Treivas Architecture Buro

Bom Dia, Tovarisch Da Costa!

A media artwork for XII International Architecture Biennial in Sao Paulo dedicated to unique case of collaboration between Brazilian and Soviet architects.


A young Brazilian architect Rodrigo da Costa came to the Soviet Union. Together with Soviet architect, Vasily Voinov, he took part in the adaptation of the existing administrative building into the first sound film theatre in Moscow.

The name of da Costa is on the blueprints, a rare mention of him in the chronicle, but the further story of the architect is unknown. Very difficult to discover now if he came back to Brazil or stayed in Russia, whether his life was successful or tragically ended in the midst of the Stalinist regime repressions.

Very little is known about the life of Vasily Voinov too. This enigmatic story seems to be inspired by mystery of magical realism, where a shadow of elusive, unknown characters makes things immortal. Today we can only guess what else, besides this building, united the architects Vasily Voinov and Rodrigo da Costa. What could those two young men tell each other about the space and architecture in their countries, how many similarities and distinctions could they possibly find? What can we tell them about the time that passed since they have disappeared?

The building on which Da Costa and Voinov were working has a long history; it was built before the Revolution, survived the Soviet Union and found its own place in the “New Russia”. Over a hundred years it has been rebuilt, alternated, its functions changed.

Building as the first sound cinema in Moscow

It is like a living palimpsest of its century-old history, where numerous transient roles are still awake its walls: echo of the crystal boathouse, factory noise, spectators amazed by first sound of the cinema, of reverberation of big-city leisure-time activities or a quiet garden at the very heart, an impatient forerunner of new changes.

In 2012 the architectural bureau FORM has been commissioned for the project of restoration and adaption of the building to the office of the contemporary art museum GARAGE. The unexpected discovery of many hidden historical and architectural layers in the building’s layout provoked fundamental research that resulted in a book, where all the facts and stories of the building, historical periods and the country transformation are collected together.

In the installation for XII International Architecture Biennial in Sao Paulo we imagine the conversation between us and two architects from the past about space, architecture and domestic life. The cinematography is one of the media that collects and documents the information over the past hundred years. 

Scenography of the movie set is a unique witness of time and space that addresses to the senses. In the cloud of millions of movie frames in principle is possible to find any thought.

We take a space unit from the circle of everyday life: kitchen, office, bedroom and transit, we systematically scan the abundance of movie frames, and behind the information we meet the picturesque world of details and elements, fantasies and banalities, the talkative stories of anytime.

The split screen divides fragments from Brazilian movies and Soviet ones, showing them simultaneously. This simple trick helps to show that everyday life on different continents can be more alike than it seems.

Theory authors