Architecture as Political Statement in the Ukraine


Design Competition for the National Memorial for the Heavenly


Hundred Heroes and Revolution of Dignity Museum in Kiev


Winning design: ©Kleihues + Kleihues Gesellschaft von Architekten


After an extended and rigorous competition process, the winner(s) of the National Memorial for the Heavenly Hundred Heroes and Revolution of Dignity Museum in Kiev have been selected. They are:

1st Prize – Kleihues + Kleihues Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH, Berlin/Germany
2nd Prize – Burø architects, Kiev/Ukraine
3rd Prize – Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture, Paris/France

This was the second competition in the process to determine the designs for both the site and the museum complex itself. The purpose of the project was to honor the victims of the attempted suppression of the protests, which ultimately ended with the deposition of the pro-Russian premier, Viktor Yanukovych.


The competitors in the Museum competition were selected as a result of a RfQ/qualifications process. From the 12 invited participants in stage 1, six teams were shortlisted for stage two. In addition to the above-mentioned winners, they were:
Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra Arquitecto SLP, Seville/Spain (round 3)
Dominique Lyon Architectes Paris, France (round 2)
Coop Himme(l)blau, Vienna/Austria (round 1)


It was understandable that none of the illustrations of the submitted entries indicated any kind of symbolism that one might construe as a revolutionary, symbolic reference to the events surrounding the Maiden revolution. Here we see a process with a primary focus on the visualization, organization, and functionality of a facility that could best serve to illustrate an event of a major historical event for the community. In this sense, it mirrors the non-representational styles from the exterior of numerous Holocaust museums, where only upon entering does one encounter the full force of the subject matter.


If there was any symbolism here, it was somehow reminiscent of Lina Ghotmeh’s recent winning design for the National Estonian Museum. In that case, the architecture of the museum was certainly apolitical, but a former Soviet military airstrip as the site of the Museum was a certain statement that Estonia was determined to no longer be a vassal to its neighbor. In the Ukrainian case, the architecture is also apolitical, but the site is certainly not.


As for the architectural expression of the finalists, the winning design by Kleihues + Kleihues could have been mistaken for Chipperfield—certainly not a bad act to follow. The others also exhibited variations on recent examples of modern museum architecture, as seen in a number of recent competitions. But based on the composition of the jury, there would be no chance for a traditional design on this one.


The competition jury was a good mix of Ukrainian and foreign professionals. The participating architectural jurors were:

• Julian Chaplynskyy, Architect (Lviv, Ukraine) *
Guido Hager, Landscape Architect (Zurich, Switzerland)
Prof. Rainer Mahlamäki, Architect (Helsinki, Finland)
Maciej Miłobędzki, Architect, (Warsaw, Poland)
Prof. Matthias Sauerbruch, Architect (Berlin, Germany)
Olexander Svystunov, Architect (Kiev, Ukraine)
• P
rof. Can Togay, Artist, Filmmaker, Writer (Berlin, Germany) *
• D
mytro Volyk, Architect (Dnipro, Ukraine)

Deputy Architectural Juror
Volodymyr Shevchenko, Architect (Kiev, Ukraine)
*excused, not attending Stage 2


The coordination of the jury was administered by Benjamin Hosbach, Architect and Director [phase eins]. The extensive notes surrounding the discussion of the finalists, and approved by the jury chair, are included with the three prize winners.


1002 (1st prize)
Kleihues + Kleihues Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH, Berlin/Germany
Authors: Prof. Jan Kleihues, Johannes Kressner
Employees/freelance collaborator:
Markus Schlosser, Pia Nürnberger
Visualization: bloomimages Berlin GmbH, Andrea Cogo, Berlin
Structural Design Concept: sbp schlaich bergermann partner, Boris Reyher
Sustainability concept: Transsolar, Mathias Rammig
Model: Monath + Menzel GmbH, Christian Axel Monath, Berlin


Photo:©Andrey Mikhailov



Jury Comments

This project is a simple, spiritual and characteristic piece of architecture, well integrated into its urban context, with a high degree of functionality. It is continuing the legacy of European Classical architecture in an interesting and modern way while responding to the complex and partially contradictory requirements of the site and the whole context. The solution offers a simple and graceful image that can be easily understood to be a museum that is also a memorial. The memories of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes and the respect for the sorrow of those who lost their loved ones create an impressive alliance in a proposal that contains a capacity to rekindle the architectural traditions of both Europe and the Ukraine.

One of the most prominent concepts of this entry is the idea of the external ramp. The route from the Maidan square continues onto the top of the museum providing views to city and thus makes it a convincing climax of this pedestrian route. In this context, the jury recommends to review the exact position of the beginning of the ramp as it is not easy to see for those coming up the hill. However, from the metro station both entries -via ramp and via main entrance on the ground are very well visible. As the authors have described in their conceptual diagrams, the ramp and the roof level also create platforms for some museum activities. The jury notes that the year-round usability of this ramp must be guaranteed. The jury also thinks that both, museum- and the design teams should be prepared for the eventual spontaneous use of the façade niches along the way for some type of remembrance. After all, they are a reinterpretation of the current temporary memorials in the niches along the Alley of the Heavenly Hundred.

The jury appreciates the idea of the internal museum tour starting at the top. The exhibition concept provides the required flexible museum space while putting forward the potential for an interesting spatial experience. The jury acknowledges the effort made to integrate the “Yolka” into the exhibition but would like to encourage the designers – together with the client and potential exhibition consultants – also to review the use of the whole element as a central feature, as its scale is obviously dominating the basic composition of the museum interior and is blocking a very attractive atrium space that could be used in many ways. This would have the potential to turn the interior, now still a little reminiscent of a mausoleum, into a more playful, flexible landscape of spaces. The connection to the “House of Freedom” and the placement of ancillary functions are resolved very well.

The jury recommends this project to be executed as it believes that it provides a well worked-out design that meets all know requirements and is robust enough to respond to the inevitable changes that will be needed for the final optimization of the museum concept in dialogue between clients, architects and exhibition designers.

Ultimately this proposal provides an elegant architectural image that integrates well into the historic context of the Maidan. The European traditions of Classical Architecture are being reinterpreted into a new language that will let this building stand out as one of the most characteristic museums of our time, leading the new institution of the “Museum of Freedom” into a future that will be highly relevant in the international cultural (and political) discourse.






1003 (2nd prize)

Burø architects, Kiev/Ukraine

Authors: Anton Oliinyk, Oleksii Pakhomov

Employees/freelance collaborators:

Mihail Churilov, Anna Viken, Olha Valkova, Yaroslava Dubova, Anna Potanina, Volodymyr

Vustianskyi, Anton Gerasymovych, Nataliia Shulga, Denis Matvienko, Dmytro Gurin, Oleksandr

Abrosimov, Oleksandr Sidnev, Iegor Shtefan, Sergiy Ferley, Maria Pakhomova, Dmytro

Makahon, Viktor Fomin

Consultants/experts: Luxon, Igor Pogrebnyak

Ecothermoengineering: Olexandr Kryvulin, Marius Filip





First Stage model Photo©Hans-Joachim Wuthenow

Second Stage model Photo©Andrey Mikhailov


Jury Comments

The Authors reacted well to the jury’s remarks from the first stage of the competition and made authentic efforts to improve on the symbolic nature of their proposal. The new scheme presents a strong composition consisting of seven stacks of monumental “stones” that are shifted in relation to each other in order to create dramatic interstitial spaces. These are volumes either literally clad in pavement stones or consist of glass façades with semitransparent stone screens set in steel. This choice of material takes its lead from the first spontaneous monuments built just after the Maidan Revolution.

The highest block is situated in the North-West corner of the site and serves as a monumental tower that closes the perspective at the end of the paths of the newly designed Maidan Monument and provides views from the upper floor towards Maidan and Khreshchatyk. The effect is strengthened by lifting the stone tower onto a glazed ground floor. The entrance foyer is designed in two levels that are connected with wide stairs serving as an impromptu auditorium accompanied by an internal garden. While the jury appreciates this idea, it is also concerned about the image of an atrium garden that can be found as a leisure component in any other public or commercial building. There are also issues of maintenance.

The jury appreciates the symbolic monumental character of the sculptural concept of the stone-blocks with narrow gaps providing natural light into the circulation zones but is critical about the internal connections between the different parts of the program. Particularly the location of the lifts and stairs is not legible for the visitors. The choice of structural system seems to double up (columns and walls) and would need optimization. The proposal seems to be energy-efficient using the thermal mass of slabs and walls to heat and cool the building. Overall, the jury appreciates the creative autonomy of the projects and has its doubts an “architecture parlante” where symbol becomes architecture.







1001 (3rd Prize)

Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture, Paris/France

Author: Lina Ghotmeh

Employees/freelance collaborators:

Alessandro Colli, Filippo Abrami, Marco Morra, Helena Haas-Rojas, Anna Tordera, Najate



Environmental design: Franck Boutté Consultants, Franck Boutté, Paris

Structural design:Bollinger & Grohmann, Klaas de Rycke, Paris

Renderings: Artefactory, Eric Anton, Paris

Model: Ateliermisto, Miza Mucciarelli, Paris

Cost estimation: MB&Co, Michel Bertrand, Paris





First Stage model Photo©Hans-Joachim Wuthenow

Second Stage model Photo©Andrey Mikhailov


Jury Comments

The jury appreciates the idea of a museum that looks and works like a mountain. The design invites the visitor onto a spiraling rooftop path to the very top of the building thus offering a natural continuation to the Alley of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes in a simple and positive way. The roof terraces allow the visitors to literally take possession of the building and allow for interaction between visitors and neighbours before and after the museum visit. They also provide space for outdoor installations in addition to or as part of the museum exhibitions.

Even though the scale and the routing developed from the Avenue of Heavenly Hundred seems appropriate, the jury doesn’t believe the integration of the building into its context is not completely convincing. Further, the idea of a roof park is doubtful as the extensive planting of these areas (that is shown on the renderings) will probably reach technical limits very quickly. There was also a passionate discussion about the appropriateness of a café on the top floor of a memorial museum. It was felt that some aspects of this design have an aura of entertainment and seem to miss the necessary respect for the fallen heroes. Thus, also the perforated metal screens symbolizing bullet holes were considered Kitsch and definitely not acceptable.

The grand gesture of the spiral (which doesn’t lead to the interior) overshadows the main entrance and hence complicates orientation for visitors both from Maidan and the Metro Station. The entrance hall is not very inviting with the low ceiling and the views oriented to the interior of the block. Similarly, internal circulation is not easy, particularly for groups and handicapped visitors. There is a big variety of exhibition spaces in size and height but the language of these spaces is unsuitably reminiscent of an art gallery. There are also too many spaces below entrance level. However, the House of Freedom is well integrated into the complex.

The jury appreciates the serious work that was undertaken between stages 1 and 2 to optimize the idea of a participatory museum building. However, ultimately, it also feels that this concept has led to a project which lacks iconic character and won’t be able to present a strong image when seen from afar. Overall, the jury judges this proposal as a bold and consistent concept of outstanding quality but is ultimately not convinced about its presence in the city.




1006 (Jury Round 3)

Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra Arquitecto SLP, Seville/Spain

Author: Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra

Employees/freelance collaborators:

Pietro Colonna, Ignacio Frade, Marta Ciabattini, Pietro Paolo Cristini, Tiziano Torchia,

Riccardo Catalano, Adrian Labaut, Eleonora Lohno, Francesco Pisano, Andrea Cappelli


CDM engineering Ukraine, Daniel Aspleaf, Aleksey Pavlov

Structural engineers: Development Remark SL, Madrid, Jesus Jimenez Cañas, Fran Unzueta, José Antonio Bermejo




Second Stage model Photo©Andrey Mikhailov







1004 (Jury Round 2)

Dominique Lyon Architectes Paris, France

Author: Dominique Lyon

Employees and freelance collaborators:

Alisa Kovalenko, Quentin Dejonghe, Florian Hoanen, Sophia Amrouche, Svetla Grigorova


Structural engineers and façade engineers: Bollinger & Grohmann, Klaas de Rycke, Paris

Technical consultant for energy efficiency and comfort: Transsolar, Geoffrey Matricon

Museum consultant: Renaud Piérard studio, Cotignac, Renaud Piérard




Second Stage model Photo©Andrey Mikhailov




1005 (Jury Round 1)

Coop Himme(l)blau, Vienna/Austria

Author: Wolf D. Prix

Employees/freelance collaborators:

Markus Prossnigg, Karolin Schmidbauer, Alexander Ott, Denitsa Parleva, Irem Coskun, Shir

Katz, Johanna Lederer, Constantine Papachristopoulos, Jan Rancke, Nam La Chi


Bollinger und Grohmann ZT GmbH, Vienna, Arne Hofmann, Matthew Tam

Energy Design Cody Consulting GmbH, Graz, Brian Cody




Second Stage model Photo©Andrey Mikhailov