Kharkiv's regional state administration building today - Photo by Fotoreserg from the SAY NOT TO WAR image collection.

Kharkiv’s regional state administration building today – Photo by Fotoreserg.

Architecture – During the Russian invasion, the city of Kharkiv suffered extensive damage, with housing, hospitals, schools, cultural institutions and historic buildings being completely destroyed. At the 2nd United Nations Forum of Mayors in Geneva, mayor Ihor Terekhov shared with Norman Foster, founder of leading studio Foster + Partners, his vision for the rehabilitation of Ukraine’s second-largest city, its buildings and its infrastructure.

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Kharkiv's regional state administration building before the war - Photo by Zoomviewer, Wikimedia Creative Commons.

Kharkiv’s regional state administration building before the war – Photo by ZoomViewer, Wikimedia Commons.

Terekhov’s vision seeks to embrace the city’s recent heritage of investment in technology and healthcare by creating “new high-tech architecture, as well as the repair and preservation of the buildings and public spaces that form the fabric of the city’s rich cultural history.” The mayor said.

Damaged buildings in Kharkiv - Photo by Yurii Kochubey from the SAY NOT TO WAR image collection.

Photo by Yurii Kochubey.

During the meeting, Norman Foster shared a manifesto highlighting his commitment to the city’s reconstruction. “I undertake to assemble the best minds with the best planning, architectural, design, and engineering skills in the world to bear on the rebirth of the city of Kharkiv. In the spirit of combining a planetary awareness with local action, I would seek to bring together the top Ukrainian talents with worldwide expertise and advice.”

Norman Foster portrait - Courtesy of Foster + Partners.

Norman Foster portrait – Courtesy of Foster + Partners.

The first step would be a city masterplan linked to the region, with the ambition to combine the most loved and revered heritage from the past with the most desirable and greenest elements of infrastructure and buildings – in other words, to deliver the city of the future now and to plan for its life decades ahead.”

Damaged buildings in Kharkiv - Photo by Yurii Kochubey from the SAY NOT TO WAR image collection.

Photo by Yurii Kochubey.

At the height of the pandemic, London updated a master plan, the roots of which was a plan commissioned in the darkest days of World War II.” The manifesto reads. “A master plan is an act of confidence in the future for generations still to come.”

In the wake of the Russian invasion, Foster + Partners was among the first studio to condemn the war and withdrew from all ongoing projects in Russia.

Damaged buildings in Kharkiv - Photo by Yurii Kochubey from the SAY NOT TO WAR image collection.

Photo by Yurii Kochubey.

At the meeting, Norman Foster had also invited Professor Ian Goldin of Oxford University and Professor Ed Glaeser of Harvard University, along with the Co-Heads of the Design, Architecture and Technology Unit of the Norman Foster Foundation, Diego Lopez and Alberto Cendoya.

Photo via IG by @officialnormanfoster

Photo via IG by @officialnormanfoster.

Ukraine war photos: courtesy of the Say No to War image collection.

Photo by Fotoreserg x the Say No to War image collection.

Photo by Fotoreserg.