Norman Foster met with the Mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, on Monday to discuss the city's rebuilding, following discussions at the 2nd UN Forum of Mayors in Geneva. Since the onset of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the city of Kharkiv suffered significant damage due to heavy shelling, losing much of its infrastructure, including housing, hospitals, schools, cultural institutions, and historic buildings. The second-largest city in Ukraine is already planning its rebuilding, with Norman Foster undertaking the task of bringing together the "best minds" to envision the city's future.
During the meeting, mayor Ihor Terekhov expressed his vision of creating a modern architectural landscape while repairing and preserving the buildings and public spaces that make up the city's history and culture. Also part of the discussion were Professor Ian Goldin of Oxford University and Professor Ed Glaeser of Harvard University, along with the Co-Heads of the Design, Architecture and Technology Unit of the Norman Foster Foundation, Diego Lopez and Alberto Cendoya.
In preparation for the meeting, Norman Foster drafted a manifesto for the reconstruction of Kharkiv that reiterates his commitment to bring together a team of world-leading experts that could envision the process for the city's rebuilding and its future. At the same time, the architect stressed the creation of a masterplan as the first step of reconstruction, referencing London's case after WWII.
Read on to discover the Kharkiv Manifesto.
THE KHARKIV MANIFESTO
I undertake to assemble the best minds with the best planning, architectural, design, and engineering skills in the world to bear on the rebirth of the city of Kharkiv. In the spirit of combining a planetary awareness with local action, I would seek to bring together the top Ukrainian talents with worldwide expertise and advice.
The first step would be a city masterplan linked to the region, with the ambition to combine the most loved and revered heritage from the past with the most desirable and greenest elements of infrastructure and buildings - in other words, to deliver the city of the future now and to plan for its life decades ahead.
At the height of the pandemic, London updated a masterplan, the roots of which was a plan commissioned in the darkest days of World War II. A masterplan is an act of confidence in the future for generations still to come. - Norman Foster, 18th April 2022.
Foster + Partners is among the numerous architecture practices that have publicly condemned Russia's actions and have withdrawn from projects in Russia. The Kharkiv School of Architecture, which made the decision to continue its programs and relocated its staff and students to Lviv, is also determined to create a framework for the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. The institution is seeking international collaboration with European academic institutions and intellectual support from experts who could help consolidate knowledge and professional expertise within the country.
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