The Bartlett School of Architecture


Bartlett Research Conversations: Alena Agafonova

25 May 2021, 4:00 pm–5:30 pm

Top view of a residential area of the city of Moscow, Russia (2012), © Nikolay Vinokurov / Photobank Lori, August 22, 2012

MPhil/PhD student Alena Agafonova discusses her research into Soviet Russia's highly standardised, state-run approach to home building, and how it has contributed to the uniquely Soviet and post-Soviet perception of home.

This event is free.

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The Bartlett School of Architecture

High-rise apartment building in present day Russia – the continued importance of Soviet norms and regulations

Speaker: Alena Agafonova
Supervisors:  Prof Iain Borden and Dr Michal Murawski (UCL SSEES).
Guest Panellist: Prof Peg Rawes


This research broadly explores the field of Soviet and post-Soviet mass housing. After World War II, mass prefabricated construction was aimed at solving the housing problem in many countries and made the strongest impact on the urban scene.

Around 75% of Russians live in cities. In the Soviet Union individual housing construction was prohibited in big cities. The State built all housing as apartment blocks, thus making an apartment within a multi-storey building the Soviet model of Home. All buildings were designed according to very defined norms and regulations, which produced a highly standardised built environment.

Alena's research focus on two aspects of this phenomenon, based on the example of Moscow: firstly, housing norms and regulations, according to which this built environment was and is still being created; secondly, the perception of home, which is in part determined by these norms, and its place in the mentality of Soviet and post-Soviet people.


About The Bartlett Research Conversations

The Bartlett School of Architecture’s Research Conversations seminars comprise work-in-progress and upgrade presentations by students undertaking the MPhil/PhD Architectural Design and MPhil/PhD Architectural and Urban History and Theory. All current UCL staff and students are welcome to attend.

Held regularly throughout the academic year, the seminars are attended by the programme directors, Professor Jonathan Hill and Professor Sophia Psarra, PhD Coordinators, Dr. Nina Vollenbröker and Dr Sophie Read, and other PhD supervisors.

Image: Top view of a residential area of the city of Moscow, Russia (2012), © Nikolay Vinokurov / Photobank Lori, August 22, 2012