UrbanRubryka 12:56 04 May 2021

Utkin's House and other scandals: how to protect the city from illegal developments and failed reconstructions

And what can everyone do to protect historic buildings, even those that don't have protected status?

In Kyiv, Utkin's House, a historic building on Symona Petliury Street near the Vokzalna metro station, was demolished. On the site of a two-story building, a development company Zim Group plans to build a 26-story apart-hotel Times with 352 suites. Now it's impossible to say how legal the demolition was because there's no court ruling yet, but information about it was entered into the Unified Register of pre-trial investigations on April 10 on the grounds of a criminal offense under Article 356 of the Criminal Code (arbitrariness).

The thing is that the territory where the house is located is part of Kyiv's historical building area under the city's historical reference plan, and, according to the Law "On Cultural Heritage Protection," any urban, architectural, or landscape transformations on the territory can't happen without the permission of the relevant body for protecting cultural heritage.

Why the historic building was destroyed will be investigated, but it's not the first case of the city's ruthless attitude to its own architectural history. Now, according to the interactive map of renovation, a project of Kyiv activists, the public organization "Renovation Map," there are 226 abandoned buildings in Kyiv. 66 of them are architectural and historical monuments that must be protected by law. However, unfortunately, they're left derelict and destroyed every year under the impact of rain and wind; they have broken windows, no doors, and the land occupied by cultural monuments is envied by developers who are waiting for the opportunity to build a new hotel or another shopping center there.

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