Stop by the river
Kostiantynivka , 2017
Type: Urban intervention
Authors: Kuchabskyi Kostyantyn, Roman Sakh, Anastasia Parafeniuk, Vita Bazan
Kostyantynivka is a city in the east of Ukraine (near the war zone now). The city identity is closely conects to it's industry. Mostly with with the all-USSR significance thirty years ago with more than 20 factories working at the center of the city. Now the "industrial heart" of it has collapsed, its center has turned into an abandoned territory, where buildings are being disassembled and nature returns, creating a multilayered landscape. Problematic issues are both spatial development of the city, which is divided into two hard-to-reach parts, as well as an unreflected attitude to the place, ignorance of its existence.The Metacity: East project team, together with the local DRUZI space team have decided to set up an experiment - an attempt to find methods for post-industrial transformation. The chosen site is on a pedestrian route, that connects two parts of the city by the old railway bridge. It’s capturing both the potential of the natural and industrial landscapes. The project in Kostyantynivka is a part of big program, which connects 6 cities around Eastern Ukraine. The main aim of it is to raise the question of public spaces now, consider the conditions of war and crisis; and process of its creation in the context of the fight for democracy and decentralization. The aim was to make a tactical step for the territory’s development which can create a ground for future city’s regeneration.; to create a space for dialogue, discussion of the local challenges; to show a potential of the territory; create a courageous resonating project, valuable for the city, with limited financial and time resources. An important component of the project is a 7 months research, public discussions, other participatory practices, e.g. performative theater. The association of active youth, became our main partner willing to continue work with the former industrial zone on an ongoing basis. All the works were carried out in cooperation with the city authorities and business. Tree focuses of the functional program: natural layer as the main future value should be accessible and productive; unused industrial buildings can be revitalized with the accent on cultural / educational functions and new crafts; artifacts of the soviet period should be preserved and rethink as heritage. Our expectations: change the negative attitude towards the territory, start the discussion of its future, launch the works on the creation of a new infrastructure, show a successful example of a low-budget participative action in Kostyantynivka, deliver new experience for the citizens. The transformation affected 2 locations: destroyed road bridge, empty hangar and a space in between. For the architectural intervention the destroyed bridge was chosen. It became the foundation for a “Stop by the river”. There was no specific task for design and visual quality of the project, rather than work in multidisciplinary team (with volunteers, cultural managers, anthropologists, etc.). A multifunctional space was designed for meditation, contemplation, fishing, lectures, discussions, photo sessions, meetings. The core tasks for was in organizing an access to the water, which was impossible before, and creating the viewpoint. We did several tiers of seats and shelter from the rain. Сonstruction was created in 5 days by the team of activists both from the city and from the nearby cities of our project. An important element is the mirror mosaic made of the fragments found on the territory - the deity-guard of the Kryvyi Torets river. The hangar was activated by non-architectural methods: art intervention and festival. Art intervention was based on the study of the city identity by experiencing stories of people, as well as myths and historical aspects. On their basis Kickit Art Studio made the mural, which metaphorically refers to the history of the glass city (there was a large production of glass in Kostyantynivka during the Belgian and Soviet periods). Since the hangar now in a private property, all the work were carried out in cooperation with local entrepreneurs, including help with the equipment for the event. The space was opened on September 23, 2017 with TheMostFest festival in the former industrial zone, which had no analogues in the city. More than 200 people came to various activities (flea market, food court, electronic concert, project discussion, street sports), which opened the territory in a completely different light. There were many concerns about the integrity of the construction in a place where a lot of people are pulling apart the materials and there were even attempts to steal several boards from the public space. Nevertheless, residents are looking after the place and are restoring it. The experiment with “fragility" continues. A discussion began about the safety of the route as a whole and some emergency places in particular, where we hope the city authorities to get in. The city discusses the feasibility of such a project in an abandoned zone, the dialogue is launched.