Kharkiv City Growth 1915 -2024
Kharkiv Modernism





Kharkiv, Modernism, Docomomo, Constructivism


In 2022, Docomomo International launched a call for papers on Modern Movement in Ukraine together with Docomomo Ukraine. More than 20 proposals were received, most of them from authors based in Ukraine itself—despite the difficult circumstances. The Docomomo Journal 67 presented a first selection of those articles to display regional and architectural particularities and current challenges of archiving, documenting, protecting, and preserving the modern heritage. Nearly 100 examples of Ukrainian modern buildings were presented in a graphical overview. The modern Ukranian architecture was dominated by Constructivism from the mid-1920s to the early 1930s, with Kharkiv as the epicenter of production, while Socialist Realism with the Stalin Empire emerged from 1932, lasting until 1955, with Kyiv as the capital of Ukraine. From December 1919 to January 1934, Kharkiv was the first capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the cultural, economic, and educational center of the new Ukrainian Republic. The status as new capital led to prestigious master plans and construction projects, among them the world-famous Derzhprom building at Freedom Square–as a symbol of Constructivism–or the Kharkiv Tractor Factory–as a symbol of the industrialization of agriculture. The leading role of Kharkiv as a forerunner and capital of Constructivism is often expressed by the famous State Industry House (Derzhprom) built from 1925 to 1928. Being the only modern ensemble in Ukraine nominated as UNESCO World Heritage, it became and still is the focus of identification and pride—despite the many controversial reflections and discussions about the conservation efforts and changes carried out since the original construction in the 1950s and after the year 2000. This explains the many articles dealing with Freedom Square and Dherzprom as a reaction to the call for papers in 
2022 and also Docomomo International’s commitment to dedicate this special issue of the Docomomo Journal to Kharkiv under the title From Constructivism to Modernism in Kharkiv.

How to Cite

Pottgiesser, U., & Quist, W. (2024). Kharkiv Modernism. Docomomo Journal, (70), 2–7.




Author Biographies

Uta Pottgiesser, Delft University of Technology

Is Professor of Heritage & Technology at TU Delft and Professor of Building Construction and Materials at OWL, University of Applied Sciences (TH OWL). She studied Architecture at TU Berlin and holds a doctorate from TU Dresden and is chair of DOCOMOMO International, also board member of DOCOMOMO Germany. Her concern is with the protection, reuse and improvement of the built heritage and environment.

Wido Quist, Delft University of Technology

Is Associate Professor in Heritage & Technology and leading the section Heritage & Architecture at TU Delft (The Netherlands). He is Secretary General of Docomomo International, Chair of Docomomo Netherlands. Since 2022 he is – together with Uta Pottgiesser - editor in chief of the Docomomo Journal. His research and teaching centres around the preservation and adaptive re-use of the built legacy of the 20th century, connecting the specialist disciplines. Intertwining Values, Design and Technology, he is an expert on the crossing between historical knowledge of modern building materials and strategies for conservation and re-use.