From 1917 to 1991 in the former Russian Empire, and from 1945 to 1989 in the countries it dominated after the war, there was no real private ownership. No landowners, no developers, no “placemakers” - in half of Europe. Did this mean public space was done differently, and are attitudes to it different in those countries? [...] observed more closely, public space here is every bit as complex as it is elsewhere in Europe. — theguardian.com
This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On April 26, 1986, technicians conducting a test inadvertently caused reactor number four to explode...
Reuters reports that a huge recently-completed enclosure called the New Safe Confinement—the world's largest land-based moving structure—will be “pulled slowly over the site later this year to create a steel-clad casement to block radiation and allow the remains of the reactor to be dismantled safely.” — The Atlantic
The largest remaining statue of Lenin in Ukraine was removed from its pedestal in Zaporizhia last week, the latest victim of the Ukrainian ban on Soviet symbols. But how do you go about “de-communising” an almost entirely Stalinist city? — calvertjournal.com
It’s a reminder that decommunisation is a project which might actually be physically impossible to execute in full, which hopefully begs the question — if Soviet Ukraine can't be wished away, what should be conserved, and what should be rejected? [...]
The nationalist purging of any traces of socialism from the landscape is a fool’s errand at best, gross historical revisionism at worst. — calvertjournal.com
Wood fell out of fashion as a building material in the Soviet Union in favour of concrete. Now, architects across the new east are returning to wood for its many qualities including cost-effectiveness and sustainability. [...]
“Urban wooden architecture is something completely different. It is for the people, without any kind of pretensions for the long-term. It has no direct economic benefit, but it promotes unity and healthy communication.” — calvertjournal.com
Culture officials in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine have ordered museums to put their most valuable pieces into storage, and some institutions have closed to the public, as fighting continues between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces.
Ukraine’s culture ministry has also asked that the media refrain from “emphasising objects of cultural heritage” to avoid their being targeted [...]. — theartnewspaper.com
A senior U.N. official warned the Security Council at an emergency meeting Tuesday that the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine is steadily worsening as power and water supplies are scarce, homes are destroyed and health workers flee. John Ging, director of U.N. humanitarian operations, said that violence, especially in urban areas, will put more people at risk and lead to "an increase in the numbers killed" if a political solution can't be reached. — ABC News
Ukraine's largest architectural event CANactions held its 2014 ideas competition, whose theme was "User-generated Kyiv". Based on reinforcing the valuable idea that a city is shaped by its citizens, the competition sought architectural ideas to help Kiev further develop towards the ideals of creativity, peace, justice, and of course, happiness. — bustler.net
After Viktor Yanukovych fled, many Ukrainians were astounded by their former leader's opulent residence. So far images have only been shown of a few rooms. A SPIEGEL ONLINE special with 360-degree panorama photos now offers a walkthrough of the spectacular villa. — spiegel.de
"I saw churches from the many different denominations that shaped this city’s skyline: a squat Armenian cathedral from the 14th century with a jumble of intersecting roofs; a huge 17th-century Baroque church built by the Jesuits and modeled on the Church of the Gesù in Rome; Ukrainian Orthodox three-dome churches" — NYT
The language was impossible to understand, but the building itself communicated in a clear vernacular: thick columns, coarsely hewn and partly painted white, were topped with gold-haloed icons and lovely scarves that must have been embroidered by hand. The ceiling in the back was only an arm’s breadth above my head... — The New York Times
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