Spying on Moscow: Drone photography of the Russian capital

Russian photographer Denis Esakov presents Moscow from a different perspective – from above.

Russian photographer Denis Esakov presents a side of Moscow not usually seen – from above. He has used a drone-mounted camera to photograph the Russian capital's 'fifth facade', revealing surprising architectural design details such as the five-pointed star design of the Red Army Theatre.

Red Army Theatre, architect K.S. Alabyan et al, 1934-1940Denis Esakov

His aerial images, which are published in the book Spying on Moscow: A Winged Guide to Architecture, trace the development of Moscow's architecture through 70 architecturally-important buildings constructed over a 100-year period. At street level, Moscow's Stalinist skyscrapers and constructivist apartment complexes can appear cold and forbidding, but by taking to the air, we see their often innovative arrangements, incorporating symbolism and green space.

Kauchuk Factory Club, architect Konstantin Melnikov, 1927-1929Denis Esakov
Khavsko-Shabolovsky Residential Complex, architect N.N. Travin et al, 1927-1930Denis Esakov
Palace of Pioneers, architect I.A. Pokrovsky et al, 1958-1962Denis Esakov
Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, architect Y.P. Platonov et al, 1974-1994Denis Esakov
Great Moscow State Circus, J.B. Belopolsky et al, 1971Denis Esakov
View of the Novoarbatsky Bridge and the Ukraina Hotel (Radisson Royal)Denis Esakov
Krylatskoe Velodrome, architect N.I. Voronina et al, 1976-1979Denis Esakov
Round House on Dovzhenko Street, E.N. Stamo, 1979Denis Esakov

Moscow's skyline has undergone huge changes since the fall of the Soviet Union. Some of the tallest buildings in Europe are clustered together in a development colloquially known as Moscow City. The Russian capital is also home to a few innovative projects by internationally renowned British architects such as Zaha Hadid and David Adjaye.

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Moscow School of Management Skolkovo, architect Adjaye Associates, 2006-2010Denis Esakov
Garden Quarters Residential Complex, architect S.A. Skuratov et al, 2010-2018Denis Esakov
Dominion Tower Office Building, architect Zaha Hadid et al, 2012-2015Denis Esakov
International Business Centre Moscow City, 1996-2018Denis Esakov

Esakov's photos enable us not just to see buildings from above, but also to understand how these buildings fit into – and organise – the urban landscape. His book opens up new perspectives, for even Moscow connoisseurs.

Spying on Moscow, A Winged Guide to Architecture, is available from DOM Publishers at €28 (£25.75).

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