Magnitogrosk: 11 Versions of a Constructivist City

Magnitogorsk is a city that incorporates the mythology of a place, the geology of a landscape, the founding of an industry, the history of a regime, and the aspirations of an artistic movement. As individual moments in place and time, these aspects exist as individual cities, some of which are physically present in Magnitogorsk today, while others only remain in the imagination. Together they create a powerful canon of urbanistic ideas that shed light onto the accomplishments and failures of architectural thought in the Soviet era, and in general onto the city in the industrial age.

11 Versions of Magnitogorsk are explored in the essay:

City of Myths

City of Steel

City of Erasures

City of Drawings

City of Ribbons

City of Socialism

City of Maschinemonument

City of Prouns

City of Faktura

City of Tektonika


Published in Pidgin Magazine, Issue 12, Fall 2011

Chemical Elements | Built Environments

Chemical Elements

Ongoing Research

Seminar taught at the Cooper Union 2013-2014

S Sulfur: Building, Material, Program

In 1911, the architect Hans Poelzig wrote an essay on industrial buildings in which he explained the significant connections between production process, architectural form and environment: “Already now, we have the possibility to distribute electricity through far distances. This gives flexibility in the distribution and organization of processes and the architectural whole of the facilities becomes harmonious. Poelzig refers here to his recently completed factory where he devised a unique approach to the architecture and planning of the facility: On the larger planning scale he worked with site and programmatic components, strategically employing residential, road, water, infrastructure and energy networks. In the scale of the building wall thicknesses, spatial arrangements and material choices were based on the chemical properties of the product. The processes and network variants of Poelzig’s industrial architecture are unique for their time.

This paper explores how the building is a direct material and formal response to the chemical processes that take place within.


Paper presented at the Chemical Heritage Foundation Annual Meeting 2013