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New vision for sleeping blocks


Each 3rd person in Kharkiv (Ukraine) lives in Mikrorayon, or “sleeping block”, a heritage from the 1950-60s as a result of the Khrushov’s statement “Apartment for each family”. This statement was followed up by a clear proposal in order to achieve the targeted goal: 

“We must select a limited number of standart designs of houses, schools, hospitals, buildings, kindergardens, nurseries, shops and other buildings and structures, and produce these projects using our industrial power. Let’s say for 5 years.” (from 07.12.1954, All-Union Conference of Builders).

In 10 years this statement became reality for Kharkiv as well in shape of 80mx80m squares with perfectly planned infrastructure. All human needs were calculated measured and distributed among concrete jungles according to the distance from one house to certain «function».

In 1991 system collapse.

From the age of 4 I live in mikrorayons. My family changed at least 3 of them. There was no need to learn new streets, they all were the same.

Later, the human activity started to diversify as well. Economical necessity was a driving force for this. Since 1991 most of the facroties and plants got shut down. The country was slowly moving towards market economy. Kiosk started to pop-up here and there, ground floor aparments opened their doors as pharmacies, bridal shops etc. Etc.. The Informal city started to blossom inside the Super-formal mikrorayon. What can be next?

I saw 2 points of departure in order to look for answers:

1.     A necessity to document «new» economy and therefore spaces and routs developed by people. This approach could bring the next level of infrastructure so necessary for this area, as well as create new zones, despite «sleeping», one could identify, a market, a public space, a sport area and hopefully, some up-coming mixed use.

2.    One obviously can notice, while the economic side was taking its shape, the cultural and educational part was weak. At the same time, there is a potential in hidden diamonds, like an old library, or kids-club, or former open-air cinema, as well as, there is one of the main resources available: people. In order to connect with them, I thought about initiating an experiment in the open space and try to look for the next steps together.

In order to approach this massive scale, I dedicated big part of my time to the step 1 and in order to approach step 2, I decided to undergone the idea of 3-level interventions, where

1.     Idea

2.     Experiment

3.     In case of successful experiment > possible architecture

This theoretical proposal was presented in the end in a booklet, as well as 14 m2 panels and was presented at the Youth Competition CANactions, where it was awarded and granted me an opportunity to continue my studies at the DIA Master Program in Germany.