We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 3rd prize winners of our "Iceland Movie Pavilion" competition – Viktoriia Savchenko, Khrystyna Vus, Nikolay Dotsenko and Oleksandra Zavada from Ukraine!

3rd prize winners from Ukraine

balbek bureau is an award-winning architecture and interior design studio founded by Slava Balbek and Borys Dorogov based in Kyiv, Ukraine. For 14 years, we have been designing bespoke commercial, corporate, and residential spaces. The team currently consists of 54 people, with 4 of them serving in the army.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

Before Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we primarily focused on hospitality and corporate design. Our portfolio features a corporate hub for a global tech company (Grammarly Kyiv), a cultural center in a repurposed San Francisco church (906 World), and a teeming food hall in a century-old military arsenal (Kyiv Food Market).

Now, we juggle commercial and social projects, trying to address war-inflicted challenges with our RE:Ukraine System initiatives.

What does architecture mean to you, and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Being longtime admirers of human-centered design, we believe architecture should help people feel welcomed no matter where they go. Whether it is a café, an office, or a guesthouse, we always consider those who interact with the space and make sure the design actually serves their needs. As a Kyiv-based bureau, we also find it crucial to use our skills for a good cause. We aim to provide uprooted Ukrainians with dignified housing, preserve local cultural heritage, and help Ukrainian cities and villages rebuild.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

It was an exciting experience and the opportunity to convey ideas through the prism of your worldview. We've got out of our comfort zone in a way, had valuable interactions with the newly formed team, and enjoyed fascinating research and analysis of new information – everything we hoped to get out of the competition and more.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Actually, we've created an Instagram guideline with a whole bunch of advice for our fellow contestants – especially those from Ukraine. Competitions are an excellent opportunity to remember the drive of your sleepless student nights (even if they're long gone) and to fall in love with your craft – once again.

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