Heterotopias of the Cold War

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

In this lecture Visiting Professor Dr. Xenia Vytuleva will discuss the urban phenomenon of Soviet Secret Cities ZATO, it’s correlation to the concept of “human geography”, and how these “realized utopias” reflected the socio-political and aesthetic discourses of the Cold War.

Lasting one fifteen-millionth of a second, the double lightning flash of Hiroshima and Nagasaki precipitated an official carte blanche to establish a new, utopian and secret format of Soviet urbanity. Nameless, not plotted on any map, even blurred on Google Earth, Soviet secret cities, or ZATO, were sites of highly secretive military and scientific research and production. Inspired by ideal cities, based on perfect geometric plans, articulated by progressive modernist architectural language, ZATO were representing the most updated ideology of the Party. Shimmering on the surface of the Soviet landscape these dots of strategic information listed under randomly changing numbers could be traced only by gossips or sometimes after a telephone call.


Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 66 Fifth Avenue

Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served

Special Needs:

If a person attending your event has a special needs request, i.e. hearing assistance or wheelchair accessibility, they should contact the organizer of the event at:

Phone: 212.229.8916 x3718

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