Soviet Architecture in Arizona

I think it was Tyler Cowen who linked to this photo spread on surviving examples of Soviet architecture.  A few of the buildings are almost compelling.

This was one example, in Bratislava


But you don't have to go to Bratislava to see something like it.  You can find something similar in Mesa, Arizona -- this is the city hall.


Kudos to the photographer for getting the shadow on the concrete pylon on the right to be positioned almost perfectly to fill out the missing part of the building.    I actually don't mind the Tempe building, it looks good in context, more public sculpture than building (particularly since this is likely a really inefficient building, with minimal floor space for the money spent to build it).



  1. Matthew Slyfield:

    I have just one question: Why?

  2. LoneSnark:

    Something commonly called "more money than sense."

  3. bloke in france:

    I could explain how we clean the windows. But it'll cost you..

  4. jdgalt:

    Too bad Arizona doesn't have any quakes to knock it down.

  5. Mercury:

    Sign: "City employees are reminded not
    to bring their bowling balls to work."
    You should do a whole series on the appallingly ugly government art in
    architecture of the American Decline era. The Neo-Brutalist monstrosity that is
    Boston City Hall can kick off the retrospective:

  6. Ward Chartier:

    In Shanghai. The China pavilion from the 2010 Expo.

  7. skhpcola:

    Thanks for the link. Lots of interesting pictures there, including this one that features tiny Saudi gnomes walking by an ancient fortress:

  8. hcunn:

    Boston City Hall may have a sister-relationship with the House of Soviets in Kaliningrad (former Koenigsberg)

    For some reason I cannot copy the URL here, but you can find it in Wikipedia.

  9. Rea Svitak:

    Actually, the term "soviet architecture" should not be used in the case of the first image. Bratislava (now the capital of Slovakia) was back then a city in Czechoslovakia and Czechoslovakia was never a part of the Soviet Union. It was just one of the countries that used to form the so-called "iron curtain". Those countries were socialistic but not Soviet and therefore the architecture built during this period is usually referred as "socialistic" by general public. This particular building - the building of Slovak Radio was designed in the late 1960s and completed in the early 1980s. Experts from the field of architecture refer to this particular style as late-modernism. It is pretty specific especially for countries like Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania or former Yugoslavia. And the real magic of Slovak Radio building comes from the sophisticated structural engineering, not only the shape of the building itself, but there are recording halls of extraordinary acoustic qualities inside as well. It is definitely worth visiting (even though sadly it has not been maintained properly for years and shows a certain level of neglect - but still operates and there are many of us that care a lot about its fate) and you can even enjoy having a good coffee on one of the building´s public terraces these summer days.