We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our "Tili Wine Italy Guest Homes" competition – Yelyzaveta Schastlyvtseva, Olena Loshakova, Kateryna Vasylevska and Yuliia Udovydchenko from Ukraine!

Honorable mention 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?

Usually, November is not a piece of cake – especially in Ukraine in 2022. Extensive workloads with both commercial and social initiatives, burnout of the mundane technical tasks, constant power outages, and ongoing genocidal war – it was (and is!) a lot. But in the great wisdom of David Bowie, we've decided that we will be putting out the fire with gasoline. We've signed up for four competitions at once, split the bureau team into small squads, and began our conquest for inspiration. We've gained much more than that: besides the creative boost, we've:

– experienced the joys of internal competition

– got to know each other better: some of the contestants had never collaborated before

– perfected our skills of meeting strict deadlines

– had a hell lot of fun

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.

Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Enter Architecture Competitions

Curious about the value of architecture competitions? Discover the transformative power they can have on your career - from igniting creativity and turning designs into reality, to gaining international recognition.

Learn more