March 2018


«Architecton: proceedings of higher education» № 35 September 2011

Architectural critique

Vitiuk Ekaterina Yu.

PhD (Architecture), Assistant Pro-Rector for Research,
Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts,
Ekaterinburg, Russia, e-mail: veu@usaaa.ru


Over a short period of time, Ekaterinburg has turned into a city of glass stalagmites as a result of mass construction of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers with glazed elevations of various sizes and shades. High-rise glass structures are not typical architecture for the Urals. The contrasting combination of associations evoked by the power, gloom, and asperity of the Urals that were born during the era of metallurgy and industrialisation and the visual brittleness of the new structures creates a new image: the plant-city is transforming into an office-city.

The similarity of architectural solutions, often borrowed from western architects, transforms the city into a mirror-world, a set of simulacra and forgeries. Besides, the glass elevations reflect sun rays, impairing visibility for drivers. The process being observed is intriguing and fascinating because, on the one hand, it threatens to lead the architectural thought into a dead-end, but on the other hand it looks like an incubation phase, usually ending in an unexpected solution, for example, the emergence of a new architectural style (‘crystal style’ in this case), which theoreticians are writing about today (A.G.Rappaport, L.P.Kholodova, S.O.Khan-Magomedov etc.).

A question arises then concerning the relevance of such architecture in the Urals, where the climate is not as favourable as, for example, in Barcelona. Each project should be created taking into account local specifics, which allows the local character to be maintained in the context of globalisation. This is where, perhaps, skills are needed to follow nature rather than copying other authors.

The architecture of Ekaterinburg is losing its semantic variety under the effect of globalisation, which is leading to the homogeneity of the environment.

Having proclaimed their universality through their external appearance, the glass cylinders have not become multifunctional; rather, they have lost their function because their role in society is not clear.

Key words: glazed elevations, architecture of Ekaterinburg, image of city, composition, globalisation, universality

Russian text of this article

ISSN 1990-4126  Registration MCM el. № ФС 77-70832 of 30.08.2017 © USUAA, 2004-2017  © Architecton, 2004-2017