The horrific events unfolding in Ukraine over the past week have rocked the world to its core, and places the everyday work of Architizer and the wider architectural profession into firm perspective. When innocent lives are being lost, architecture matters little, and we join the international community in condemning the ongoing violence. We hope that peace can be restored as soon as possible, and our thoughts are with all Ukrainian people.
While damage to material structures pales into insignificance when compared with the human toll of conflict, architecture remains important when its cultural and social context is considered: When residential areas are destroyed, people not only lose their houses but their homes, places intrinsically tied to their sense of safety, family and community. Similarly, cultural landmarks damaged or razed by recent bombing are not simply buildings: They are vessels that carry the history, heritage and identity of Ukrainian people, and as a consequence, their destruction has a traumatic impact on a whole population.
In recognition of this fact, James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, released the following statement:
“News reports indicate that among the many atrocities being committed in Ukraine over the past few days of Putin’s War, Russian forces have begun destroying Ukrainian cultural heritage. Russia has deliberately burned to the ground the Ivankiv Museum north of Kyiv, which housed precious Ukrainian folk art, in what Ukrainian scholars call “an unfolding cultural catastrophe.”
At risk in Ukraine are millions of artworks and monuments, including monuments representing centuries of history from the Byzantine to the Baroque periods, as well as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The material cultural legacy of the world is our common heritage, the identity and inspiration for all humanity. Cultural heritage has the power to unite us and is critical for achieving peace. It is also too often the target of war, another way to destroy and overtake a society by erasing its memory.
What precious little remains in the world of our ancient heritage is already suffering from wanton destruction, looting, neglect, reckless overdevelopment, and climate change. To have even more lost to senseless war is unconscionable. Instead of destroying our common heritage, we should be celebrating its existence, working to enhance protections and strengthen our international laws, and moving toward a more textured understanding of the world’s cultures and their contributions to our shared experience.
The Getty Trust works to call attention to the loss of cultural heritage worldwide. We condemn the cultural atrocities being committed now in Ukraine, together with the unfathomable human and environmental losses. We stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian colleagues. Protecting and preserving our cultural heritage is a core value of civilized societies. What is taking place in Ukraine is a tragedy of monumental proportions.”
Charities Working to Protect Architectural and Cultural Heritage in Ukraine
For people wondering what they can do to help, consider donating to the following cultural charities based in Ukraine, each of which require as much support as possible at this time:
Parkhomivka Museum: The museum, located in a small village in eastern Kharkiv Oblast, is an 18th-century villa that offers a permanent collection of exhibits by artists as iconic as Picasso, Malevich & Manet. You can support it by coming & buying a ticket.
Save Kyiv Modernism: Is a movement that unites architects, designers and activists who advocate for the protection of the remarkable Soviet modernist structures across Ukraine.
FrankivskToCareAbout: Is a movement for the preservation of architectural heritage in the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk. Founded in 2016, the initiative renovates old wooden doors of the city’s ancient buildings.
Charities Associated With Investigative Journalism in Ukraine
As a global media platform, Architizer also recognizes the vital work of journalists around the world. The following charities are associated with investigative journalism in Ukraine:
Slidstvo: Is an independent agency launched in 2012 that produces award-winning documentaries exposing corruption. They have investigated mismanagement of prisons, fraud, money laundering at PrivatBank & the assassination of journalist Sheremet.
UKRPravda News: Founded in 2000 by Gongadze, a prominent journalist who was killed the same year, this publication is among the most influential in Ukraine. The reporters break political scoops and unmask officials who abuse their power.
Zaborona Media: This is an independent media outlet founded by journalists. They investigate topics such as violations of Ukrainian workers’ rights in the Middle East, arms trafficking, and corruption in the construction sector.
Additionally, the following charities work to protect and support other populations across Ukraine:
Charities That Help Children
Tabletochki: This foundation has been supporting children with cancer for 10 years. They procure medicines, equipment, and arrange overseas treatment, among other things.
ChildrenWeWillMakeIt: This movement grew out of a campaign that raised $2 million to get the world’s most expensive medicine for a Ukrainian boy with spinal muscular atrophy. It now fundraises for the treatment of other Ukrainian children with SMA.
Ruka ob Ruku: This is a running club for children with disabilities. The initiative gives children an opportunity to train and take part in races together with their parents and volunteers.
Charities for the Elderly
Happy Old: This charity provides older people across Ukraine with groceries and medicine, holds educational, entertainment, and sports events, as well as helps with employment. They even created a modeling agency for the elderly.
Let’s Help: This charity cares for older people living alone and helps state retirement homes. They also advocate for better treatment of older people by the state, including providing people aged 60+ with easy access to education.
Starenki: It’s a charitable initiative devoted to issues of old age in Ukraine. They help lonely seniors by providing them with groceries and hygiene products.
Charities That Help Women
Women Perspectives: This organization has been helping women who have faced domestic violence, discrimination in the labor market, and other issues. The NGO works with local and state authorities to promote pro-equality gender policies in Ukraine.
Marsh Zhinok (Women’s March): Every year, on March 8, this initiative holds a rally promoting gender equality and the protection of women from gender-based violence. Currently, the organization is petitioning for Ukraine to adopt the Istanbul Convention.
If you have further cultural charities that you would like us to add to this list, please share them with us in the above format and we will add them as soon as possible. Our thoughts are with the Ukrainians in our community and in the wider world at this time.