• Avant-Garde as Method: Vkhutemas and the Pedagogy of Space, 1920–1930
    Anna Bokov
    Park Books, 2020
    Anna Bokov

Exhibition of student work from a Vkhutemas course on “Space,” 1927, Moscow. Courtesy of the Museum of Moscow Architectural Institute.

Active in Moscow in the 1920s, Higher Art and Technical Studios, known as Vkhutemas, translated radical experiments in art, architecture, and design into a systematized pedagogy. This educational undertaking of unprecedented scale and complexity served as a platform for the institutionalization of the Russian avant-garde. The book examines this interdisciplinary design school through the lens of an ideological campaign for mass education and traces the development of a new pedagogical model, based on the so-called “objective method.” Although Vkhutemas is often referred to as the Russian Bauhaus, the two schools have vastly different futures. While much attention had been given to the Bauhaus, Vkhutemas fell into obscurity for nearly a century. Grounded in the primary texts and projects of the Vkhutemas faculty and students, this publication commemorates the upcoming centennial of the school in 2020 and seeks to rediscover its vast creative legacy within the history of Modern Movement.

Anna Bokov is an architect, historian, and educator. She holds a PhD from Yale University, an MArch from Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), and a BArch from Syracuse University. She has taught at the Cooper Union, Parsons, Cornell University, Yale School of Architecture, and Harvard GSD, and the Moscow Architectural Institute. Bokov worked as an architect and urban designer with OMA; NBBJ; Ennead; and the City of Somerville. She served as an editor for Project Russia and Project International magazines. She is a recipient of the Mellon Fellowship and of Beinecke Research Grant at Yale and is a resident member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study. Her work has been published by The Journal of Architecture, Perspecta, Walker Art Center Primer, MoMA Post, Venice Biennale, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, and Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. She is currently developing a centennial exhibition and symposium on Vkhutemas and the pedagogy of avant-garde.