Plenary Roundtable

EAHN Madrid plenary panel with Ukranian researchers and institutions.

Voices from Ukraine: War, heritage, reconstruction

Interior of Palace of Labor in Kharkiv destroyed. The roof has collapsed.
Palace of Labor in Kharkiv, photo by Vasili Golosonov

Architecture and architectural history are deeply entangled with and affected by wars and revolutions. More than simply through built projects, these fields play a key role in opening up the historical, cultural and social meanings related to heritage and reconstruction. They are central in defining the ways in which built environment is perceived as part of national heritage and identity, how it can be preserved, reframed or rebuilt. Now at a time of war and crisis as Putin’s Russia is destroying the built environment and heritage of Ukraine as well as trying to suppress Ukranian identities and internationally oriented Ukrainian voices, it is more important than ever to give them a platform at international arenas and to be attuned to their message.   

This event presents current research and urgent questions in architecture and architectural history in Ukraine addressing the questions of heritage, preservation, reconstruction and the role of architectural historians at a time of war and crisis.

Three papers offer a historic perspective on practices of post-war projects of reconstruction as well as their legacies and relevance today, a discussion on heritage in danger at the time of the war, and a view to questions of heritage and restoration from the point of view of education, asking what to teach and how to teach. A discussion to follow will further address the questions of how architectural history (and architecture) as a field is situated in relation to the present crisis as well as future prospects of reconstruction. The discussion will offer an opportunity for the EAHN community to hear voices directly from Ukraine as well as explicitly address the question of what the international community of architectural historians can do to help.


Dr. Markus Lähteenmäki (chair), postdoc fellow at University of Helsinki, architectural historian whose research focuses on histories of architecture at time of revolution, war and reconstruction.

Daria Orzyhanova (panellist, discussant), director of studies and the BA programme at Kharkiv School of Architecture.

From war into the future: historical legacies of postwar recoveries and reconstructions

Dr. Sofia Dyak, historian, director of the Center for Urban History (Lviv), an institution focusing on researching urban pasts and present, working in the areas of public history and digital humanities and informal education.

Ukrainian heritage of leftist urbanism under Russian threat

Ievgenia Gubkina ­­­– Co-founder of NGO Urban Forms Center and curator of Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Architecture.

Preserving and Rethinking: Heritage Studies in Architecture Education

Dr. Iryna Matsevko – historian and director of the heritage courses at the Kharkiv School of Architecture, set up in the aftermaths of the 2014 revolution to modernise architectural education in the country.