postcard from the microrayon


My address is not a house, and not a street, my address is…
Adeola Enigbokan, Carlos Medellin, Aleksandra Smagina

Carlos, Aleksandra and I visited microrayons, giant ex-public housing projects that weave through Moscow, in which many Muscovites live. The buildings are remnants of the Soviet era, cheaply built, each a micro-city all its own, made to house 10-16,0000 people at once. The buildings are large and, to outsiders, seem impersonal and impenetrable. Common areas appear barely used, quiet even on temperate afternoons. The hallways tend to be poorly maintained, often smelling of garbage or urine. Oddly, the apartments are quite expensive (one couple we met paid almost $400,000 for their very small two-bedroom apartment). The interiors are well-appointed though small, lovingly decorated by residents, reflecting the individuality of each family.

Asked about how we might “improve” the crumbling infrastructure of the microrayons around Moscow, Carlos, Aleksandra and I (all of us strangers to Moscow) worked together to create this postcard.


Today the microrayon is turned in upon itself, presenting a cold and colorless facade. On the other hand, the insides of the homes are often warm, tended with care and reflect the individuality of each resident, and the ties that bind each family to its place.

Our project suggests a future in which this warm, colorful inside can become visible and sensible from the outside. The postcard represents the facade of the microrayon, with windows which can be opened by the viewer using colorful strings, to reveal events, relationships, patterns and colors. The facade is transformed not through demolition, or technical re-construction, but through the small act of opening– an act combining curiosity and trust.

Adeola Enigbokan
Carlos Medellin
Aleksandra Smagina

2 thoughts on “postcard from the microrayon

  1. ‘archiving the city’ on tour, or should that be detour, either way it’s interesting seeing hoe you respond to new (to you) places and environments. I also love the windows that can be opened by colourful string… were you playing on the advent calendar? simple but very effective as I really wish I could open one!

  2. this is such a lovely project. definitely going to write about it soon at chai kadai. i am so glad we found archiving the city. this is an extremely useful way of documenting your work, helps all kinds of people, in such different ways. currently, my explorations and research on living in cities – majorly comes out of a concern for public spaces. been working on a play with our group and that’s how i landed here. so so happy! shall follow your work.

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