Born in Manglisi (Georgia), Leonid Pavlov (1909 -1990) was one of the most brilliant, effective, intellectually complex exponents of the second generation of Soviet architects. To begin with, he developed his skills in the Avant-garde climate of the 1920s (with its undisputed epicenter in the Vkhutemas (later Vkhutein) and then established his reputation in the already radically reformed climate and institutions of the 1930s.
His activities span the entire historical range of the U.S.S.R. and interpret, with strong traits of originality, architectural developments marked, in various phases, by profound divisions. The fertility and breadth of his intellectual and creative vision, fueled by vast and transverse cultural interests and by his intensive and organic rapport with examples of Modernism and Classicism, explain the unusual position of the architect in the system of Soviet design, of which he was an important exponent from the 1930s and 1940s and, without any doubt, one of the key figures in the decades following WWII.
Having begun his career studying art (1922-23), Leonid Pavlov entered the Vkhutemas (the Russian state art and technical school in Moscow) in 1924, and studied architecture between 1926 and 1930 under Aleksandr Vesnin and Ivan Leonidov. He can be regarded as the main ‘heir’ of the great architect, to whom he was always bound by a very close friendship. What he learned from Leonidov, in particular, can be seen in the architectural and town-planning designs executed by Pavlov in the 1960s and 1970s. That is to say, the most fertile period of ‘Soviet Modernism’, inaugurated by Khrushchev’s reforms; a period marked by innovation, radical design and the rediscovery of the pioneers of the Avant-garde movement.