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I just wrote about Christopher Herwig’s new book Soviet Bus Stops Volume II for Timeline: Photos: From Brutalism to folk art, Soviet-era bus stops crush the myth of Communist homogeneity:

In 1975, the Soviet Ministry of Transport Construction dictated that bus stops “should pay special attention to modern architectural design, in accordance with the climate and the local and national characteristics of the area. Bus stops should be the compositional centers of the architectural ensemble of the road.” But if the shells of these structures reflected governmental decree, their quirky inventiveness is the result of the mores of local artisans.

These remote bus stops are the little cousins to the monumental Communist construction projects — the high-rises, TV towers, space shuttles, and state-owned factories—most of us are familiar with. In his new book, Soviet Bus Stops Volume II, photographer Christopher Herwig examines the Soviet-era bus stop as an architectural type, where regional planners flexed their patriotic muscle and pushed artistic boundaries. These humble structures challenge the preconception of the Soviet landscape as blandly homogeneous.

“Some were made by famous architects and artists,” says Herwig. “Some were made by road construction workers and probably even decorated by school children or at least university students on summer break. Some are one-offs and some are repeated.”

The book is published by Fuel.

Read and see more.

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Deuel Vocational Institution, California. © 2009 Robert Walsh

Deuel Vocational Institution, California. © 2009 Robert Walsh

Predictably, my partner is my first critic and supporter. Often distilling my whirling thoughts, she’ll draw some coherence from my arguments. I asked her to look over the photography of Robert Walsh. He had submitted his work via email. She pointed out that three of his images bore striking resemblance to school environments. I can only agree.

School

School

Of course, this is not a novel notion and philosophers have, for decades, had a field day dissecting and bisecting institutional architectural forms. I’ll add this quick post to the heap of rhetoric and swagger.

Deuel Vocational Institution, California. © 2009 Robert Walsh

Deuel Vocational Institution, California. © 2009 Robert Walsh

Mill Creek Middle School secretary Jane Crum works beside the new buzz-in system that was installed for safety purposes at the school. Press Photo/Emily Zoladz

Mill Creek Middle School secretary Jane Crum works beside the new buzz-in system that was installed for safety purposes at the school. Press Photo/Emily Zoladz

Maybe worth returning to would be Richard Ross‘ work. He pin-pointed the many shared criteria in institutional architectures of authority. His prints are pristine and his visual evidence compelling.

Deuel Vocational Institution, California. © 2009 Robert Walsh

Deuel Vocational Institution, California. © 2009 Robert Walsh

School Buses in Yard

School Buses in Yard

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