March 2018


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

History of architecture

Quiring Claudia

PhD (History of Art), Curator of History, Architecture and Art Exhibitions,
German Architecture Museum,
Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany


The article is devoted to the activities of the architects who made up "May’s team» in the USSR during the first and second five-year periods. It describes their daily lives and professional challenges. In 1930, the Frankfurt architect Ernest May and his colleagues arrived in the USSR, having responded to the invitation of the Soviet government for a variety of reasons. They had been inspired by the grandiose urban design and construction challenges and creativity prospects. But they found themselves in absolutely unfamiliar working and living conditions. They had to work in big international teams with a mix of professional qualifications and creative views, go on weeks and months-long business trips to remote places in Russia and overcome various obstacles, exhausting workloads and «labour fanaticism». They were surprised by the Soviet lifestyle with its collectivism, financial difficulties and social contrasts, shared flats and barracks, labour enthusiasm and ideological holidays. The architects had to go through transformations in the attitude towards foreign experts in the USSR – from flattering admiration to condemnation and political prosecution. In 1933 – 1937 Ernst May and members of his team had to leave the USSR, voluntarily or involuntarily, full of different, often contrasting impressions about life and work in the world that appeared unusual to them.

Key words: Ernest May (architect), «May’s team», foreign experts in the USSR

Russian text of this article

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