The Radical Architecture of Kyiv

Five Ukrainian urbanists discuss the buildings, parks, and neighborhoods that make Kyiv unique.

April 4, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Expocenter of Ukraine

Expocenter of Ukraine, once a propaganda-laden exhibition of Soviet power, has come back to life in recent years as a festival and event venue. | Leonid Andronov / Expocenter of Ukraine

As war batters Ukraine's historic cities, Megan Buskey, a journalist living in Kyiv, interviews five Ukrainian urbanists about the public spaces and buildings in Ukraine's capital that they value most, and those that are threatened by the current conflict.

Oleksandr Anisimov, chief specialist in the department of urban mobility and street infrastructure for the Lviv city council, points to "a housing complex from the late Soviet era known unofficially as 4blocks. Stretching across four city blocks, it was built from 1985 to 1994 and is one of the few examples of what could be called Ukrainian postmodernism." The complex, which has been continuously inhabited since its completion, was radical in its design, which let the community shape its construction through a rare open competition. "Each of its 19 buildings had a different architect who integrated environmental features and existing buildings, rather than ignoring them or tearing them down. Despite the looming economic crisis, the complex was audaciously decorated." Anisimov sees it as symbolic of "an alternative vision of a vibrant 1990s that never happened."

Others point to Kyiv's unassuming but homey residential neighborhoods, the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (now the Expocenter of Ukraine), the Flowers of Ukraine building (a complex once threatened with demolition and now preserved as a cultural-heritage site), and the city's vibrant green spaces and rivers. Read their stories in the source article below.

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