How Architecture Became One of Ukraine’s Essential Defenses

How Architecture Became One of Ukraine’s Essential Defenses
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The Ukrainian government and army have already started major reconstruction projects. Bucha and Irpin, the devastated suburbs of Kiev, have become important construction sites. Architect Norman Foster has been hired for a new master plan for Kharkiv, whose extraordinary density of modern architecture is exposed to almost daily bombing. But this exhibition continues to focus on informal, grassroots efforts in Ukrainian architecture. It features the work of architects inside and outside the country, but also of 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 reconstruction efforts while records they 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 easternmost part of the country. regions. That low-intensity war meant that Ukrainian architects and urban planners experienced displacement and destruction when, two years ago, millions of citizens began fleeing from east to west.

In Lviv, Ukrainian firm Drozdov & Partners and student volunteers from the Kharkiv School of Architecture quickly erected cardboard partition units 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 had lost their homes during the war. Called Co-Haty, a play on Ukrainian words for “love” and “houses,” it includes a modular, quick-assemble wooden bed of the same name that you can now find in empty government buildings and temporary shelters.

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