The Cosmos and Four-Dimensional Geometry as seen in the Visionary Architecture of the Russian Avant-Garde


From four-dimensional geometry and philosophy to a connection with the cosmos, the intellectual tradition of the Russian Avant-Garde is understudied and misinterpreted in the West. This thesis reflects upon the theory of visionary architecture to explore the mystical philosophical culture that was present during the Russian Avant-Garde movement. My aim is to examine the following: how can visionary architecture help us understand the cultural connection between the cosmos and geometry during the Russian Avant Garde period? Although there is individual research on the different disciplines in Russia, there is less research on the interconnectedness of these disciplines. Russian intellectual circles in the 19th and 20th century were very intermingled, and this thesis aims to add another voice to interdisciplinary research while understanding the broader cultural context, focusing on architecture. This thesis provides a background of Russia’s intellectual history – from philosophy to mathematics – that influenced the Modern Art movement and then examines visionary architecture from different groups of architects to recognize where and how impacts of this diverse intellectual culture are embedded within their designs. Lastly, the author uses drawing as a form of active research to understand the thinking behind several visionary architectural pieces from several architects so that the additions are in dialogue with the originals. Overall, the visionary architecture from a century ago expressed the cosmic mysticism that pervaded Russia’s intellectual circles, very different from the Western rationalism of Russia’s neighbours and subsequently misunderstood. With this in mind, along with the heavy interdisciplinary way of approaching various subjects in 19th and early 20th century Russia, there is merit in re-examining some of the ideas offered from that time in today’s modern world. 

The examining committee is as follows:
Supervisor: Elizabeth English
Committee member: Tara Bissett
Internal-external reader: Rick Haldenby
External: Jessica Mace

The defence examination will take place:
Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 10:00 a.m.
In person, in the Library seminar space.
A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.