmbH and head of DOM publishers. From 1991 to 1995, studied architecture at the Berlin Technical University. From 1995 to 1996, editorial work for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Switzerland. Part-time postgraduate studies in the History and Theory of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zürich), graduating in 1997. PhD on the Soviet Mass Housing. Federal Cross of Merit for cultural and scientific exchange with the states of the former Soviet Union. Since 2018 Honorary Professorship at the O.M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Currently working on a monographic book on the Jarsky brothers who – from early 1970s until the 1990s – brought color and art into the monotonous reality of Tashkent serial mass housing.


CANactions School is an educational platform, with offices in Kyiv and Amsterdam. Our mission is to enhance the creation of places and communities where people love to live and work. Since 2015 CANactions School runs post-graduate interdisciplinary Educational Programs in the field of Urban Studies, Integrated Urban Development and Strategic Spatial Planning in a context of local and global city challenges.
Within the 2019/20 educational program, CANactions School travels to 4 metropoles in western, northern and eastern Europe and explores their innovative approaches for creating more livable neighborhoods. Based on the findings, we develop new strategies for locally specific and globally relevant questions, considering spatial, economic, social and political measures. For more information please visit the «Creating Homes for Tomorrow» program web page.

ACT I UP is an international project dedicated to activating urban periphery in Eastern Europe, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office. In 2019-20 ACT | UP offers training for young urbanists from Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Russia for the revitalization of peripheral large housing estates.

31 October 2019



Volodymyrska Str. 43, Kyiv
admission by registration