Russian Avant-Garde: Preservation Challenges & Opportunities

Natalia Melikova, creator of the The Constructivist Project, shares her experience in photographing, researching, and promoting Russian avant-garde architecture. In addition to a discussion of present-day preservation challenges and opportunities in Moscow, she will describe the creation process behind the recently published Constructivist Moscow Map and the role of city guides in preservation efforts.

Learning Objectives

  1. HISTORY: What is the Russian avant-garde and why is it significant?
  2. RUSSIAN EXPERIENCE: What is the present-day status of constructivist monuments? What are the main preservation challenges?
  3. THINKING CREATIVELY: What efforts are being made to popularize avant-garde architecture in Moscow?
  4. THE CASE FOR RENOVATION OVER DEMOLITION: Incentives for, and benefits of adapting, the built environment for modern use, new functions.


Born in Moscow, raised in California, Natalia Melikova is a photographer currently based in Moscow. She is the creator of The Constructivist Project – an interdisciplinary project which promotes Russian avant-garde art and architecture and advocates for the preservation of cultural heritage.

She is a member of the Russian branch of Docomomo and does freelance writing on preservation issues in Russia. She has an MFA in Photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and a BA in International Studies from the University of California in San Diego.