Construction of Architectural and Machine Forms | Iakov Chernikhov


Having graduated in 1925 from the Academy of Arts, Iakov Chernikhov became fascinated with industrial architecture, which was the area of construction showing the most progress in the years of post-revolution. In comparison with other areas, it possessed multifunctionality and a wider elite, and consequently promised a wider field of activity in terms of form creation.

Iakov Georgievich Chernikhov [Яков Георгиевич Чернихов] lived from1889 to 1951 and was a constructivist architect and graphic designer. His books on architectural design published in Leningrad between 1927 and 1933 are amongst the most innovatory texts (and illustrations) of their time.

Here are some of his works from 1925-1931:



We can read in his biography at the Chernikhov Foundation web-site:

“Iakov Chernikhov was preoccupied with an extraordinarily wide range of activities. Studies in geometric ornament and Suprematism; the development of new methodology to teach graphical and three-dimensional disciplines; issues related to the theory of Constructivism and shape intermutation in contemporary architecture; design and civil construction […] Simultaneously with explorations in the area of constructivist architecture, Iakov Chernikhov became fascinated with architectural fantasies on the theme of architecture of past epochs.”


In 1927 Chernikhov organized in Leningrad his own Science and Research Pilot Laboratory for Architectural Shapes and Graphical Studies, where with a group of students and assistants he became actively involved in experimental and design work. He was dedicated mostly to research, writing and teaching and only few of his designs were built. We found really big similarities with Konstantin Melnikov‘s work and we can see he was a great illustrator and deeply interested in the area of industrialization. These architectural fantasies made him famous worldwide and earned him the title of “Soviet Piranesi”:



He wrote in one of his books:

“The architect should not limit the sphere of his work with narrow frames and servile imitations, but, where necessary, should overcome obstacles by means of his powerful fantasy and bravely move forward. Those who think that the architect’s activity should embrace only current realistic requirements are thinking incorrectly and falsely.”

More info about Chernikhov works and life, here and here.



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