Whilst Yakov Chernikhov was, first and foremost, a pioneering architect, he was also a theoretician. Chernikhov had his own system of teaching which he described as Eksprimatika, a rule for new principles of drawing based on symmetry, the rhythm and relationship between component parts, constructions and colours. In the 1920s Chernikhov organised his own Research and Experimental Laboratory of Architectural Forms and Methods where he sought to teach a, “lighter method of the teaching of drawing and its laws”. The aim of this was not just to teach students the art of drawing but to strengthen their independence of thought, a concept that ran contrary to Soviet discipline and led to problems for the artist in the 1930s. It is this independence of thought that marked out the Russian avant-garde as a movement unique for its time. Chernikhov, the ‘architect-composer’ believed that art could free the mind.