Build and live. How to humanize the architectural face of Kyiv?

| 22 September 2021

Andrei Moskaltsov, Chief Architect of EcoBud Building Group with an article on how to make the architecture of Kiev closer to the people.

Kyiv is experiencing an urban boom: in recent years, a record number of new homes have been built here – millions of square meters per year. Entire housing estates just grow before our eyes. The Ukrainian capital is not alone in this trend. The future lies in megacities, and villages will soon leave the administrative maps not only of Ukraine but also of other countries. If in 2015 the world average was 46% of the world’s population, then, according to UN forecasts, by 2050 the ratio between rural and urban populations will be 34 to 66 in favor of cities.

Ukrainian baroque, constructivism and classics can be found on the streets and squares of Kyiv. A mixture of architectural styles and trends, monuments of deep history and the history of the revival of the Ukrainian capital in the postwar years, as well as modern architectural forms – all this defines the face of the city today.

In many cities of Europe and the world, the existing approach to architecture has been formed for several centuries. People are accustomed to the fact that architectural elements should not just create a pleasant environment, but also blend harmoniously with each other. Mind told Andriy Moskaltsov, the chief architect of Ecobud, how to “make friends” with history and modernity on the slopes of Kyiv and at the same time make the city comfortable for its residents and tourists.

The Ukrainian capital now adheres to world stylistic trends in architecture, as well as all the cities of the world. Due to the globalization of the design industry in general and architecture in particular, there are some common standards that apply in all countries.

Modern cities know many examples of harmonious combination of ancient and modern architecture within one street. Take the Austrian capital Vienna. There, next to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a world-famous masterpiece of Gothic architecture, is a modern glass building. And it does not spoil the overall look of the area. There is a similar example in Kyiv – on Sophia Square, near St. Sophia Cathedral, there is a Hyatt hotel, the frame of which is made entirely of glass. And it looks quite harmonious next to the buildings of past centuries.

However, the cities of Ukraine have recently, unfortunately, demonstrated a mixture of all styles – the so-called eclecticism, often distaste and chaotic construction. We see parks and squares disappear, and supermarkets and shopping malls appear in their place. We observe how, without taking into account the infrastructure needs of the metropolis, residential complexes are growing. It is a pity that the current architecture of Kyiv differs from the buildings of past centuries by its ill-consideredness. It seems that the new buildings are taken out of context and exist separately from the already formed style of the capital.

Modern architecture must be organic – to be created for people, taking into account all the features of modern human life. To do this, it is necessary not just to build each free area with thousands of square meters of offices and housing, but to think of everything so that there is enough space for kindergartens, schools, parking lots, shops and restaurants and entertainment, etc.

Today’s architects have yet to develop their style. Perhaps it will be associated with organic architecture – when the construction of residential neighborhoods and complexes using mostly natural materials that blend harmoniously into the landscape or urban landscape. As a result, it is possible to create more humanistic and most comfortable forms.

I would like to emphasize the importance of the concept of “systemic reconstruction”. When designing any building in the city, you need to focus on its surroundings, architectural and natural context. After all, with the competent arrangement of a whole complex of houses, the value of each of them increases.

Large settlements of our country, especially their sleeping areas are usually completely covered with buildings from the Soviet era. They are no longer as attractive aesthetically and functionally as the inhabitants of modern cities would like. Gray faceless color scheme, monotonous cubic construction, surrounded by mountains of garbage … The media has repeatedly reported that the state is taking certain steps to restore the houses built 50-60 years ago. Numerous programs are being developed for their reconstruction, but so far, unfortunately, more and more on paper. Although the so-called Khrushchevs are the first contenders for reconstruction as having exhausted their physical resources.

We observe another trend – the development of suburban areas. And we must remember that the ultimate goal of this process is to turn the chaotic building a la Shanghai into a comfortable living space with all the necessary components.

Almost all new housing is already being built under the slogan of increased comfort. But comfort is not just about new materials, high technology and bold design. The main task of modern architecture and construction is to create an organic infrastructure that will take into account all the features of the current life of the citizen. And then Kyiv will become not only one of the greenest, but also the most convenient cities in Europe.