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What is caprom and why was it criticized in post-Soviet Russia
What is caprom and why was it criticized in post-Soviet Russia

Turrets, Baroque murals, imbalances, tiles, glass and strange shapes … Many of us architectural structures that appeared in the 90s and 2000s seem ridiculous and tasteless, while others, on the contrary, admire the courage of the architects who gave will of imagination. This controversial style, which came in the first post-Soviet decade, has a name - kaprom, capitalist romanticism.

If there is a phenomenon, then there are people who study it. The term "capitalist romanticism" was coined by the architect Daniil Veretennikov, art critic Alexander Semyonov and urbanist Gabriel Malyshev. They share their thoughts on the insane post-perestroika architecture on social media and scholarly publications. They believe that the kaprom buildings are undeservedly offended by critics. Why is “good taste” a love of modernist buildings made of glass and concrete? Elegant and funny capromantic palaces are much closer to the "people", they shamelessly demonstrate the desire for a beautiful life, wealth and diversity. And their time has passed hopelessly - as soon as they appeared, they became a thing of the past, as soon as the financial crisis of 2008 burst out, depriving the whole world of faith in a steadily developing capitalism. While researchers and critics are breaking spears and city dwellers nicknamed these buildings, here are five notable examples of capitalist romanticism that can be loved or hated but cannot be ignored.

The building of the McDonalds restaurant in St. Petersburg

The first McDonald's in St. Petersburg and one of the first buildings in the style of capromanticism

A small building with a turret, arches and a spire, reminiscent of a medieval town hall, is the first McDonald's in St. Petersburg. It was opened near the Vasileostrovskaya metro station in 1996. The authors of the project are architects V.E. Zhukov and V.L. Chulkevich, the construction of the building was supervised by the Finnish architect Heike Holsti. Dubbed "Barbie's House" for its pinkish hue, the restaurant has become a herald of the architectural style of capitalist Russia.

Business center "Tolstoy Square"

The building of the business center is compared to the Nutcracker …

The thirteen-storey business center has been awarded the title of "ugliest" more than once, and many see the face of a fairy-tale character - the Nutcracker (as he was called - "Nutcracker House") in the combination of round windows and a glass part of the facade. The references to the literary hero, the tragicomic boy-doll, are quite justified - the building was originally built for the theater "Litsedei". However, someone sees in this building an infernal image from the cult film "Metropolis" …

… and with images from science fiction films

Tolstoy Square is distinguished by a variety of details, fragmentation, contrasts of shapes, volumes and materials. The famous architectural bureau "Studio-17" was responsible for the design of the business center - architects S. V. Gaikovich, M. V. Okuneva and M. I. Timofeeva.

"House-egg" in Moscow

House-egg, adjacent to another, eight-story building

Moscow has its own subspecies of capitalist romanticism - the "Luzhkov style", associated, as the name suggests, with the period when Yuri Luzhkov served as mayor of Moscow. The “Luzhkovsky style” is eclectic, it combines many decorative details from different historical styles, turrets and spiers are adjacent to the facing with tiles, ceiling paintings - with the usual low ceilings …

Egg house

One of the striking examples of the "Luzhkov style" is the famous egg house designed by the architect Sergei Tkachenko.The notorious gallery owner Marat Gelman also supported the project. Tkachenko tried to promote his idea for a very long time - at first the "egg" claimed the role of a maternity hospital, then from a twelve-story building project it turned into a small extension for one family …

The interior of the house was designed by order of its current owner

However, the architect himself has nothing to do with the kitsch interior of the egg house and perceives the rocaille ceiling paintings as a real disaster. This house, equipped with all the necessary communications, was practically not used by the owners and was repeatedly put up for sale. In the form in which it was erected, the symbol of Luzhkov's style is extremely inconvenient for life. Its creator dreams that one day the "egg house" will become a small and cozy museum.

Entertainment complex "Dream Island"

The facade of the Island of Dreams

Dream Island is the largest indoor theme park in all of Europe. It received negative reviews from critics even at the construction stage, and not at all because of controversial architectural decisions (although later its facade was included by blogger Ilya Varlamov in the list of the most ugly buildings). The amusement park was erected on the territory of the Nagatinskaya floodplain, and this "construction of the century" has caused a decline in populations and the complete disappearance of many rare animal species in this area. It was previously planned to build the Crystal Island complex by Norman Foster, an architect promoting sustainable and resource-efficient construction.

View from above

From an architectural point of view, the park combines historicism with references to medieval European architecture and high-tech style. On the territory of the complex there is a shopping center, stylized as a city street, and several fabulous "worlds" designed in the spirit of modern animation, where even trees and green spaces are fake and made of plastic or papier-mâché.

Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Singing Center

The building of the Vishnevskaya center on Ostozhenka

Perhaps the most "calm" example of capitalist romanticism, which could be put on a par with the well-known examples of European postmodern architecture. It was designed by the architect M.M. Possokhin. The dominant style of construction is neoclassicism in its capromantic interpretation (overly detailed and "embellished", but still not pretentious).


The interior of the auditorium is reminiscent of Italian opera, but it is designed in local contrasting colors and is generally minimalist, hinting at the generally accepted idea of ​​opera rather than following stereotypes. In terms of functionality, the Vishnevskaya Center combines an educational institution and an opera house, which also hosts concerts, opera festivals and other events.

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