June 2017


«Architecton: proceedings of higher education» № 37 March 2012

Theory of architecture

Kapustin Pyotr V.

PhD (Architecture), Associate Professor,
Head of Chair of Architectural Design and Urban Planning,
Voronezh State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering,
Voronezh, Russia


Any visualisation of a utopia leads into a different logic of narration, drawing one into another reality which is not free from concreteness and details. Often "visual utopias" reproduce directly some known symbolism, imagery, motives and the "atmosphere" of utopian texts. This should, perhaps, explain the prevalence of the motive of ruins, pastorals, isolated spaces and insular communities, and the dramatic character of images of nature, open distant perspectives and other similar recognizable features of the "utopian" in paintings and architectural drawings up until the mid-19th century. The shift of emphasis from literary text to visual form, which is especially obvious in architectural drawings and presentation "pictures", follows the same pathway of analogies, allegories and metaphors. The "utopian” becomes the contents of architectural form and its invariable connotation, which is virtually always present, often latently, becoming conspicuous and central only in architectural visionarism.

The absolute propensity of the profession to graphic, formal responses and the immaturity of techniques for capturing the contents of the new and its axiological, ontological and existential conceptualization led to a continually increasing shift towards the pole of form. The shift was happening faster, the less traditional were becoming the architectural forms, the broader was getting their alphabet and less strict the rules of form production. The form, overloaded with all of its explicit and implicit meanings, which were growing harder to keep up and recover and increasingly less interesting for the user, increasingly often a mass user, eventually just "collapsed" under the weight of its obligations and sins.

Architecture became a principal, if not the only, channel by which entities would come into the world in which they were not rooted and did not have the right to exist. Growth in technological power and the rate of material implementation of ideas proved to be catastrophically higher than the rate of development of design thinking techniques and abilities to comprehend the contents of the created. The domination of "empty", "silent" or “off-topic” architectural forms which is characteristic of modernism has not been overcome even today. Architecture has lost control over the sphere of meanings, including its own ones. Socio-cultural meanings ceased to be the contents of the tradition and have failed to become the contents of a fully fledged design process – a historical challenge requiring departure from prototypal reproduction of activity and traditional translation of meanings has never seen a proper response from the profession.

Key words: architectural visionarism, avant-garde, utopian connotation, architectural form, communication by means of architecture, meaning in architecture

Russian text of this article

ISSN 1990-4126  Registration MCM el. № ФС 77-50147 of 06.06.2012 © USUAA, 2004-2017  © Architecton, 2004-2017