Fomin, Ivan Aleksandrovich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fomin, Ivan Aleksandrovich


Born Jan. 22, (Feb. 3), 1872, in Orel; died June 12, 1936, in Moscow. Soviet architect.

Fomin studied with L. N. Benois at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts from 1894 to 1897 and again from 1905 to 1909. During that time he also studied etching with V. V. Mate. After his expulsion from the academy in 1897 for participating in student disorders, he worked in Moscow (until 1905) as an assistant first to the architect L. N. Kekushev and then to the architect F. O. Shekhtel’.

Fomin’s early work was influenced by the art nouveau style. Shortly after 1900, Fomin grew interested in the legacy of Russian architecture and became an active proponent of Russian classicism. He collaborated on the publication of The History of Russian Art and organized the Historic Exposition of Architecture in St. Petersburg in 1911. Fomin created the style of neoclassicism in Russian architecture.

Between 1910 and 1920 he did a great deal of work in urban design. He designed the square on Golodai Island (1912) and the Tuchkov Buian complex (1913) in St. Petersburg and the Laspi resort in the Crimea (1916). These three projects were not completed. Using the compositional and ornamental devices of classicism, he created an architectural form for the modern building and the modern interior, as seen in the former residences of A. A. Polovtsev (1911–13) and S. S. Abamelek-Lazarev (1912–14).

Fomin’s work during the Soviet period included the design and landscaping of the Field of Mars in Petrograd (1920–23). In 1919, Fomin headed the architecture workshop of the Council to Regulate the Plan of Petrograd and Its Environs of the Petrograd Council of the Municipal Economy.

In the 1920’s, Fomin continued to synthesize classicism with the principles of modern architecture. He advanced a theory on the revitalization of classicism (creating a “proletarian classicism,” in the words of the architect) and proposed borrowing only the general principles of classical architecture and rejecting the details. Working from this theory, Fomin developed a style based on the use of extremely simplified classical elements. Examples of Fomin’s work in this style are the Institute of Chemical Technology in Ivanovo (1929) and the former headquarters of the Dinamo sports society (1928–30), the new complex of the Moscow Council (1929–30), and the Krasnye Vorota subway station (1935; now Lermontovskaia) in Moscow. Fomin’s work of the 1930’s was marked by a noticeable transition to a more indirect use of the classical, ornamentally “enriched” forms, as seen in the building housing the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR in Kiev (1934–38, in collaboration with architect P. V. Abrosimov).

Fomin taught at the Leningrad Academy of Arts, where his students included A. I. Gegello, E. A. Levinson, and V. O. Munts. In 1933 he became the director of the studio of the Moscow Council; his students there included P. V. Abrosimov, L. M. Poliakov, and M. A. Minkus. Fomin also produced etchings; of particular note are the series Plans for a Treatment Building at Mineral’nye Vody (1909) and Rome (1910).


Il’in, M. I. A. Fomin. Moscow, 1946.
Minkus, M., and N. Pekareva. I. A. Fomin. Moscow, 1953.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.