When we consider the devastating effects of war, we consider the displacement of people, the devastation of public and private infrastructure, the economy, and every component of a country. Political disputes frequently lead to war because both sides refuse to consider the viewpoints of the other, leading to an out-of-control conflict. Natural resource shortages, territorial disputes, ideological disagreements, and national borders, to name a few, frequently lead to conflicts across the world. For many years, the country has been the target of several uprisings by influential countries. The most well-known of them was the Chernobyl incident, which killed everyone in a town in the country’s north and turned it into a ghost town, a destination for the adventurous and curious traveler.

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The St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery  ©https://www.tourist-destinations.com/2013/07/kiev-ukraine.html

Ukraine Pre-invasion 

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Maidan Nezalezhnosti, ©https://www.tourist-destinations.com/2013/07/kiev-ukraine.html

Ukraine’s architecture started to take distinct turns after its union with the Russian Tsardom. For instance, the Zaporozhian Cossack era saw the development of a distinctively Ukrainian style under the influence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Austro-Hungarian architecture influenced Galicia, and the larger, Russian-ruled eastern region saw the construction of many buildings in Russian architectural styles. Both times, they resulted in excellent instances. The Ukrainian national themes aesthetics were used in contemporary independent Ukraine architecture during the Soviet era.

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Landscape from Kiev’s hills  ©Vladimir Kud https://www.thousandwonders.net/Kiev

Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe after Russia and is also referred to as the “heart of Europe.” Its extensive historical, cultural, and artistic heritage has long been a source of the nation’s pride. Seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites are within the country, including Lviv’s historical center and Kyiv’s Saint-Sophia Cathedral. There are approximately 900 churches that are located in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Many churches date back to the Kyivan Rus period, with features specific to that era.

Ukraine’s cultural traditions, such as generosity and hospitality, define its people’s identities. The nation has managed to maintain a certain joie de vivre despite its painful historical past. The country is home to so many impressive landmarks that each year draws many visitors. They paint and decorate eggs for Easter celebrations, they have the summer solstice celebration Ivana Kupala, where people jump over bonfires, and a week-long celebration that involves the consumption of pancakes and other ancient traditions.

The Russo-Ukraine Invasion

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A damaged church shown on March 10 after shelling in a residential district. ©Evgeniy Maloletka/AP , Ukraine war before and after photos (cnn.com)

The world was caught off guard when Ukraine’s faith underwent a dramatic transformation on February 24 since most people hadn’t expected such an invasion in the twenty-first century. The world watched helplessly as the cities of Ukraine were wholly altered and reduced to nothing but debris on the ground by intensive bombing, destroying everything on its radar. Some Ukrainians were forced to depart their nation with sorrowful hearts, leaving generations’ worth of memories, possessions, and architectural legacy behind them. Another group remained around to defend their country. Most of them were fighting on the front lines, doing all they could to retake their nation from the invaders. The functions of various public spaces were redefined to accommodate the national context changes. In addition to being converted into everyday food preparation facilities, subway stations, warehouses, and churches are used as shelters.

Targeting critical architectural landmarks and strategically bombing particular towns are often done to remove communities’ identities by erasing their histories.

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An aerial view of Yakivlivka in the Kharkiv region before the invasion. ©Pavel Babeshko Ukraine war before and after photos (cnn.com)
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Yakivlivka has been left devastated by the Russian bombardment. ©ITN  Ukraine war before and after photos (cnn.com)

Ukraine Post-invasion 

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Refugee house project visualization © https://www.balbek.com/reukraine-eng

After the conflict, what comes next? Given the significant damage the Russian army caused, it should be no surprise that careful planning and substantial funding will be primordial to the restoration of the nation, perhaps not exactly to its former glory, but at least closer to a new normal. It is possible to recover from this unfortunate turn of circumstances with enough willpower, toughness, and resilience. By executing stringent recovery action plans like the Marshall Plan, which was essential to the post-war economic recovery of nations like Germany and Japan, many countries, for instance, could recover and become even stronger fully. Let’s examine the post-World War II economic situation. We may conclude that although most nations suffered significant losses immediately following the war, they finally got their lives back on track and were forced to evolve quickly in every area conceivable. Assistance will be needed from nearby nations to revitalize the economy. The reconstruction plan will initiate Job creation and improve public facilities and amenities since they bring some calmness despite the upheaval.

Refugee house project visualization ©https://www.balbek.com/reukraine-eng

To conserve cultural heritage sites and develop prototype projects like shelters and temporary housing systems for post-war Ukraine, architectural firms like Balbek Bureau and others have begun working on them. During a recent meeting in Switzerland, the prime minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, presented a three-stage plan in his own words: “Ukraine’s reconstruction plan will be in three key stages. The first stage is to renovate here and now what is possible and vital for people’s lives. […] The second stage is a quick recovery, as the number of even the core infrastructure facilities destroyed is huge. Thousands of rebuilding projects will need to be implemented immediately after hostilities end, and Ukraine wins the war,”

References

David L. Sanders (2022). The Complicated Ukraine-Russia War, Explained in Simple Terms. [online]. (Last updated: Jun. 13, 2022). Available at: https://www.rd.com/article/ukraine-russia-war/  [Accessed date: 12/July/2022].

Hadjer . Know the Ukrainian customs and traditions – Aljawaz. [online]. Available at: https://aljawaz.com/en/the-customs-and-traditions-in-ukraine/  [Accessed date:12/July/2022].

Sarah Holmes (2021). 20 Ukraine Landmarks-Travel2Next. [online]. (Last updated: July 4th, 2022). Available at: https://travel2next.com/ukraine-landmarks-monuments/  [Accessed date: 14/July/2022r].

Ukrainian architecture – Wikipedia. [online]. (Last updated: 11 March 2022). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_architecture [Accessed date:14/July/2022].

Camille Kimberly (2022). Title of web document/page. [online]. Available at: https://drudge-report.net/what-is-ukraine-known-for/ [Accessed date:16/July/2022].

Post–World War II economic expansion – Wikipedia. [online]. (Last updated: 30 June 2022). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post%E2%80%93World_War_II_economic_expansion [Accessed date: 16/July/2022].

Cynthia Cook (2022). Rebuilding Ukraine after the War. [online]. (Last updated: March 22, 2022). Available at: https://www.csis.org/analysis/rebuilding-ukraine-after-war  [Accessed date:17/July/2022].

Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction to consist of three stages – PM Shmyhal. [online]. (Last updated: 18 July 2022). Available at: https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/3521787-ukraines-postwar-reconstruction-to-consist-of-three-stages-pm-shmyhal.html#:~:text=The%20second%20stage%20is%20a,the%20war%2C%E2%80%9D%20Shmyhal%20told. [Accessed date:17/July/2022].

Author

Nadjath is an architecture graduate, traveler, and part-time freelance writer. She believes that the built and unbuilt environments are more than just about form and function. In a fast-growing culture where people are reading less and less, she is enthusiastic about transmitting the essence of architecture via words.

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