We did it. Architecture Today readers have raised more than £50,000 for the Kharkiv School of Architecture (KhSA) in Ukraine, writes editor Isabel Allen.


In the issue, Jennifer O’Donnell reviews John McAslan + Partners’ restoration of the Burrell Collection

The school has asked us to pass on its thanks and to provide an update on its progress and plans.

By way of background, the school was forced to relocate from Kharkiv to Lviv midway through the current academic year and has managed to establish a temporary home in buildings belonging to the Academy of Art.

As a private school, KhSA was previously funded by philanthropic donations and students’ parents. As so often happens in times of crisis, education has been eclipsed by more pressing needs – food, rent, transport, medication – and both sources of funding have dried up. The generosity of the international community has allowed the school to equip its new premises and provide students in financial need with scholarships and monthly living allowances. It is also ensuring that staff and students have access to counselling, first aid training and emotional and practical support.

Aside from day-to-day survival, the school is retuning its curriculum to address the issues raised by the destruction of Ukraine’s built environment and the displacement of its population. This combines strategies for immediate issues, such as the need for temporary housing, with an ambition to create a roadmap for the long-term reconstruction of Ukraine.

It’s a bold ambition: KhSA is a small school, representing a tiny percentage of the country’s architecture students. But it punches well above its weight. Launched as a bridge between global and local architectural discourse, its outward looking ethos allows it to tap into international expertise; engage with local authorities, government ministries, construction professionals, stakeholders and communities; and ensure that local people have a voice in reconstruction plans. Its can-do spirit allows it to remain optimistic. To embrace the fact that, for all its horrors, the devastation of war brings opportunities: to renew; to rebuild; to redress the physical, spatial and environmental missteps of the past.

None of this would be possible without the continuing support of the international architectural community. But fund-raising is far from over. The £50,000 raised by Architecture Today has allowed the school to meet its most urgent needs. But it needs a further £170,000 to finish the year without debt and prepare the premises in Lviv for the next study year.

The school has now established a fundraising page on its own website. Please contribute if you can. Education cannot be sidelined. Now, more than ever, the country’s students – its future – need to be equipped with the skills to envisage, build and participate in a bright post-war Ukraine.

Read the digital edition of the May-June 20222 issue.