Even in the worst circumstances exceptional individuals can separate themselves from the crowd and the establishment and show their abilities. Just as an example, when we think of architecture during the communist years in the Soviet Union, we immediately visualize brutal buildings. However, even during this period, certain architects were able to outstand their fellow architects and create master pieces like the Palace of Ceremonies in Tbilisi (by Victor Djorbenadze).
But even following the directives of the Commusnist Party, there is room to express one's thoughts. Check this wonderful building in Kaliningrad by Yulian L. Shvartsbreim:
Human beings are social, no doubt about it, however we are also individualistic and without the people that didn't follow the herd, our development would have been much slower.