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“Entanglements in American-Soviet Architecture and Urbanism”


Christina E. Crawford (Masse-Martin NEH Professor of Art History Associate Professor of Architectural History Emory University)

Christina E. Crawford shines a light on the intense transnational exchange of architectural and urban knowledge between the US and USSR in the period between the two world wars. In research drawn from recent books Spatial Revolution: Architecture and Planning in the Early Soviet Union (Cornell University Press, 2022) and Detroit-Moscow-Detroit: An Architecture for Industrialization, 1917-1945 (MIT Press, 2023), and her new research on Atlanta's New Deal public housing, Crawford draws American and Soviet architectural production together through the interdependent programs of industry and housing. While the two nations remained ideologically opposed, factories and multiunit housing constructed in Detroit and Kharkiv, Atlanta and Moscow were strikingly similar, owing to common concerns of economy, efficiency, and standardization in architecture. This lecture employs nodal history, a method that engages in scalar oscillation between single sites-in this case Kharkiv and Atlanta-and larger territories in which those sites are allied and materially connected. Close collaboration between the US and USSR, occluded in the textual record during the Cold War, remains nonetheless legible in the built record of the Interwar period. Christina E. Crawford is an architectural and urban historian, and a trained architect. Her research focuses on the transnational exchange of ideas about housing and urban form in the twentieth century. Crawford's research and publications have been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Getty Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and the College Art Association, among other institutions. She received her PhD and MArch from Harvard University, and her BA from Yale University. Sponsored by the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies and cosponsored by Our Urban Future.