CBC Talks


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20 February 2024, 6pm

CBCTLK#10: Semen Shyrochyn

The damaged heritage of Ukrainian industrial cities – examples from Mariupol and Lisichansk

  Veranstaltungsplakat Urheberrecht: © städtebau

The industrial cities of Ukraine are of young age; most of them have been developed since the late 19th century. Despite that, they display a rich heritage of different architectural styles: Russian style churches, Belgian and French residential houses, neoclassical buildings of 19th and 20th centuries, soviet constructivism as well and postwar modernism.

Despite this variety of styles and cultures, the heritage of Ukrainian industrial cities has never been turned into a tourist attraction, nor have they benefited from the attention of heritage protection organizations. Moreover, degradation and neglect accentuated since 1990s. Many factories were dismantled and their architecture was forever lost. Now this heritage is threatened by war. The more is lost, the less is left for the future.

The talk will focus on two examples: Lisichansk and Mariupol, two cities with a valuable heritage, now under Russian occupation. Their history and development will be analyzed, together with notable examples of architectural heritage. Not least, the talk will also emphasize the extent of the war destruction.

Semen Shyrochyn is architectural historian, and author of “Kyiv: Architectural Guide. 100 Iconic Buildings since 1925“ (DOM publishers)

Meeting-ID: 985 7640 9544 | Code: CBCTLK


28 March 2023, 4pm

CBCTLK#8: Melinda Benkő

Spatial and functional transformations of Budapest’s large housing estates

  Title of CBCTLK8 Urheberrecht: © Melinda Benkő

Budapest’s thirteen large housing estates (LHEs) were realized between 1965-90. Then, following the privatization of their housing stock, different renewal approaches were introduced in the 21st century. As the municipalities own the open spaces between buildings, every district started to manage and develop its housing estates using public funds. Some had “integrated social urban rehabilitation programs” or important urban infrastructure developments co-financed by the EU and the state. But a competition system introduced by the Municipality of Budapest in 2013 generated small, efficient interventions based on the cooperation of the local actors. The lecture focuses on these public programs resulting spatial and functional transformations in LHEs.

Melinda BENKŐ (PhD and habilitation in Architecture) is an Associate Professor at the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Faculty of Architecture, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary. Her research, academic, and professional activities focus on contemporary urban design theory and practice related to urban form and space usage. Living and teaching in Budapest, Ms Benkő participates in international cooperation related to urban housing (UrbAct Re-Block, Cost Action on Middle Class Mass Housing, Docomomo, etc.), and organizes international academic programs in her home university, for example, a doctoral conference series about post-socialist urban heritage.


7 March 2023, 5pm

CBCTLK#7: Vanessa Ziegler

Large Housing Estates in Germany: Recent Challenges and future Perspectives

  Titelbild "Großwohnsiedlungen der Zukunft" Urheberrecht: © RHA

Large housing estates are an integral part of many German cities – built during the post-war period, they were intended to provide the highest possible quality of housing for broad social strata. Today, many people perceive them as stigmatised “problem areas”, and in many cases there is a need for action. At the same time, special qualities are regularly mentioned in surveys with residents. Large housing companies have a special social responsibility with regard to the maintenance and development of their stock. They can influence the social impact of neighbourhoods and thus the quality of life of their residents.

Together with the German Aerospace Centre, the SLU expert office, RWTH Aachen University and REICHER HAASE ASSOZIIERTE we investigated which factors contribute to residential satisfaction and neighbourhood image of large housing estates. We analysed how the neighbourhoods can be further developed and transformed against the backdrop of current urban development challenges. Based on this, we have formulated recommendations for action for the client Vonovia and other housing companies.

Vanessa Ziegler is a spatial planner from Germany and has been working in the office for urban planning and architecture REICHER HAASE ASSOZIIERTE. The focus of her work is on urban development as well as architectural heritage.


7 March 2023, 5pm

CBCTLK#6: Alexey Izosimov

Between education and journalism: how to write about tangible heritage in contemporary Russia?

  Peter and Paul Church on the Volga Bank in Yaroslavl after the repression of the anti-Bolshevik uprising, 1918. Urheberrecht: © pastvu.com

VLESAH-media is an educational and journalistic project in Russian with more than 5,000 readers about the culture of non-capital states in the Russian Federation. With the idea of popularizing the local heritage of the regions, this project was launched in 2020, inspired by the romantic landscapes of the semi-abandoned villages of European Russia with their demolished orthodox monuments. Since then, the Russian government has illegally invaded Ukraine and imposed harsh censorship on media and activists. The conversation about heritage was an opportunity to discuss the difficult past and controversial memories, and thus a periphrasis of reflection on identity and democratic values. How to lead this dialogue today and with whom? Why has it become even more challenging than before February 2022?

About Alexey Izosimov: Born in Moscow, Russia. Bachelor’s degree in history from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow (2015-2019), Master's degree in Medieval Studies from the Sorbonne University in Paris (2019-2021). Visiting researcher at the Ruhr University Bochum in 2022. Since December 2022, research associate at the Leibniz Institute for European History and Culture (GWZO), currently working on Soviet and heritage studies. In 2020, launched the media project VLESAH about regional tangible heritage in Russia.


24. November, 18:00

CBC Talk 5: Jitka Molnárová

Housing Estates between top-down and bottom-up transformations

  Flyer of the fifth CBC Talk Urheberrecht: © städtebau

The issue of housing estate regeneration has been intensively addressed in Western European countries since the late 1980s through very complex, lengthy and financially demanding processes. The question is whether it is possible to achieve similar quality of urban environment in countries with smaller budgets, weaker institutional capacities, different ownership structures and higher shares of housing estates from the overall housing stock, i.e. countries of the post-socialist region.

At the same time, findings collected in twenty-five housing estates across the world show that despite differences in culture, climate or available resources, ordinary citizens in economically and institutionally weaker countries (including the post-socialist region) recognize the same shortcomings of housing estates as urban experts in the West and address them through interventions with spatial characteristics similar to those known from large regeneration projects in western countries.

It is argued that understanding bottom-up strategies through which residents are increasing the quality of the environment in housing estates, despite limited funding and minimal to no support from the government, can become the key to more effective housing regeneration processes in post-socialist countries.

Jitka Molnárová is an architect, a town planner and an urban policy analyst with a focus on housing and urban regeneration in post-socialist and developing countries. As a graduate of Faculty of Architecture of CTU in Prague, she further studied urban governance at Urban School Sciences Po Paris, and at the Faculty of architecture and urbanism PUCP in Lima, where she later worked as a lecturer and researcher. She gained professional experience in France, Peru, Colombia and the Czech Republic. Currently she works on a doctoral thesis about spontaneous transformations of modernist housing estates and designs urban planning and housing estate renewal projects.

Date: Thursday, November 24 at 18:00 (CET)
Meeting-ID: 985 7640 9544 | Code: CBCTLK

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14 September 2022, 6 pm

CBC Talk 4: Prof. Vladimir Paperny

How I was a Designer in the USSR

  Poster des CBC TLK 4 mit Vladimir Paperny Urheberrecht: © Vladimir Paperny

The 4th CBC Talk will be given by Vladimir Paperny, Adjunct Professor at the Department of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures at UCLA. Under the title "How I was a Designer in the USSR", Prof. Paperny will talk about his time at the VNIITE (the All-Union Research Institute of Technical Aesthetic) and the TsNIITIA (Central Research Institute of Theory and History of Architecture, also known as NIITIA, VNIITAG a.o.), where he was a doctoral researcher (aspirant) until 1979, after graduating from the Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Design and Applied Arts. His dissertation thesis, which he would not defend until 2000, was published in 1985 as "Architecture in the Age of Stalin: Culture Two" by Cambridge University Press, to become one of the most iconic books on Soviet architecture.

The lecture is part of the International Research Workshop “Architecture at Work: Institutional Landscapes of Socialist Design and Construction” organized at the Bauhaus-University Weimar.


5. Juli, 18:00

CBC Talk 3: Maria Mikaelyan, Ph.D.

Shaping the Memory: Russian Museums as Political Instruments 

  Flyer CBC Talk 3 Urheberrecht: © Maria Mikaelyan, 2022

Remembrance and commemoration of traumatic historical past have become one of the major issues of the international museological practice over the last decades. By means of architectural and exhibition design, contemporary museums pose questions concerning history, memory, national identity, alternative perceptions of the past and the present.

During the last decade, Russian museums of political history are being exploited by the authorities for shaping an official, state-sponsored memory discourse concerning primarily the Soviet and immediate post-Soviet period. The museum practice is widely used by the state policy makers as a political instrument of primary importance: it is an effective and efficient tool for transmitting specific messages that fit into the ideological framework of Putin’s administration.

The lecture will explore selected case studies addressing dissonant memories and political history in the light of the ongoing nationalization of historical memory started in 2012 and intensified significantly after the Russian invasion in Ukraine in 2022. By using such examples as the GULAG History State Museum in Moscow or the 'Perm-36' memorial, we will trace the process of formation of fundamentally new cultural identities and, specifically, public policies in the field of memory in today’s Russia, which is progressively reviving neo-imperial rhetoric.

Maria Mikaelyan is an art historian and museologist, and a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). During the last 10 years, she has been active in the academic field of architectural and heritage studies. She holds a Ph.D. cum laude received in the program of “Architectural Urban Interior Design” (auid.polimi.it) of Politecnico di Milano (2020). Maria is the author of books «The Museum as a Political Instrument: Post-Soviet Memories and Conflicts» (2022) and «Three Museum Decades: Architectural and Exhibition Design of Contemporary Art Museums in the 1970s–1990s@ [Russian language] (2021).

Date: Tuesday, July 5 at 18:00 (CET)
Meeting-ID: 985 7640 9544 | Code: CBCTLK


24. Mai, 18:00

CBC Talk 2: Daniel Kiss

From Socialist Planning to Investor Urbanism. 
Recent Revival of Socialism's Abandoned Renewal Plans in Budapest.  

  Zsolt Reviczky Urheberrecht: © Zsolt Reviczky, 2009

Based on the case study of a deteriorated neighborhood’s protracted redevelopment in Budapest, this talk will argue that besides the socialist period‘s built legacies, its unrealized plans have also had significant impact on shaping the post-socialist city’s development and remain perceptible until today. While neglecting areas between the historical centers and new satellites, resulting in their decay, socialist planning also provided a model for their blank slate renewal, which ironically made its revival under market conditions in the form of discontextual investor urbanism. The talk will discuss this nexus and introduce the contemporary developments as belated consequences of planning practices under state socialism.

Daniel Kiss (D.Sc. ETH Zurich and M.Arch. Harvard University) is Senior Lecturer in the Network City Landscape, ETH Zurich. His field of expertise comprises theories of urban form, strategic design, as well as the history and theory of planning with focus on the socialist and post-socialist eras. In his book, Modeling Post-Socialist Urbanization: The Case of Budapest (Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 2019) Daniel constructed an explanatory model of post-socialist urbanization, based on the single case study of recent urban development, planning, and governance in Budapest, Hungary. He is co-editor of Relational Theories of Urban Form (Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 2021), a commented anthology outlining the concept of urban form within the relational field of space and agency. Besides his academic affiliation, Daniel is founding partner of the Basel-based architecture and urban design firm XM Architekten.

Date: Tuesday, May 24 at 18:00 (CET)
Meeting-ID: 985 7640 9544 | Code: CBCTLK


11. Februar, 17:30

CBC Talk 1: Identity in Typical 

The past, present, and future of Socialist urban heritage in Russia
Learning from the practitioners’ point of view

  Logo Identity in Typical Urheberrecht: © Identity in Typical

Case Study on Restoring Houses of Culture in Russia

Russian-Dutch team of architects ‘Identity in typical’ is working with one of the most significant types of architectural legacies of Socialism – Houses of Culture (doma kultury in Russian), multifunctional buildings constructed for the leisure and entertainment of the residents of mikrorayony in Soviet cities. Despite its prevalence (there are more than 40,000 such buildings in Russia alone), there is no comprehensive policy regarding their preservation and usage, resulting in buildings being destroyed and their potential not being realized. The talk will document the results of the architects‘ project, focusing not only on the practical ‚architectural‘ side of the development but also sharing their experience of working with local authorities and local communities.

The talk is organized as part of the research project ‘Cities.Buildings.Culture’.



Meeting-ID: 964 0775 4630


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