What to demolish and what to leave, even the chief architect should not decide personally

Что сносить, а что оставить, даже главный архитектор не должен решать лично

Alexander Svistunov

The appointment of a new chief architect of Kiev was accompanied by scandals, transfers competition, information sensation and drew a lot of attention. To the side of Alexander Svistunov, who eventually won the position, immediately flew to the studs. Remembered and controversial thesis project on Rybalsky island and the project of a fashionable hotel in the historic part of town, and hinted at the relation of continuity. So what the capital’s residents expect from Alexander Svistunov, and whether he is updated by the theatre on Podol? Read in an exclusive interview for “Киев.112.иа”.

Please write down three main goals you set for yourself when entering into a new position. What is the development strategy of the city?

The first is to establish order in the work of the Department to regain its credibility. Already, the Department of architecture and urban planning was the most open and oriented to the citizens. And it is the result: during the year Department staff quickly and efficiently processed more than 77 thousand requests.

The second is to do all that construction mess in Kiev is gone. For this, first and foremost, it is necessary to return powers to the Department, the Council do not recommendatory body and is really a significant professional component of the protection of the urban environment. To date, Kiev has got the ability to control the construction of 1-4 categories of complexity due to the transfer of the powers of the Metropolitan Gasquet, but this is only the first step towards real protection of our city against unscrupulous developers.

The third – to adequately prepare Kiev for the Eurovision. The competition remains less than six months, and should not be stalled in place, and actively move forward. However, I am confident that we will succeed, because the main thing is support of the city authorities and its citizens, which means that all we will have time.

Question about Kiev murals. Not all of them are art. Is there some plan or Commission, which approves their appearance? Same question on MAF – is there a long-term strategy for their development, and if so, what kind?

At the time, many art works were not recognised during the lifetime of authors, and eventually become masterpieces. If the mural does not produce drastic rejection of most residents, it is necessary to give him time to assess. The people of Kiev were more active and besides, since it is unlikely that they will be silent, if they’re not satisfied.

As for the Mafs, that is, the complex scheme of placement of Kiosks with a transparent procedure of auctions and tenders. There is a law that has its requirements, and all must be within the law.

In Kiev, the disaster with the Parking lots, especially in the old part. Whether in the master plan that has something to do with the construction of Parking lots in the Central part of the city?

In the first place, in Kiev, the disaster with the balance between residential areas and the city centre. It is necessary to develop infrastructure and create jobs in residential areas, so the traffic to the centre at least reduce. Parking in the centre – worldwide luxury, so the optimal solution is to unload the centre. As for the master plan, then it should show the main directions of development of Kyiv, I would even say, strategic. Well, that specific tasks are detailed plans of territories.

What is your attitude to the clashes in Kiev? In the capital there are a number of objects which fall under the corresponding law. For example, the arch of Friendship of Peoples. Do I have to carry her or leave? Or a monument to Lenin on Bessarabka is now in its place an art installation – will it remain in this place, or it should be replaced with something?

What to demolish and what to leave – even the chief architect needs to decide personally. There are symbolic objects, which to some extent become a symbol of Kiev, so should such questions be submitted to public hearings. For example, on the arch there were a few petitions, and none of them gained the necessary number of votes. As for the statue of Lenin, then I am sure that is just an empty stubby pedestal should not remain, and the best solution to hold a contest. While it may be different installations. All decisions should be made openly, and then no one would question why it is that way.

For three months in Kiev dismantled and demolished several old buildings that were over 100 years old. For example, in September – on Nikolsko-Botanical, 11A, in October – at Zlatoustovskaya str., 35. Recently, it was reported that on Pavlovskaya St., 7 destroy the old house for the construction of the hotel. What will be your policy towards these buildings? Do you plan to develop new standards that will protect the historic home from demolition for the construction of skyscrapers, office centers, etc.?

Should at least comply with existing rules that do not permit to demolish historic buildings, and to toughen the penalties for such actions, to involve responsible for the demolition. But, the most important approval of the master plan. So we get a single regulatory document that will clearly and openly identify the city’s future development in historic areas. When will unified and clear rules for all, we can protect all 3.5 thousand monuments of architecture in the capital, and the territory around them.

How do you assess the view of the restored Theatre on Podol?

In August 2015 the project of the Theatre on Podol was submitted to the town planning Board where it was recommended to change the facade (the upper part) and to submit the draft for public hearings. As you can see, the recommendations were not adopted, and today we got exactly that situation. The designers, developers need to understand that you need to go through the whole procedure provided for by law, from beginning to end that we cannot move forward unless we take into account the opinion of Kyiv residents or the General public. And particularly resonant in such places as Andriyivskyy descent.

Interviewed By Lisa Danilovskaya