Brighton professor teams up with Ukrainian architects facing challenges of war

University of Brighton’s Robert Mull has organised an event with a key Ukraine architecture school to support their future amid the carnage of war with Russia.

The online live webinar hosted by Architecture Today is taking place this Thursday 21 April and will spotlight the efforts of the Kharkiv School of Architecture to carry on its work within Ukraine, as well as looking ahead to what complex challenges will be faced in rebuilding the country once war with Russia finally ends.

Appearing alongside Robert Mull will be Oleg Drozdov (founder of the architectural bureau Drozdov & Partners and co-founder of the Kharkiv School of Architecture), Iryna Matsevko (Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Kharkiv School), and current student Elionora Lushchyk, who will share her first-hand experience of studying in a time of war.

As well as providing a chance to hear about the determination of the Kharkiv School of Architecture to carry on its work – including a temporary relocation to Lviv in the west of Ukraine – the event will issue a call for support from the international architectural community and others. Registration for the event is free.

Speaking to Architecture Today, Professor Mull – Professor of Architecture and Design at the University of Brighton – said: “One of the things that is so important is that students who have left the country are now coming back. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding in terms of the best way to give support. The important thing is to find ways of supporting the school in its new location. It’s more urgent now than at any point in the school’s history to support it in Ukraine and not to draw away its energy, its power, its history and its DNA…. Reconstruction of Ukrainian cities [can] be a local exemplar for global change.”

Oleg Drozdov said: “Some of our teachers are unable to continue with their work. So we need help with teaching. And we need financial support. Ukraine still has the capacity to produce things we need – 3D printers, furniture, materials, projectors, computers, tools – but we need money to be able to buy them. We have been given space for free but we need money to pay for things like electricity and cleaning. And we need money for students.”

Professor Mull’s collaboration with architects in Ukraine is just one example of his groundbreaking international work. This includes a current project working with architecture students, Syrian refugees and low-income Turkish residents to create a new community space in the Turkish city of Izmir, while this summer he will be leading a rebuilding and reconciliation project in an area of Bosnia still bearing marks of destruction from that country’s 1990s civil war.



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