Nicholas Bueno de Mesquita - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Nicholas Bueno de Mesquita

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Nicholas Bueno de Mesquita

PhD student

Thesis: Soviet Architecture of the 1920’s and Western Europe. Separate Modernisms or an ‘International Front of Modern Architecture’.

Supervised by Professor John Milner

The conventional narrative of the modernist architecture of the 1920’s has viewed developments in the Soviet and Western European regions as discrete and divergent, driven by different political environments and design philosophies. This conventional narrative has chronicled the separate architectural development of each of the two regions with only sparse reference to the evidence for inter-regional architectural exchange and appropriation.

My thesis takes the example of the architectural relations between the Soviet Union and Germany examining a number of episodes demonstrating intense exchange of ideas and of architectural language driven by a largely shared adherence to a broad modernist agenda. In an important historiographic section my thesis chronicles the establishment of the conventional narrative against the background of the mobilisation of the arts and architecture in the ideological struggle between East and West from the 1930’s onwards.


  • M.A. in Modern History at Oxford University (1963-66)
  • M.A. The Courtauld Institute of Art (2007-8)

Research interests

  • The architecture of the Soviet Union
  • The means of international exchange in architecture
  • Representing architecture (drawings, photography, maquettes)
  • The arts in East-West relations


Karl Kraus, Oskar Kokoschka and the Prometheus Triptych, The Burlington Magazine Vol. 151, No. 1276, Twentieth-Century Art and Politics (Jul., 2009), pp. 444-452.

Catalogue entries, artists’ biographies and glossary for the catalogue of the exhibition, Building the Revolution, at the Royal Academy, London, (also shown in Barcelona, Madrid, and Berlin). The catalogue appeared in English, Spanish and German.

Theo van Doesburg and Russia in Utopian Reality: Reconstructing Culture in Revolutionary Russia and Beyond (2013). This was the publication of a paper given at the Utopia conference held at The Courtauld Institute of Art in 2012.

Preparation of the architectural section and catalogue article on VKhUTEMAS for the exhibition Rodchenko and his Circle at the Art Sensus Gallery, 2011.

Conference papers

“VKhUTEMAS”, talk given at the Pushkin Institute, London, 2012.

“Early Soviet Architecture, Conflicting narratives and the 1971 London Hayward Gallery exhibition ‘Art and Revolution’” at ASEES 2013 (Boston). 

“Letchworth and Russia” at ASEES 2014 (San Antonio, Texas)

“Tatlin in Berlin. German Architects and Artists and the Imagining of the Russian revolution, 1917-1921” at The Courtauld Institute of Art, 2014.

“Soviet Russia and the ‘International Front of Contemporary Architects’: the Case of Peter Behrens and Russia” at The Courtauld Institute of Art, 2015.

Two and half dimensions. Russia and Germany and the formulation of new architectural languages 1922-4 to be given at the forth coming conference at The Courtauld, Fantasy in Reality: Architecture, Representation, Reproduction, 2017.

Other activities

Member of the advisory board of CCRAC (Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Consortium)

Secretary of the Bedford Park Society, a charity which works to ensure the conservation of the architectural heritage of Bedford Park.

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