Architecture as a mirror of the world. Part IV: you say, unimaginative?

The fourth part of Alex Ulko’s series about modern architecture in Central Asia. This time, the author found the strong source of inspiration on roads of Uzbekistan

The fourth part of Alex Ulko’s series about modern architecture in Central Asia. This time, the author found the strong source of inspiration on roads of Uzbekistan

Editor’s note: Previous parts: Part 1Part 2, Part 3.

Those who maintain that modern architecture of Uzbekistan lacks any spark of genius or even imagination may well have a point. After all, neither the drab grey Soviet blocks of flats, nor the independence-era white domed civic buildings can be regarded as born out of inspiration. However, there is still at least one architectural genre that shows some remarkable variety and even unexpected novelty of shape. It’s the bus stop. In Uzbekistan the design of bus stops has been the subject of continuous transmutation and fantasy: from concrete ones, sometimes mistaken by the drunk for a loo (and rightly so!), to dull glass plate boxes to wooden tents to modernist iron structures and then back to concrete, back to glass and so on.

In cities at least this flight of imagination has ceased and in most places bus stops are fairly innocuous; not so in the countryside, at least in Tashkent province. Below you can see a random selection of bus stops mostly located on M39 dual carriageway – pick up your favourite one and forget the myth about the unimaginative Uzbek architects – they are simply working elsewhere, sadly for the urban citizens!

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