Since 2020, the Lazar Khidekel Prize for the Best Innovative Architectural Project is awarded within the framework of the International Golden Trezzini Awards for Architecture and Design (2020 winner — Aviation and Astronautics History Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, project by Alexandra Lyapkalo and Maxim Subbotin). The laureate is selected by a special council of experts, which, among others, includes Roman Khidekel, architect, artist, scientific secretary of Lazar Khidekel Society and a member of the organizing committee of the Golden Trezzini Awards. Today we publish the article by Roman, explaining what the legacy of Lazar Khidekel means for today’s world and what is the mission of the architectural award named after him.
Roman Khidekel. Moon Station.
Suprematism and Cosmism. Utopian Architecture in Post-Utopian world
Russian cosmist philosophers had a deep influence on Kazimir Malevich, who, in turn, applied the utopian ideas of Nikolai Fedorov to develop a new visual language of art, which was supposed to replace all previous forms of pictorial depiction with the totality of Suprematism. Lazar Khidekel was tasked by Malevich to channel this utopian energy of Suprematism in to practical application for creating new architecture and urban space for the young and still at that point idealistic Soviet Union.
In the mid-1920s, Lazar Khidekel proposed various types of aero cities, supported cities, floating cities that freely soared above the ground, creating new urban clusters of future housing ideal for human health. Lazar Khidekel also believed that floating cities by being elevated above the natural environment would have minimal impact on it and will preserve nature for the inhabitants of these utopian mega structures to enjoy while living and working in the comfort and safety of the self-contained floating cities. Lazar Khidekel through these ideas proceeded environmental movement and sustainable architecture by many decades.
The tasks of architecture declared in his youthful manifesto «AERO» 1920 — to solve the contradictions between the preservation of the natural environment and the development of civilization, which brought Lazar Khidekel the title of pioneer of ecological thinking of the 20th century, were developed in his ideas for cities of the future, through which he promoted the nature conservation movement and sustainable architecture for decades.
Roman Khidekel. Floating City.
Here ideas of Russian Cosmism also play part when Fedorov stated that humanity cannot abuse nature simply for the material or economic gain but instead should use nature only as the resource of collective betterment of humanity that he saw as elimination of death, resurrection of the dead ancestors and settlement of outer space with its infinite resources for the immortal humanity.
However tragic events of the 20th century have prevented these ideas from becoming reality and they have only been rediscovered and reentered intellectual discourse at the end of century.
Today at the second decade of the 21st century we are facing the crisis of climate change, dwindling natural resource and ever increasing growth of population. The prevailing views in the west have been pessimism and belief that the only solution to the crisis facing humanity is environmental regulation and austerity.
Roman Khidekel. City on the Pillars.
Many experts in technology believe that today we are at the threshold of yet another outburst of world changing technological development that has been described as the fourth industrial revolution. The fourth industrial revolution is defined by wide spread automation and robotization in most industries and spheres of human activity. Most manual labor will be replaced by robotic automation. In addition there have been an incredible advancement in AI artificial intelligence and its use in controlling robotics systems in completing many labor tasks that could only be done by people before and have not been automated in the past decades. The fourth industrial revolution promises to radically alter most form of industrial production, transportation and logistics. Manufacturing technology will also be altered by the wide spread appearance of additive manufacturing techniques or 3d printing of objects that would components for products that could then be assembled by fully automated product assembly lines. These technologies also promise to revolutionize construction industry by allowing rapid and cost effective construction of large structures such as bridges, elevated roads and affordable housing. This technology could allow creation of radically different building structures and urban environments. These manufacturing techniques are already proposed by NASA for use in space where self-assembling robots could use 3d printing technology to build habitats on the Moon and on Mars.
All of the great technological advances of last 100 years could make ideas of Malevich and Khidekel a reality. We can hope that fourth industrial revolution will breathe life in to futuristic ideas of Suprematism. Floating cities could be build using automated self-organizing building modules. Humanity could begin moving to space for attaining the unlimited energy and material resources it offers.
We proposed urban mega structure that could be built using these revolutionary technologies. The Bridge City concept will be a continuous bridge to an urban mega-structure made up of multiple levels designed for transport, commercial, residential and recreational levels. The bridge city would be most effective in the coastal regions where effects of climate change with increase frequencies of the hurricanes and rising sea-level would be most challenging issues in the coming decades. Another new urbanism idea we are proposing is the Vertical Highway, which forms an elevated mega-structure high above the ground and provides completely self-sufficient cities.
Finally, Lazar Khidekel's gigantic Suprematist structures inspire space stations and vast space habitats that allow humanity to live and work in space. One day these sprawling architectons would be orbiting other planets and even be on their way to other stars as giant generation ships with self-contained biospheres and communities numbering in millions. The interaction of the ideas of Suprematism and Russian cosmism can give new hope and idealism in a world torn apart by cynicism and doubt about progress and a brighter future.
In presenting the prize, the students, followers, heirs and jury members of the Lazar Khidekel Prize nomination want to celebrate the future sprouts in the constantly evolving architectural and artistic process that the Golden Trezzini Prize so successfully stimulates.
Images: Roman Khidekel, selected 3D artworks inspired by the cosmic themes of Lazar Khidekel, presented at the exhibition in 2018—2019.
The Golden Trezzini Awards for Architecture and Design are named after Domenico Trezzini (1670—1734), Russian architect of Swiss origin, the first architect of St. Petersburg. The main objective of the Awards is turning the most artistically valuable architectural, design, restoration, scenography, and exhibition projects into museum objects. The Honorary Chairman of the International Council for the Golden Trezzini Awards is Mikhail Piotrovsky, President of the World Club of St. Petersburgers and General Director of the State Hermitage.
2021 Golden Trezzini Awards winners will be awarded in November during the Gala-Night at the Mikhailovsky Theatre. The best projects by competitors will be added to the collection of the Architectural Graphics Fund at the Museum of St. Petersburg History and take part in an annual exhibition at the Peter and Paul Fortress.
The General Partner of the Awarding Ceremony is the Mikhailovsky Theatre. The General Museum Partner is the State Museum of St. Petersburg History. The Strategic museum partner is the State Russian Museum. The System partner is RBI. The Special partner is Nency company. The independent auditor is Borenius Attorneys Russia Ltd. To see a full list of the Awards partners please check https://www.goldtrezzini.ru/en/partners2021/.
More news of the Golden Trezzini Awards: