Building a New New World

Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture

Jean-Louis Cohen

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February 11, 2020
450 pages, 6 3/4 x 9 1/2
450 color + b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300248159

Distributed for the Canadian Centre for Architecture

An essential exploration of how Russian ideas about the United States shaped architecture and urban design from the czarist era to the fall of the U.S.S.R.

Idealized representations of America, as both an aspiration and a menace, played an important role in shaping Russian architecture and urban design from the American Revolution until the fall of the Soviet Union. Jean-Louis Cohen traces the powerful concept of “Amerikanizm” and its impact on Russia’s built environment from early czarist interest in Revolutionary America, through the spectacular World’s Fairs of the 19th century, to department stores, skyscrapers, and factories built in Russia using American methods during the 20th century. Visions of America also captivated the Russian avant-garde, from El Lissitzky to Moisei Ginzburg, and Cohen explores the ongoing artistic dialogue maintained between the two countries at the mid-century and in the late Soviet era, following a period of strategic competition. This first major study of Amerikanizm in the architecture of Russia makes a timely contribution to our understanding of modern architecture and its broader geopolitics.

Jean-Louis Cohen is Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, a trained architect, and author of Architecture in Uniform (Yale, 2011).


Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal
(November 13, 2019–April 5, 2020)

Architecture in Uniform
Designing and Building for the Second World War

Jean-Louis Cohen

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