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The Art of JAMA |

Columbarium Architecture (Museum of Disappearing Buildings) Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin

Thomas B. Cole, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2015;314(19):2006-2007. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.12091.
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The Russian architects Alexander Savvich Brodsky (1955-   ) and Ilya Valentinovich Utkin (1955-   ) came of age during an era of utilitarian city planning. In Moscow there was a severe shortage of housing, with multiple families sharing small apartments. A massive building program was undertaken that relied on standardized designs and prefabricated concrete panels to cut costs and complete projects on time, and city blocks were cleared to make way for stolid, uninteresting apartment complexes. After graduation from architecture school in 1978, Brodsky and Utkin collaborated on innovative plans for buildings that had little chance of being constructed because of the government’s emphasis on fast, cheap housing. Frustrated by institutionalized barriers to their creativity and grieving the loss of Moscow’s architectural legacy, Brodsky and Utkin took refuge in their imaginations, making practical drawings for whimsical structures, such as Columbarium Architecture (Museum of Disappearing Buildings).

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Alexander Brodsky (1955-    ) and Ilya Utkin (1955-   ), Columbarium Architecture (Museum of Disappearing Buildings), from the portfolio Projects, 1984 (printed 1990) edition 18/30, Russian. Etching on paper. 81.3 × 57.2 cm. Courtesy of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (http://nasher.duke.edu/) Durham, North Carolina; museum purchase, 1995.12.3. Art © Alexander Savvich Brodsky and Ilya Utkin/RAO, Moscow/VAGA, New York, New York. Photo by Pere Paul Geoffrion.

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