Kharkiv City rebuilding competition, Ukraine Design Renewal, Architecture rehabilitation news

Kharkiv City rebuilding news

9 May 2024

Kharkiv Housing Challenge

The Norman Foster Foundation along with the Kharkiv City Council, UNECE, Arup and the Kharkivproject Institute are launching an international competition to improve housing and residential neighbourhoods in the city.

Kharkiv City rebuilding competition by Norman Foster Foundation
photograph © Norman Foster Foundation

Kharkiv Housing Challenge International Competition

Madrid, 9th of May 2024 – As part of the new concept masterplan being developed for the city of Kharkiv, the Norman Foster Foundation along with the Kharkiv City Council, UNECE, Arup and the Kharkivproject Institute are launching an international competition to improve housing and residential neighbourhoods in the city.

Located right at the border with Russia, Kharkiv stands as Ukraine’s second-largest city and has been significantly impacted by the ongoing conflict. This historically relevant and industrial city now faces the pressing challenge of rebuilding its damaged urban fabric, with a particular focus on residential buildings and public spaces, to not only repair but to also to improve the living conditions of its residents. This competition is part of the larger Kharkiv concept Masterplan project.

The competition will focus on Saltivka, the most-populated district in Kharkiv, and more precisely in North Saltivka, the most heavily damaged area after 24 February 2022. Given the similarity of residential areas across Kharkiv, the greater ambition of this project is to extrapolate the winning designs to other residential areas throughout the city.

Kharkiv City rebuilding competition Norman Foster Foundation 2024
photo © Norman Foster Foundation

This competition seeks solutions that bridge the gap between innovative design and practical application. The task is to develop a modular system capable of retrofitting existing concrete panel housing blocks and enhancing public spaces, focusing on creating safe, energy-efficient, and vibrant neighbourhoods. Modular facade and roof components, bomb shelters, and integrating additional uses in ground floors should be considered as part of the intervention. The system should also provide solutions to re-erect severely damaged buildings with a renewed, yet locally rooted, architectural identity.

Participants have the opportunity to see their ideas come to life, making a tangible difference in Kharkiv’s recovery and long-term resilience. After the announcement of the winners, selected proposals will be further developed into detail designs for construction. Winning teams will collaborate with locals in this stage under a funded scheme. Given the modular nature of concrete panel housing blocks, building designs were replicated across Kharkiv.

Consequently, winning proposals for the selected competition site will be potentially applicable to other residential areas in the city. This is not just a call for creativity but a unique opportunity to positively impact the future of Kharkiv.

The competition is open to everyone, and all communication, including presentations, must be conducted in English.

The deadline to participate in the competition is 12 September 2024.

For more detailed information, please visit

Norman Foster Foundation

The Norman Foster Foundation promotes interdisciplinary thinking and research to help new generations anticipate the future. The first mission of the Norman Foster Foundation is to make visible the centrality of architecture, infrastructure and urbanism for the betterment of society. To this end, the second mission is to encourage new thinking and research across traditional boundaries in order to help younger generations anticipate the challenges of future change.

In particular, the Foundation speaks to those professionals who are concerned with the environment— architects, engineers, designers, urbanists, civic leaders, planners and artists. This is at the heart of the Foundation’s holistic approach to design and is ever more relevant as populations shift to cities. With the implications of climate change, robotics and artificial intelligence, sustainable design is not about fashion but about survival.
The Norman Foster Foundation operates globally from the United Kingdom, the United States and Spain with its headquarters based in Madrid.

20 April 2022

Meeting between Mayor Ihor Terekhov and Lord Foster

Kharkiv City Rebuilding Meeting

Following discussions which began at the 2nd UN Forum of Mayors in Geneva, Mayor Ihor Terekhov worked with the UNECE Secretariat in Geneva to convene a meeting with Lord Foster which took place at 16:00 EEST on 18th April 2022, to discuss the future rebuilding of the City of Kharkiv.

Mayor Terekhov was joined by Igor Abramovych, People’s Deputy of Ukraine of the 9th Convocation, and Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Taxation and Customs Policy; and by Olga Demyanenko, Director of the Department for Relations with International Agencies and Financial Institutions.

Lord Foster had invited Professor Ian Goldin of Oxford University and Professor Ed Glaeser of Harvard University; along with the Co-Heads of the Design, Architecture and Technology Unit of the Norman Foster Foundation, Diego Lopez and Alberto Cendoya.

Lord Norman Foster and Francis Aish at ETH Zurich:
Lord Norman Foster and Francis Aish talk at ETH Zurich

The Mayor set out his vision for the rehabilitation of the city, its buildings and its infrastructure, much of which – including housing, hospitals, schools, cultural institutions and historic buildings – had been completely destroyed. His vision seeks to embrace the city’s recent heritage of investment in technology and healthcare through the creation of, what he described as, new high-tech architecture, as well as the repair and preservation of the buildings and public spaces that form the fabric of the city’s rich cultural history.

In advance of the meeting, Lord Foster had prepared the draft of a manifesto for the reconstruction of Kharkiv (please see below) which he shared with the meeting. He reiterated his commitment to bring together, through The Norman Foster Foundation, a team of world leading experts that could begin the process immediately. The first step in this would be a masterplan which would capture the Mayor’s vision and would provide the framework for the creation of Kharkiv as a city of the future. This masterplan would lead the city scale project which would, through the Foundation, engage the skills of individuals and companies, both Ukrainian and from around the world, to ensure its successful delivery.

Kharkov ca. 1980-1981:
Kharkiv City rebuilding
photography : Leonid Dzhepko, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Kharkiv Manifesto

I undertake to assemble the best minds with the best planning, architectural, design, and engineering skills in the world to bear on the rebirth of the city of Kharkiv. In the spirit of combining a planetary awareness with local action, I would seek to bring together the top Ukrainian talents with worldwide expertise and advice.

The first step would be a city masterplan linked to the region, with the ambition to combine the most loved and revered heritage from the past with the most desirable and greenest elements of infrastructure and buildings – in other words to deliver the city of the future now and to plan for its life decades ahead.

At the height of the pandemic, London updated a masterplan, the roots of which was a plan commissioned in the darkest days of World War II. A masterplan is an act of confidence in the future for generations still to come.

Lord Foster of Thames Bank OM
Norman Foster Foundation
18th April 2022

The Norman Foster Foundation, Monte Esquinza 48, Madrid, NC 28010, Spain, Europe

Kharkiv City rebuilding: Norman Foster Foundation images / information received 200422 from The Norman Foster Foundation

Location: Kharkiv, Slobozhanshchyna region, northeast Ukraine

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Norman Foster
Norman Foster is one of the most important architects practicing in the world. He is chairman and founder of Foster + Partners, an international practice with project offices worldwide.

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