the architecture of ralph adams cram and his office

The architect Leonid Pavlov's unique talent fully flourished in the period between I960 and 1980. But the path that led him to the creation of his most significant works is no less interesting. Pavlov is one of those who embody the living connection between the avant-garde and post-Stalin Modernist architecture. In fact, his experience shows that two decades of the enforced historicism of the Stalin era could be seen as a kind of school, enriching architects' skills and giving them a more profound understanding of their art. Similarly, Khrushchev's reform of 1955, considered by many as the end of the architectural profession itself, offered Pavlov both a liberating path and a chance to try out new and exciting directions. An engaged flexibility helped him adapt to the "official point of view" and current trends and - combined with his inner integrity - allowed him to work productively throughout his life. Unfortunately, none of his rare Constructivist buildings have survived to this day (there were few of them, as he only started practicing architecture in 1930). However, his highly personal versions of Neoclassicism, post-Stalin Modernism and Postmodernism are of very high value. Especially noteworthy is his successful treatment of the latter style, mostly represented in Russian architecture, traumatized by the enforced historicism of the Stalin years by inferior eclectic buildings. For Pavlov there was no contradiction between the Classical and the Modern. He would use the golden ratio, refer to Palladio and to Old Russian church styles even when creating his Modernist buildings. Perhaps then it is only natural that he would start later using historical references more conspicuously. A closer look at the biography of Leonid Pavlov, then, his main creative works and texts where he describes his attitude to the art of architecture and the profession itself, will help us better understand the history of Soviet architecture.

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