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
Consultants/experts:
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

 

 

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Interview: James Mary O’Connor FAIA (Winter 2017)

After receiving his Diploma in Architecture from the Dublin Institute of Technology and BS in Architecture from Trinity College in Dublin, James received his Masters in Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles while a Fulbright Scholar in the U.S. Shortly after his time as a student in Charles Moore’s Master Class at UCLA, he joined the Moore firm in Los Angeles, now Moore Ruble Yudell. Beginning in the late 1980s, he was involved in the firm’s many projects in Germany, many of which dealt with masterplanning and the construction of large housing, primarily in Berlin. Subsequently, he was involved in the Potatisåkern Master Plan & Housing, as well as the Bo01 Housing Exhibition, both in Malmö, Sweden.
James was MRY’s point person in its subsequent involvement with the firm’s many projects in the People’s Republic of China, beginning with their winning competition proposal for the Century Center project in Beijing. Although unbuilt, it didn’t escape the notice of the Chinese, who invited the firm to participate in a competition for the Tianjin Xin-He large neighborhood masterplan—which they won. This was followed by the 2004 Chun Sen Bi An Housing Masterplan competition in the city of Chongqing, located in central China—completed in 2010. This high profile project resulted in a number of affordable and high-end housing projects throughout China. The firm’s most remarkable sustainability project was the COFCO Agricultural Eco-Valley Master Plan project outside Beijing, envisioned to become the first net zero-carbon project of its kind in the world.
In the meantime, the firm’s focus in China has evolved from its concentration on housing to institutional projects, such as the Shanghai University of Technology‘s research buildings. In the meantime MRY has been noted as a leader in the design of campus projects in the U.S. and abroad, as well as numerous government projects—courthouses and embassies.

 

 

Interview: Ralph Johnson of Perkins+Will (Fall 1995)

shanghai-museum-c
COMPETITIONS: you have been in both open and invited compe-titions—both as a juror and as a participant. Which type do you prefer and why?

 

RALPH JOHNSON: I think both are viable. For a young architect, open competitions are great, because they are not going to get invited. It’s a way for young architects to break into a bigger scope of work. It’s an oppor-tunity for someone who doesn’t have the experience in that particular building type to get into a new area.
Shanghai Natural History Museum Photos: courtesy Perkins and Will

 

An invited competition usually involves some kind of portfolio or resume of the firm’s work, and you usually get selected on experience in that particular building type. In the latter case, you are probably dealing with fairly extensive presentation requirements and a big outlay of money. It often also involves a couple of stages. If the compensation is adequate, which is usually six figures—$100,000-$200,000—it’s great. Most of the time, it’s inadequate. For the recent (Beirut Conference Center) competition, we did in Lebanon, it was $200,000, and that was enough to cover (our) costs. So there are benefits for both types of competitions.

 

COMPETITIONS: And as a panelist?

 

RJ: It’s much more difficult to jury the open ones because it takes longer. I was on the Astronaut Memorial jury, and there were over 600 entries. You normally don’t interview the architect; it’s single-stage. It’s more a process of winnowing out inadequate submissions—which is easy to do—and getting down to the ten percent after the first cut. In the case of an invited competition, you have five to ten submissions from very qualified firms. I think it’s good if you can actually interview firms and have a question and answer period. In an open competition, it’s almost inevitable that you wonder who is actually doing the project, how qualified the architect is. It’s hard to keep that out of your mind.

 

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shanghai-museum-f shanghai-museum-d
shanghai-museum-e shanghai-museum-h
Shanghai Natural History Museum Photos: courtesy Perkins and Will

 

COMPETITIONS: In other words, the presentation isn’t necessarily an indication of the qualifications of the designer?

 

RJ: I wasn’t on the jury in the case of the Vietnam Memorial, which was a famous competition. There were very sketchy charcoal drawings (by Maya Lin), which really didn’t indicate anything other than conceptual design capabilities. How could you possibly come to any conclusion of technical competence based on those drawings? You really have to read into it and assume a lot in terms of the person. In that case, of course, it was a great success as a non-complex building type. As a laboratory or something else, it’s a different story.

 

COMPETITIONS: There are a number of anecdotes concerning jurors speculating about the author behind a competition entry—the one in Paris resulting in the Grand Arch is an example. Richard Rogers, a competition juror, supposedly remarked to another juror, Richard Meier, that the author of what eventually turned out to be the winning design, “might be a nobody.” Meier reminded Rogers that, before Pompidou, he was a “nobody.”

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