One of the most urgent problems faced by Ukrainians today is the unsettled situation faced by displaced citizens, along with the challenge of returning to the cities they were forced to abandon earlier this year. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has shared that efforts to rebuild Ukraine will require ‘colossal investments’, and as leaders gather to work out ‘Marshall plan’ to rebuild the country, local architects have already begun developing emergency housing, healthcare, and educational facilities in cities further away from the Russian border.
As a temporary solution to the displacement of north-eastern and eastern Ukrainians, Drozdov&Partners, together with Replus Bureau and Ponomarenko Bureau, have begun refurbishing shelters for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Lviv and its region, using school campuses and other large-scale facilities as temporary housing.
Although parts of Ukraine have been experiencing some tensions since 2014, it was this war that radically changed the situation, and became a tragedy for each resident of Kharkiv, situated in northeast Ukraine. The war irrevocably changed everyone's lives and the city as a whole, forcing most of the Kharkivites to move to other cities or countries. Ukraine-based architectural office Drozdov&Partners, along with the Kharkiv School of Architecture, were one of the many who had to move 1,000 kilometers westwards, to the city of Lviv in Ukraine. During the first days of war, like the rest of the population, the firm started volunteering mostly in logistics and fundraising campaigns, but as soon as the second week of the war commenced, the firm resumed architectural work.
The first shelter created by the architecture firm was at the Children and Youth Sports School, housing around 132 people, followed by more than 15 shelters for IDPs across the city. One of the key aspects of the project was to adjust the available buildings to house IDPs through private-public partnerships. It was crucial to reject provisional quick solutions, which were expected to become problematic in the near future.
Another urgent challenge was posed by the new geo-political formation of Europe and Ukraine. New architecture must address security and safety issues, respond to the possible repeated Russian threats, and also focus on potential European integration, which meant including a new energy model, finding new resources, and shaping new ways of energy consumption.
We have realized that even in this horrible time the traditional skills of an architect are still in demand. It is a trying time for the Kharkiv School of Architecture, with our Ukrainian donors unable to support us. But the School has mustered strength to bring together the faculty and the students in the new location. It resolutely intends to continue its development, having found international support. The Kharkiv School of Architecture has also become a platform for the new international coalition, ro3kvit.com. It aims at the search of methodologies for the post-war transformations in Ukraine, because our country will face new challenges prescribing changes in the set-up of the cities and the country on the whole. -- Drozdov&Partners
Another response to this growing humanitarian crisis was by Kyiv-based practice Balbek Bureau, who has developed a modular temporary housing system that aims to provide a dignified dwelling to internally displaced Ukrainians. RE:Ukraine is designed to adapt to different types of terrain and settlement density while being deployed in a short time frame. While the project was intended for areas of Ukraine that are not under fire, the framework can also accommodate refugees abroad.
After months of ongoing tensions between Moscow and Kyiv, Russia inaugurated an invasion on Ukraine, resulting in the detrimental destruction of urban and rural environments. Since the beginning of the war, it is estimated that over 7.1 million people have been internally displaced within Ukraine. As of 30 May, UNESCO has verified damage to 139 sites affected by the ongoing hostilities, including 62 religious sites, 12 museums, 26 historic buildings, 17 buildings dedicated to cultural activities, 15 museums, and seven libraries, with the most affected in Kyiv. However, staff and students of Kharkiv Architecture School have restarted classes in temporary facilities. During the next semester, all classes will be conducted off-line, and enrolment campaigns for the next academic year have already began taking place.
Check the list of organizations and aid groups you can contribute to and help alleviate the humanitarian crisis.