“The collective approach does not abolish the individual”. The links between Soviet avant-garde experiments and architectural practice in the Netherlands during the first half of the twentieth century
The first steps of the European International Style in architecture coincided with the time of extraordinary changes in Russian culture, caused by Revolution of 1917. In the 1920s, though for a very short period, Russian constructivists had the opportunity to implement their most progressive ideas on a large scale.It is not surprising that the radical changes in Russian artistic life elicited a strong interest among many Dutch architects. In the 1920s and the 1930s the Netherlands was at the forefront of the nascent architectural experiments of the Modern Movement. Furthermore, Dutch architects were among the pioneers of residential dwelling projects and social engineering methods, searching for ways to adapt and modernize urban planning. This was the area in which the interests of Dutch architects coincided with the research of their Soviet colleagues. Despite different economic and political circumstances, as well as the fact that many European artists did not accept Soviet ideology, there were close contacts between the two. These contacts had their influence on Dutch architectural practice and we should take them in consideration when talking about the post-WWII Reconstruction period in the Netherlands. This chapter examines the Dutch and Soviet architectural experiments and what forms of influence and exchange took place between the two.