Oh, these are so cool!
Parts of Moscow, East Berlin, Warsaw, and Prague are nearly indistinguishable from each other thanks to their architecture. After mass destruction from World War II, rows of Modernist, high-rise housing blocks popped up during the Cold War, a result of Communist urban planning that gives many Eastern European cities a repetitive, rectangular aesthetic. To help shine light on and define the differences and similarities between these housing blocks in each city, Poznán-based design studio Zupagrafika has created Blokoshka, a set of nesting dolls—or as the studio calls them, “Modernist architectural matryoshka”—made up of typical building types from the four cities.
The top and largest layer, in red, represents the “sleeping districts” of Moscow’s, semi-suburban communities dedicated solely to housing blocks. Inside the largest piece fits the typical East Berlin Plattenbau. These buildings, made of concrete slabs, were erected quickly and en masse in the 60s in order to accommodate an influx of new residents from further east, and an increasing desire for the-then modern designs that provided a better alternative to pre-war buildings.
Open another layer of Blokoshka, and reveal a yellow building representing Warsaw, another city that was essentially leveled by the Nazis in World War II. Finally, the smallest architectural nesting doll is a blue Panelák, a pre-fab concrete tower representative of the places where many Czechs still live today.
The Zupagrafika team, David Navarro and Martyna Sobecka, tell The Creators Project that their inspiration for these works, which follow projects like Eastern Block, a collection of Warsaw-inspired building models, comes from a love of the Modernist aesthetic, and a desire not to see these iconic buildings renovated and erased from history.