Kharkiv Housing Challenge

Kharkiv Housing Challenge

Source:  Fundación Norman Foster

As part of the new concept masterplan being developed for the city of Kharkiv, the Norman Foster Foundation along with the Kharkiv City Council, UNECE, Arup and the Kharkivproject Institute are launching an international competition to improve housing and residential neighbourhoods in the city.

Located right at the border with Russia, Kharkiv stands as Ukraine’s second-largest city and has been significantly impacted by the ongoing conflict. This historically relevant and industrial city now faces the pressing challenge of rebuilding its damaged urban fabric, with a particular focus on residential buildings and public spaces, to not only repair but to also to improve the living conditions of its residents. This competition is part of the larger Kharkiv concept Masterplan project.

The competition will focus on Saltivka, the most-populated district in Kharkiv, and more precisely in North Saltivka, the most heavily damaged area after February 24, 2022. Given the similarity of residential areas across Kharkiv, the greater ambition of this project is to extrapolate the winning designs to other residential areas throughout the city. This competition seeks solutions that bridge the gap between innovative design and practical application. The task is to develop a modular system capable of retrofitting existing concrete panel housing blocks and enhancing public spaces, focusing on creating safe, energy-efficient, and vibrant neighbourhoods. Modular facade and roof components, bomb shelters, and integrating additional uses in ground floors should be considered as part of the intervention. The system should also provide solutions to re- erect severely damaged buildings with a renewed, yet locally rooted, architectural identity.

Participants have the opportunity to see their ideas come to life, making a tangible difference in Kharkiv’s recovery and long-term resilience. After the announcement of the winners, selected proposals will be further developed into detail designs for construction. Winning teams will collaborate with locals in this stage under a funded scheme. Given the modular nature of concrete panel housing blocks, building designs were replicated across Kharkiv. Consequently, winning proposals for the selected competition site will be potentially applicable to other residential areas in the city. This is not just a call for creativity but a unique opportunity to positively impact the future of Kharkiv.

The competition is open to everyone, and all communication, including presentations, must be conducted in English. The deadline to participate in the competition is 12 September 2024. For more detailed information, please visit

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