ABC: International Constructivist Architecture, 1922-1939

Front Cover
MIT Press, 1994 - Architecture - 195 pages
Constructivism is widely thought of as a Russian phenomenon, but as Sima Ingberman shows in this first comprehensive study of the architectural group ABC, it was an influential international movement.

Established in 1924, the ABC group included Mart Stam of the Netherlands, El Lissitzky of the Soviet Union, and the Swiss architects Hans Schmidt, Hannes Meyer, Hans Wittwer, Paul Artaria, Emil Roth, and Werner Moser, among others. It became the foremost constructivist network outside the Soviet Union, producing designs for buildings in, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, and the United States. Some of these, like the Van Nelle factory and the Halle Airport Restaurant, have become significant landmarks of the modern movement.

Ingberman brings to light a rich array of historical documentation, charting for the first time Lissitzky's particular alliance with ABC and tracing ABC's influences and developments, formal, material, constructional, and ideological. She provides a serious treatment of the Socialist and Communist interests of architects like Stam and Meyer, and charts the shift from the ambitious public projects in the earlier years of the movement (frequently ideological in motivation) to the more domestic scale of the middle and late 1930s.

Also covered are Meyer and Wittwer's groundbreaking constructivist designs, Stam, Schmidt, and Roth's development of serialized constructional forms, ABC's conceptualization of town planning, the graphic and ideological relationships between ABC, the journal and other avant-garde magazines such as Veshch and G; and the individual projects of the architects associated with the ABC group.

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