Behind the Iron Curtain in 1968: In Search of the Russian Constructivists and Aalto

Join longtime friend of the SAH/SCC, John G. Ellis, FAIA for a very personal trip down memory lane behind the iron curtain in 1968…a personal architectural pilgrimage to find the works of Alvar Aalto and the Russian Constructivist architects.

In the summer of 1968, Ellis (not to be confused with the former SAH/SCC board member and architectural photographer, John Ellis) and his student colleagues at the department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, were inspired by visiting lecturer Berthold Lubetkin (1901-1990) to visit Russia and see the work of the Constructivists such as Konstantin Melnikov (1890-1974) and Vladimir Shukhov (1853-1939).

What followed was a 5,000-mile journey that Ellis will recount via personal photographs and contemporary images. The presentation is sure to inspire renewed interest in these architects and thoughtful dialogue about their work, influence and enduring legacy.  Consider it your summer vacation without the need for a mask or face shield.

Ellis is an architect, urban designer and teacher.  The ‘Son of a Brutalist’ he grew up in an architectural family in London and studied at Cambridge under Sir Leslie Martin and teachers including Richard Saul Wurman and Sandy Wilson. SAH/SCC tourgoers may remember him from participation in our travel-tours to Pittsburgh and San Francisco in the late 1990s. Ellis is currently working on a book about his life in architecture.

Behind the Iron Curtain in 1968: In Search of the Russian Constructivists and Aalto. Saturday, April 17th, 2021; 1-2:30PM PST; $5; pay via PayPal through Zoom connection information sent upon registration.


SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610