Maiden Memorial Competition

Winning entry by MIstudio



The demonstrations in Kiev in 2013-14, which led to the fall of the Russian-friendly Yanukovych regime, cannot be completely understood without knowledge of the history of the the Ukraine, its people and culture. Let it suffice to say that the Ukranians, who speak their own Slavic language, have gravitated toward western Europe, especially culturally, ever since the middle ages.


As Europe’s breadbasket in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Ukraine’s troubled relationship as a region within the Soviet Union after 1918 was exacerbated by the Stalin purges and grain export controls leading to the deadly famine of the 1930s (See our coverage of the Holomodor Memorial competition in Washington, DC. commemorating the deaths of millions in the Ukraine during this period:


Maiden Square


After WWII, Soviet party official Nikita Khrushchev encouraged the expansion of the eastern borders of the Ukraine into Russian speaking areas, even including the Crimea, and further diluting the administrative influence of Ukrainian identity and language throughout the region. This demarcation continued with what became the Russian Federation after the disolution of the Soviet Union in 1989, with the eastern, Russian-speaking part of the Ukraine and the Crimea remaining as part of a new, independent Ukraine.


Thus, when the Ukraine began negotiations with the EU in 2012 to integrate its economy with the west, the head of the Ukrainian government from the Russian-speaking eastern part of the country, President Yanukovych, attempted to torpedo the negotiations by signing a separate trade agreement with the Russians. Pulling back from a former guarantee to become part of the EU economy inflamed tensions, leading to demonstrations in the capital of Kiev, a crackdown by the authorities, and the ultimate deaths of at least 60 demonstrators. With the removal of the pro-Putin regime, a new, western-oriented government took control, and tensions have escalated vis-à-vis the Russian Federation. Against this background it was decided to establish a memorial, honoring those victims at the main site of the protests on Maiden (Independence) Square.


It was only logical that a competition should be the focus of a selection process for the design of the site. For this, Ukrainian authorities turned to the Berlin consulting firm of [phase eins], with its wide-ranging international experience, to administer the competition.


The stated aims of the competition were:


• To work-out the project proposal for the memorial of Heavenly Hundred Heroes

• To work-out the project proposal for the building of Museum of Revolution of Dignity that has to include the museum and culture-educational functions

• To work-out the public space as a part of memorial-museum complex



Jury panel:

Architect Jurors

Julian Chaplynskyy
Chief Architect Lviv (Lviv, Ukraine)

Guido Hager
Landscape Architect, Hager Partner (Zurich, Switzerland)

Prof. Rainer Mahlamäki
Architect, Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Oy (Helsinki, Finland)

Maciej Miłobędzki
Architect, JEMS Architekci (Warsaw, Poland)

Prof. Matthias Sauerbruch
Architect, Sauerbruch Hutton Architekten (Berlin, Germany)

Olexander Svystunov
Chief Architect Kiev (Kiev, Ukraine)

Prof. Can Togay
Artist, Filmmaker, Writer (Berlin, Germany)

Dmytro Volyk
Chief Architect Dnipro (Dnipro, Ukraine)


General Jurors

Eugen Nyschuk
Minister of Culture of Ukraine (Kiev, Ukraine)

Volodymyr Bondarchuk
Chief of the NGO “Families of Heavenly Hundred Heroes” (Kiev, Ukraine)

Ihor Poshyvailo
CEO of the state organization “National memorial complex of Heavenly Hundred Heroes –

Myroslav Marynovych
Human rights activist, publicist, vice-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv, Ukraine) Museum of Revolution of Dignity” (Kiev, Ukraine)

Elaine Heumann Gurian
Museum consultant (Arlington, USA)



With the extraordinary detailed jury comments about the three competition finalists and their ranking (below), there was little reason for us, as editors, to comment on the ultimate selection criteria, which led to the choice of the ultimate winner. But it should come as no surprise that several of the finalists included typical generic solutions, with a wall being the most prominent design element among those.



1st Prize

MIstudio, Lviv/Ukraine; Rotterdam/The Netherlands

Authors: Iryna Volynets, Mariya Protsyk

Images © MIstudio


Jury Comments


The jury praised the project for its simple, yet inspired and poetic reflection of the dramatic events. The park strikes a positive, conciliatory note and represents an intervention of human scale. It successfully offers spaces for contemplation that will remain strong and proud – also for future generations. The authors show a great degree of sensitivity in their choice of symbols and their respectful attitude towards the existing (chapel) and the plausible interpretation of the Heroes as their leading theme for the project. The jury welcomes the division of the site into two areas: Firstly an area of transition (close to the Maidan), a place of memory and mourning which will carry the names of the fallen Heroes. Secondly, a path through the park that carries a momentum of beauty and lightness. The use of the trees as a symbol was appreciated for its simple and positive meaning. The selection of the species (lime trees) is appreciated, where at the final selection should consider the color of blossom. However, the limitation of the numbers to the exact number of the Heroes was discussed controversially and should be reconsidered if the project is carried on. Further elaborations on the design of the park, not necessarily requiring the strict format of tree-lined pathways are recommended. The overall integration of the project into an urban park landscape with soft edges is appreciated. Nevertheless, the feasibility of the implementation of areas beyond the limits of the competition site must be studied; this also applies to the feasibility of the growth of trees on top or rather next to the existing utilities in the ground. A way of integrating markers for the actual sites of deaths should be researched. The jury also finds it imperative to make sure that the steles representing the individual Heroes are equal in size and position. The niche of stelae may also offer opportunities for other forms of interaction (flowers, candles, portraits etc.) – avoiding a placement on the floor. Further elaboration on the design of the stelae space may give this area a gently stronger presence in space. The authors are expected to enter into a close dialogue with the representatives of the Heroes’ families for further adaptations of their concept as needed and jointly seen necessary and appropriate to the concept. |





2nd Prize

blauraum Architekten GmbH, Hamburg/Germany

Authors: Prof. Rüdiger Ebel, Volker Halbach, Carsten Venus

Employees and student collaborators

Jannes Wurps, Michelle Menck Garrido, Mohammad Malouf


Images © blauraum Architekten


Jury Comments

This project was appreciated by the jury because it offers not so much a building than an experience to the future visitors of the Memorial to the Heavenly Hundred Heroes. It proposes a setup that generates a sequence of spatial moments speaking of the movement from darkness to light, about the feeling of desperation and courage, about the hard ascent to a higher aim. At the same time the project offers spaces that invite the visitor to engage through small rituals, such as the sacrifice of flowers. These spaces will also hold information about the events on the Maidan and the fate of the Heavenly Hundred in writing and image – what was appreciated by the jury. The project was particularly commended because it also solves the implicit technical and organizational problems well and it puts forward interesting ideas about material and surface. However, on the critical side, the jury also felt that the height of the structure might be obstructing the view from the Maidan towards the museum. There was concern about the spatial impact of such a tall linear structure (destroying the space of the Alley of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes) and it also clearly clashes with the planned envelope of the museum. The proposal of a temporary garden creating a poetic end to the dramatic scenario of the path is therefore redundant. Finally, there were ambivalent feelings about the symbology of the proposal particularly for future generations as the designed experience seems to be focusing on rather negative issues (even though they might have been overcome). In the case that this shortlisted proposal should win the majority of the jury’s votes, there are the following binding recommendations for its execution: – Find a way to improve security and to avoid misuse in this public structure – without having to resort to methods that would be counterproductive to the memorials message – Develop a low maintenance concept for the spaces while maintaining its core ideas – Develop a weather strategy (Rainwater, Snow, Ice), weathering of materials. – Review the height of the structure in terms of spatial effect inside and environmental impact outside – Reposition the project so that the museums’ site is not affected – Review the dimension of the spaces in terms of their effect on the individual and in terms of their capacity to deal with groups of larger numbers – The integration of portraits require sensibility in the choice of materials and surface. |



3rd Prize

Atelier . Schmelzer . Weber, Dresden/Germany with Prof. Andreas Theurer, Mittenwalde/Germany

Authors: Peter Weber, Paul Schmelzer, Prof. Andreas Theurer


Images © Atelier . Schmelzer . Weber


Jury Comments

The proposal is based on a wall, which is common feature used in similar situations (the Kotel, or the Vietnam Veteran Memorial in Washington DC). The jury appreciates this proposal as it does not take away the attention from the power of a museum that is to be built later. The form of the wall is monotonous – it could have been designed in a smoother way and not rising suddenly from the ground. The wall is occasionally high and the height changes randomly. The front wall, by the Alley, contains niches, which could contain various documents from the Maidan. However, the backside of the wall can also be seen from certain directions. This should have been better observed. The pocket between the ground and the wall (the backside) is likely to make a large “trash bin”. The option for the integration of some of the current spontaneous memorial is welcomed – however, the niches in the wall are seen to be too monotonous and too monofunctional. There are some interesting ideas of illumination, whereas the principle of the general illumination shown in the images seems still quite unsubtle. Some concerns are being expressed about the negative aspects of a wall (e.g. Berlin wall) and the divisive symbolism that might be misunderstood by the visitors. Further, the lack of a clear space for gatherings is a weakness in the concept. Besides the wall the entry has another significant proposal for a Memorial: on the ground: there is a series of human “shadows” on the pavement (projected from the North, i.e. not from the sun). This is a sensitive idea to mark the sites of the Heroes death, and it makes this entry more worthy, in a silent and poetic way. The Memorial does not shout out its excellence, but takes its place delicately. However, the execution of the shadows is rather dull – there have also been doubts about the scenario of people walking and driving on the shadows. Rather than creating the shadow only by changing the stone quality, they should be marked with a more special material. Should this concept gain the majority of the jury’s votes, a revisal of the critical points above is needed. The authors need to develop a strategy for the space “behind the wall” and to review the wall’s height in the light of its impact on the space of the Alley of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes. The materiality and the lighting of the proposal needs to be refined and the proposal generally needs to be developed in dialogue with the representatives of the Fallen Heroes in order to adapt to the various upcoming needs. |