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– Dasha Shkurpela –

built by somebody whose hobby was popular mechanics. I only recently understood the accuracy of this ­observation. In the 1950s there was a lot of enthusiasm about the Gorkii methods of voluntary labor in housing construction, which was lauded in the 1957 Decree on Developing Housing Construction in the USSR. The Gorkii automobile workers were constructing houses themselves in their spare time, often using industrial waste and cheap materials. The Decree expressed hope that this experience would become an important nation­wide movement. Although some houses were built in such a fashion, all poorly constructed, the movement never took off on the aspired scale. It certainly blossomed in the dacha construction.

In their essay ‘Mourning in the hollows of architecture and psychoanalysis’ Maria McVarish, a practicing architect, and Julie Leavitt, an MD and a psychoanalyst, remarked:

A further complication of space, in the everyday sense in which we use this word, is the extent to which our bodies are in it and of it, reflexively. We internalize the standards of everyday architectural space to such a degree that we rarely reflect on what its walls, windows, and roofs keep from us. Through lifetime of repeated movement, we incorporate the spatial conventions of environmental design down to their smallest and most detailed nuances: the feel, in one’s feet and


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