RETROGRAD is an online project that creatively and visually engages with the history and transformation of socialism. Focusing on architecture, urbanism, design and material and popular culture, our goal is to explore ‘big’ topics through objects and aspects of everyday life and knit them together in small but meaningful stories.
Referring to the Slavic ‘grad’ [city, town] and the English ‘retrograde’ [directed backwards], RETROGRAD looks behind the backward-looking facades of the post-socialist city. How do these different cities and towns look today, how are their societies mirrored and reflected in the architecture and material surroundings of their urban environment?
And what are the similarities and differences between post-war architecture in the ‘West’ and the post-communist ‘East’, both in terms of its style, purpose, perception and forms of transformation? Exploring the relationship between wider architectural trends such as brutalism and internationalism and ‘socialist’ architecture, we are interested in both the East in the West and the West in the East.
RETROGRAD was founded by students from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), University College London, and originated out of the Bulgarian online magazine banitza.net.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org