The surprising, delightful architecture of Soviet era bus stops

Published October 11, 2016 by lagmen
An Armenian bus stop

Soviet era buildings were not known to spark joy. The towering, oversized gray buildings that proliferated in the Soviet Union were meant to assert the power of the state over individual aesthetics. Yet there are a few structures that remain that have a kind of weirdly utopian, futuristic charm. That’s apparent in bus stops from the era, which dot the landscapes of the former regime.

Peter Ortner, a Nuremberg-based photographer, spent seven years capturing these waiting areas. The images are part of a new book, Back in the USSR: Soviet Roadside Architecture from Samarkand to Yerevan, published by Jovis Verlag, out this month.

According to a book published last year on the same subject, towns and communities were often responsible for designing their local stops, which led to some surprising new forms.

Ortner was first inspired by a stop he saw while traveling in Uzbekistan. “I found it surprising that there was, after all, a space for some little freedom in architecture,” he says. “Normally everything in the USSR was planned and had a long process of administration and survey. Here there was a microcosm of freedom.” Today, local authorities and young artists are rediscovering the roadside stops and giving them new life with paint and graffiti.

See a selection from Ortner’s book.












The Crimea







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: