Dr Catherine Cooke was a Cambridge-based academic whose great interest in Soviet design and architecture took physical form in the incredible collection she built up during her life.
A Cambridge graduate with practical experience in Finland under her belt, Catherine returned to her alma mater to write a doctorate on Soviet town planning. This was the start of a working life devoted to modern Russian architecture and design. Her growing interests were reflected in the many books she wrote and edited, with the avant-garde in general and Constructivism in particular her primary focuses. At the time of her death in 2004, she was writing a book on the Constructivist designer Aleksei Gan.
In the early 1970s Catherine began the collection that she ultimately left to the University Library. Frustrated by the impossibility of travelling to the Soviet Union to consult material needed for her doctorate, she simply started to buy her own copies. Over the next 30 years, she built ceaselessly on these foundations, leaving a comprehensive collection of enormous academic and historical importance.Tweet