An exhibition was opened in Rivne to convey information to the city’s residents about buildings in the city of the interwar period. The organizers say that they tried to present the most interesting, from the standpoint of architectural stylistics, buildings of the 1920s-1930s which survived in the urban landscape. The exhibition was presented on Saturday, 22 August in the building of the union of artists at 16 July Street.
The exhibition was titled Modernist Rivne: Interwar Architectural Heritage.
According to the announcement of this event, historians and architects regard low awareness of historical buildings among Rivne residents as a problem, which often results in these buildings being demolished or reconstructed beyond recognition of their original appearance. Therefore, the idea was to somewhat change this situation, and this exhibition is one of the elements of this plan.
During the interwar period, i.e., from 1921 to 1939, Rivne modernized its architectural image.
It was influenced by Western European and Polish architecture, because Rivne was a part of the Second Polish Republic.
The architectural heritage created during that time was partially destroyed during World War II and later, during development of Rivne in the second half of the 20th century under the Soviet Union.
Nevertheless, the organizers say, buildings of different purposes (houses, churches, educational institutions) and architectural styles (“brick style”, modern, constructivism), proving the quality and specifics of interwar Rivne’s architectural environment, have survived till present day. But in the opinion of the exhibition’s initiators, some of the city’s populace still believe that the quality of interwar architecture is low.
For almost twenty years, Olha Mykhailyshyn, Doctor of Architecture and the Head of Architecture Department at the National University of Water and Environmental Engineering, has been studying interwar architecture of the Volhynia. A substantial portion of exhibits is the result of her studies of local and even Polish archives.
“The exhibition presents buildings designed by renowned Polish architects of the interwar period. They designed buildings not just for Rivne but also for Warsaw. In fact, all buildings featured at this exhibition are unique, individually designed by a professional architect. The foundation for spatial architectural development of Rivne in the postwar time was laid during the Polish period,” Olha Mykhailyshyn said.
The specialist added that the general plan of the city, developed in the late 1930s, served as the basis for all subsequent general plans developed after World War II.
“It is fair to say that the basis was taken for the location of the city’s administrative center, parks, sports and recreation areas. Speaking about the location of the stadium, its place was designated during the interwar period,” the Doctor of Architecture continued.
The exhibition was prepared as part of a project implemented by Institute of Ukrainian Modernism CSO (Rivne). The project of preserving cultural heritage in Ukraine received support from ReHERIT, Common Responsibility for Common Heritage, and the European Union. The Architecture Department of the National University of Water and Environmental Engineering, a local lore museum, state archive and the Culture Department also made their contribution.
The exhibition will continue until 30 August.
By Ivan Marchuk