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Ukrainian Cities – Releasing the virtuality captured in the Real

Tutor: Martine De Maeseneer
2023-24, sem.3

Ukrainian Cities – Releasing the virtuality captured in the Real

A Performative Architecture studio by Martine De Maeseneer


“Architecture remains one of the rare expressions in everyday life that provides a continuous experience of those other worlds and their distinct forms of organization and value, and simultaneously lays claim on a future that architecture’s particular techniques of projection allow. Architecture is a plastic practice, exactly positioned to enact alternatives: to produce holes in the world, stage breakouts, and release the virtuality captured in the real. The world “as it is” never constitutes a sufficient condition for architecture. And if you propose to “do” architecture – whether producing it, exhibiting it, or writing about it – that should not go without saying.“

from “Easier Done Than Said” by The Cameo, in Flat Out, fall 2016

Urban Innovative Strategies

Ukrainian cities are facing enormous challenges in the recreation of a European future. This calls for innovative approaches.

Therefore, the Performative Architecture studio has the ambition to test new approaches to the challenges faced by cities, through the creation of new city strategies with a focus on new typologies for homes and workspaces. The aim is to generate knowledge of what works and what does not, and why so, what should be done differently.

The need for innovation never disappears and therefore there should be space in which cities throughout Europe (by extension Ukraine), feel free to experiment with potential solutions to the challenges that cities will face in the future. It is important to see how these potential solutions work in practice – and the way to start this is through the production of innovative ideas to test how they respond to the complexity of real life. Therefore the Performative Studio results should primarily be seen as a source of new intelligence, with the ambition to introduce them to the authorities of the different cities studied.

Ukrainian Cities should seize this opportunity to prepare fascinating projects! Ukrainian cities should not waste this new and unique opportunity by submitting just ‘normal’ projects solving practicum issues only. They should be creative, be ambitious and seek to impress their fellow cities in Europe.

The war in the Ukraine immediately evokes questions on the rebuilding of its cities and villages. In the various phases from war to peace, there are pitfalls that should be detected and stumbling blocks to avoid. But there are also possibilities to act and really make a difference. When acting informed and with care a contribution can be made to rebuild a more resilient community and environment then there even was before.

In order to make those plans and proposals politicians, architects and urbanists are in need of good examples from other countries, of regulatory tools, of data collection tools, of simple do’s and don’ts.

But this time there is no need to pioneer on tabula rasa or to push to another frontier. Now we can start with existing qualities, identifying them, highlighting them, dramatizing them and, by doing so, begin a new practice of social and urban renewal, towards new futures.

A future that perhaps makes Ukraine again into a place that gives people a reason to life, stay and grow old in their country.

A variety of cases studies of prototypical community environments & mixed public buildings (integrated in their specific surrounding neighbourhood and context at large) and theoretical essays, chosen by the respective partners  guarantee a critical and open discussion of the general theme and the produced outcomes, which will eventually lead to the design of a new sort of living environments by means of a mixed public building within different cities in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian cities to study will be : Rivne, Zaporizhia, Mariupol, Kyiv metropole, Mykoaev, Kryvvy Rih, Dnipro, Bucha, Kherson, Odessa, Kharkiv

The studio is a close collaboration with www.ro3kvit.com Urban Coalition for Ukraine