The delights of modernist architecture, as captured by Warsaw-based photographer Nicolas Grospierre:
In addition to his blog, Grospierre now has a book, Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th Century Architecture.
As is obvious from his obsession with these buildings - most but by no means all from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and most but by no means all brutalist in style - Grospierre has an abiding bittersweet love for what most people would probably dismiss as monstrosities. He's interviewed at De Zeen:
I feel, first and foremost, that Modernism in architecture was the physical embodiment of one of the most beautiful ideals of mankind: progress.
In architecture, it meant to create buildings that would make a better life for the common man. We know, of course, that this ideal failed.
And not only did it fail in its political or ideological dimension, but it even failed practically, as many of these buildings proved to be utopian and sometimes alienating, in their everyday use. This is perhaps especially true in the architecture of the former socialist camp.
But to my eyes, this does not disqualify progress, on a philosophical level. It is perhaps because progress was an erroneous ideal from the very start, that makes it even more beautiful.
There is great generosity in this ideal, the belief that man can perfect himself, that has been lost and I must say I long for the time when we could still believe in it. Paradoxically, all that remains of this, in architecture, are the Modern forms. For me, their boldness, and expressive shapes, are the reflection of the boldness of this optimism.