Friday 20 May 2022, 2:00pm to 3:30pm
VenueMargaret Fell Lecture Theatre
Open toAll Lancaster University (non-partner) students, Alumni, Applicants, External Organisations, Families and young people, Postgraduates, Prospective International Students, Prospective Postgraduate Students, Prospective Undergraduate Students, Public, Staff, Undergraduates
RegistrationRegistration not required - just turn up
What would an architect do for the chance to build the tallest building in the world? What would he sacrifice to stay alive in the midst of Stalin’s murderous purges? This is the first major publication on the remarkable life and career of Boris Iofan (1891–1976), state architect to Joseph Stalin. Iofan’s story is an insight into the troubled relationship of all successful architects with power.
A gifted designer and a committed communist, Iofan became the Soviet Union’s most celebrated architect after Alexei Rykov, Lenin’s successor, persuaded him to return to Moscow from Rome with his aristocratic wife, Olga Sasso-Ruffo. Iofan was at the heart of political life in the Soviet Union and his work is key to understanding its official culture.
When Stalin’s henchmen crushed the architectural avant-garde, it was Iofan who created the new national style, from the grand projects he realized, including the House on the Embankment, a megastructure of 505 homes for the Soviet elite, to even more ambitious unbuilt projects, in particular the Palace of the Soviets, a baroque Stalinist dream whose image was reproduced throughout the Soviet Union. His career took him to New York and Paris, and to the destroyed city of Stalingrad. He was a friend of Frank Lloyd Wright; a rival of Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Erich Mendelsohn; and an enemy of Hitler’s architect Albert Speer, whose Nazi pavilion faced Iofan’s Soviet one at the Paris Exposition in 1937. He kept silent when Stalin executed his friends, including Rykov; he also sacrificed his own talent by following the dictator’s instructions to the letter in creating the regime’s landmarks.
Deyan Sudjic OBE, Distinguished Professor of Design and Architecture Studies
Deyan stood down from the Design Museum as a Director in January 2020, initiated the Designs of the Year Award in 2007 after his appointment as Director in 2006. The awards provide an annual exploration of the most significant designs in the world and the Designers in Residence programme that every year supports emerging designers.
He also devised a series of ground-breaking exhibitions at the museum, including the first UK retrospective on the work of architect Zaha Hadid.
In 2019 he curated ‘Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition’, the most successful exhibition in the museum’s history attracting 170,000 visitors.
He was the design and architecture critic for The Observer, the Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Kingston University, Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art, and co-chair of the Urban Age Advisory Board.
In 1983, he co-founded ‘Blueprint’, a monthly architecture magazine, and went on to be the magazine's editor and, later, editorial director and from 2000-04, he was the editor of the Italian-based architecture and design magazine ‘Domus’.
In 2000, Deyan received an OBE for services to architecture and design.
He was the Director of Glasgow’s UK City of Architecture and Design programme in 1999, and the director of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2002.
He was also a juror for the design of London Aquatics Centre designed and built for the 2012 Olympics by Zaha Hadid.