Architecture, Art – According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, more than 242 cultural objects have been damaged or destroyed since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion. To prevent even greater losses, balbek bureau developed RE:Ukraine. Monuments,’ “a standardized solution that would allow volunteers to quickly design a shelter for any monument, regardless of its size.” The studio founder Slava Balbek told Archipanic.
“The design of this system should protect monuments from damage by blast, debris, bullets, and fire and meet a number of other requirements.” balbek bureau analyzed the global examples of protective structures and got acquainted with different types of shelters that Ukrainian volunteers have already worked on. The project was developed from a request by volunteers, the Alliance of Restorers of Historic Buildings of Ukraine and the Department of Cultural Heritage Protection of the Kyiv City State Administration.
The RE:Ukraine. Monuments system consists of 2×1.5m monument-wrapping modules that can be scaled up both horizontally and vertically according to the size of the monument. Each module grants minimal interference, fast modeling and calculation of materials, as well as the ability to not burden the monument during the implementation and operation of the structure. Easy to access for maintenance, the design combines static stability and durability with a limited budget.
“We propose that each module’s framework module be constructed using crossbar scaffolding that is easy to find, deliver, and assemble on site.” A crossbar frame is installed around the monument at a safe distance. The structure’s facade is covered with fire retardant bakelite plywood, resistant to moisture and temperature changes.
For large-scale structures, the inner facade is fenced with netting, and the space between the plywood and the mesh is filled with sandbags. The result is a protective box that does not come into contact with or burden the monument itself.
“There is nothing more permanent than the temporary, so one should take care not only of the construction but also the aesthetics of the protective structure.” Says Slava Balbek. “To harmoniously integrate these structures into the urban landscape, we suggest painting the facades using neutral colors such as grey or olive.” To identify the monument concealed under the protective structure, an image with the outlines of the monument and information about it can be applied to the facade of the box.
All images of RE:Ukraine. Monuments: courtesy of balk bureau.