June 25, 2019 - Kharkiv School of Architecture - Open / Work + Mies van der Rohe Awards 2019
e-flux Architecture
June 25, 2019
June 25, 2019

Kharkiv School of Architecture

Open / Work installation view at the Kharkiv School of Architecture. Photo: Andrew Yarygin.

Open / Work + Mies van der Rohe Awards 2019
Final exhibition of the first year of the Kharkiv School of Architecture
June 14–July 1, 2019

Kharkiv School of Architecture
Kontorska St. 5


Kharkiv School of Architecture is the first architecture school established in Ukraine since its independence in 1991. It was founded in 2017 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

In June 2019 the first cohort of students finished the first year of the BA Program. In order to celebrate this historical event, the School has organized a double exhibition.

The part titled Open/Work—curated by the students under the tuition of the Outpost Office—exposes to the public the process of their work throughout the first year. The students exhibited all items, which accompanied them on this journey: working models and drawings, sketchbooks and photographs, great outcomes and failed experiments.

In parallel, the school hosts the EU Mies Award 2019, an exhibition that showcases 383 architectural works built all over Europe, which were nominated for the prize in 2019.

By juxtaposing these two exhibitions, Kharkiv School of Architecture builds a link between two generations of architects: the current and the future ones. The Mies Award exhibition showcases the best work of the current generation of European designers. Open/Work, in turn, offers a glimpse into the future of Ukrainian architecture.


Open/Work exhibition curatorial statement
Open/Work is an exhibition of the work of the first students to complete the first year BA Program at the newly established Kharkiv School of Architecture. It was created by the students, under the tutelage of the Outpost Office (based in Columbus, Ohio).

Open/Work appropriates design tactics and construction methods from Ukraine’s iconic bazaars to produce a suspended field of objects in the school’s grand hall. Students worked collaboratively to explore organizational methods and detailing more often associated with museum storage than acts of display.

Open/Work includes student work, as well as items borrowed from around the school including lecture posters, books, pencils, pillows, hard hats, woodworking tools and at least one concrete whale. The exhibition is a floating archive that invites visitors to look at objects, touch them, and inspect them more closely.

Open/Work is a full disclosure portrait of a messy, young, brilliant, vibrant community of designers ready to build Ukraine’s project of the future.


Ivan Blasi, the Curator of prizes and programmes at the Mies van der Rohe Foundation on Kharkiv School Exhibition
Ukraine is the biggest country participating in the EU Mies Award, with the sixth highest population, which implies that architecture here is essential to embody the country’s values, its civic values which are common with the rest of Europe. The way we build is a reflection of the way we live, and the complexity of Ukraine’s history has allowed the construction of many fascinating layers on which today’s architects continue designing through their own acquired experiences.

Ukraine joined the EU Mies Award in 2017 as part of the Creative Europe program of the European Commission. In 2017 we only received one nomination of a Ukrainian work but in 2019 there have been 7 which the jury members discussed and reviewed. They highlighted that in many cases, architecture reflects the collective character of a process, the importance given to public space and that different programmes, mostly cultural and educational, have been developed with designs of the highest quality.

This is the first time that the EU Mies Award exhibition is presented in Ukraine and we have great expectations. Not only will it be an opportunity to share what architects are doing in different European regions, which challenges architecture has today, and how European identity is being forged, but it will also be a way to know how architecture education takes place in Kharkov and Ukraine. This will also allow us to strengthen the participation of Ukraine in the Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA) in 2020 which, as part of the EU Mies Award, recognises the quality of final degree designs from all over Europe and which is presented at the Venice Biennale.

Kharkiv School of Architecture
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