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Unit 2 Architecture of Totalitarianism

1 Introduction

1.1 Read the text title and hypothesize what the text is about. Write down your hypothesis.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    1. What do you know concerning this issue? List your ideas in the table left column “I know”.

I know that…

I have learnt that…

    1. If you know answers to these questions write them down in the space given after each question.

1

When did the "early Stalinism" evolve?

2

How can we identify buildings for the high-rank Stalin's officials?

3

What is the English name given to a group of Moscow skyscrapers?

4

What architectural styles do “Stalinskie Vysotki” combine?

5

Who saved a pearl of Russian architecture – St. Basil’s Cathedral?

6

What does any totalitarian system use architecture for?

7

Why should we preserve some monuments of the past epochs?

    1. Circle in the list the words and expressions you know. Write down their translation in the table and calculate the percentage of your lexical competence.

1

labor-intensive

demolition

2

to trace

blunt

3

high-rank officials

in the vicinity of

4

overabundance

to cluster

5

to give credit

to glorify the idea

6

to render the spirit

to exude power

7

to nickname

a separate caste

8

to dwarf

contribution

S talinist architecture does not equate to everything built during Stalin’s era. It relied on labor-intensive and time-consuming masonry, and could not be scaled to the needs of mass construction. This inefficiency largely ended Stalinist architecture and resulted in mass construction methods which began while Stalin was still alive. Thus, the scope of Stalinist architecture is generally limited to urban public and residential buildings of good and middle quality, excluding mass housing, and selected infrastructure projects like the Moscow Canal, the Volga-Don Canal, and the later stages of the Moscow Metro.

А separate type of development, known as "early Stalinism" or "Postconstructivism", evolved from 1932 to 1938. It can be traced both to simplified Art Deco, and to indigenous Constructivism, being converted slowly to Neoclassicism. These buildings retain the simple rectangular shapes and large glass surfaces of Constructivism, but with ornate balconies, porticos and columns. By 1938, it became disused.

R esidential construction in post-war cities was segregated according to the ranks of tenants. There was a type of building for every rank of Stalin's hierarchy. Buildings for high-rank officials can be identified easily by details like spacing between windows, penthouses, ornaments, and bay windows. The "Seven Sisters" is the English name given to a group of Moscow skyscrapers designed in the Stalinist style. Muscovites call them Stalinskie Vysotki. They were built from 1947 to 1953, in an elaborate combination of Russian Baroque and Gothic styles, and the technology used in building skyscrapers.

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