How Architecture Became One of Ukraine’s Essential Defenses

Related media – Breaking news

The Ukrainian government and military have already begun major reconstruction projects. Bucha and Irpin, the devastated suburbs of Kiev, have become major construction sites. Architect Norman Foster has been hired to design a new master plan for Kharkiv, whose extraordinary density of modern architecture is exposed to near-daily shelling. But this exhibition continues to focus on informal, grassroots efforts in Ukrainian architecture. It features the work of architects from inside and outside the country, as well as some of Ukraine’s best-known artists, not to mention the ravers and DJs of Kiev’s world-leading electronic music scene, who have aided the reconstruction effort while the records were spinning.

Vladimir V. Putin began a full-scale war against Ukraine in February 2022, but Russia has actually been at war with the country since 2014, when it responded to the democratic, pro-European Maidan revolution by occupying Crimea and invading the country’s easternmost regions. That low-intensity war meant that Ukrainian architects and urban planners experienced displacement and destruction when millions of citizens began fleeing from east to west two years ago.

In Lviv, Ukrainian studio Drozdov & Partners and student volunteers from the Kharkiv School of Architecture quickly erected cardboard room dividers for hundreds of disadvantaged people, adapting and redistributing a system first developed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. An NGO, MetaLab, created a cohousing project for those who lost their homes during the war. Called Co-Haty, a play on the Ukrainian words for “love” and “houses,” it includes a modular, quick-assemble wooden bed of the same name that can now be found in empty government buildings and temporary shelters.

News of interest – Featured Contributors