The Radical Humanism of the Soviet Planetarium - Issue 56: Perspective

The Radical Humanism of the Soviet Planetarium - Issue 56: Perspective

In the skies over Moscow, in the decades before the collapse of the socialist state, stood three symbols of the space program: the rocket, the cosmonaut, and the red star. The rocket is still atop the 1964 Monument to the Conquerors of Space, a 110-meter-high titanium sculpture beside Prospekt Mira with the Alley of Cosmonauts leading to its base. The cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin stands on a 30-meter-high column on Leninsky Prospekt, his arms pulled back in the style of a classic Marvel superhero, as though about to leap upward toward the stratosphere. These two monuments look at once back to the period of Soviet space exploration and forward to the time of planetary probes and space stations. The red star, symbol both of astronomy and of communism, preceded the epic period of space flights and once crowned the dome of the Moscow planetarium located on Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya street.

Moscow PlanetariumZeiss Archiv

This planetarium stands at the intersection of influences created by politics, engineering, style, theater, astronomy, space exploration, and religion, each of which affects the others. It was one of the last buildings to be put up in the style known as Constructivism, and thus looks both back to the original fervor…
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