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The Making of a Soviet Architect: the Rise of Urbanism and Transnational Circulation of Expert Knowledge and Practices, 1920s-1930s

Student: Aleksandra Bessonova

Supervisor: Aleksandra Bekasova

Faculty: School of Arts and Humanities

Educational Programme: Applied and Interdisciplinary History "Usable Pasts" (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2019

The architectural profession in Europe underwent transformations due to changing ideas on relationship between art, on the one hand, and science and technology on the other hand. This led to an emerging status of architects as experts in multiple social, political, and scientific issues. This was manifested in the rise of ‘scientific urbanism’ by the 1920s, which was in turn cultivated and promoted by a number of international professional organizations. This study is intended to investigate how the Soviet case was situated in these processes. The study focuses on the case of specialists from Germany who travelled to the Soviet Union and provided their expertise during the first two five-year plans. Adopting a methodological approach that treats such exchanges as ‘circulation’ rather than a transfer allows to view these developments as a continuous and fluid process, and to shift focus from technological transfer towards exchange of practices in education and in organization of work.

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