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Darya and Liza, co-founders of the Map Renovation project

"Four months ago, Liza and I have started our project Map Renovation, which deals with abandoned Kyiv buildings. We’ve known each other for two years, as we both were architecture students in KNUBA. Architects have a particular view on buildings, so the state of desolation is more eye-catching to us than to anyone else.

One time I was having a stroll around Podil and spotted multiple abandoned buildings. That’s when the idea of creating an online platform dedicated to this topic came to my mind. I thought to myself: how come there hasn’t been any database of abandoned houses available to everyone. Yes, at that time, there was a register of condemned buildings, #SOSfuture with a map of Ukraine and, but all of them provided inferior informative function. Many people have raised this topic previously, and still, there is no comprehensive resource to contain an information sheet of the building and data about its total area, purpose, owner, framework, and a list of all related documents, like property abstracts, lawsuits. Our starting point is a Facebook page. The goal of our pilot project is to encompass Shevchenkivskyi District only, where we found 216 buildings. Podilskiy District is next to come. Four people represent our team: Liza and I as curators, a data scientist who collects and aggregates data, and an illustrator.

The project's primary goal is to revitalize buildings and find their new owners, who will bring them back to life.

Another plan is to create a network for activists, where anyone could join an initiative group of any house to voice demands to authorities, send requests, and write court complaints. Lawyers often join such groups. For instance, a lawyer from Murashko manor house’s initiative group and its last resident brought the house back to municipal property and re-established its historical and architectural landmark status.

Currently, property developers deal with an abandoned building in the following way: at first, they set it on fire, blaming it on homeless who may be living there, then they somehow remove the landmark status and demolish the house.

We’re taking a business incubation course organized by Open data Challenge and ten other teams. We learn how to make a nice product out of our project, fostering communication between the authorities and future investors. After the incubator, we could win funding for our platform. One of the possible frameworks to save abandoned buildings is a socially responsible business. We want to offer the service of business expertise, which could provide the future investor with an estimated value of renovation and all necessary papers of the building. Restoration of an abandoned house may interest business owners to create their social image.

Both of us find the area in architecture called contextual design attractive. This approach implies a respectful attitude to the context. You see the area and identify its spirit and authenticity.

You must keep previous details when adding something new to enhance whenever has been there before you. This work has a lot to do with meanings.

Kyiv is a city that resembles a collage, where one thing is overlaid on another. Here you can find a pre-revolutionary building standing next to an enormous glass skyscraper. It’s interesting to observe such versatility, how the city functions, and what makes it whole. Kyiv is multi-dimensional, with its hills and lowlands. Nevertheless, the city is drowning in greenery.

The abandoned houses on Dmytrivska Street 102 and 104A became special to me. I walked around this district in November and went into the yard. When the sun is still shining bright, the windows of the building cast their reflection on the neighboring one, so it becomes fully illuminated with gleam. I wish to make a successful case out of these two housing objects and restore life here: create a squat or community for people to live. The houses represent classical pre-revolutionary style and only ten years ago were inhabited by janitors.

Building, like a sponge, takes in all events that took place there, so you just try to take them into account.

The façade itself tells many stories. For instance, you can tell exactly where the water was running down by the bricks. Often you may find the manufacturer’s stamp on the bricks and imagine how and from where the materials were transported here. I can’t tell why these houses became so dear to me. Maybe this is some kind of reincarnation, and I was living here in the past life".

Дар'я та Ліза, архітекторки, співавторки проєкту Map Renovation.


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