After War: New Architectural Landscapes and Public Spaces of Ruined Cities

17 March

16.00 CET/18.00 MSK

"Risen from the ashes": the old image and the new Grozny

Dr. Taus Serganova, journalist, Grozny

Grozny has celebrated its 200th anniversary. In those two centuries we have seen the history of the fortress founded in 1818 by General Yermolov, the history of the industrial center of the USSR, razed to the ground at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, and a new city reborn from the ashes with eclectic architecture in which no traces of past wars have been found. The new architectural solutions have combined the old appearance and the new image of the modern capital of the Chechen Republic, a city for the young, for the representatives of the post-war generation.

"From scratch": urban planning of the cities after the Second Karabakh War

Elchin T. Aliyev, architect, member of the Azerbaijan Union of Architects

After the 44-day Second Karabakh War, Azerbaijan regained jurisdiction over an area containing hundreds of ruined towns and villages. These include the two major cities of Shusha and Agdam. While landmines are being cleared, the principles of settlement reconstruction, the preservation of architectural landscapes and features, the problems of urban identity, and the creation of “smart” settlements are the main issues of public concern. The country has a unique chance to build from scratch modern cities designed for tomorrow's inhabitants. Will this chance be used?

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The reconstruction of cities in Eastern and Central Europe that followed the collapse of the USSR was driven by dramatic social and political transformations. But the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Socialist Bloc was also accompanied by bloody armed conflicts, as a result of which some cities were almost completely destroyed. For example, during the post-Soviet years the city of Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic, was nearly ruined and later rebuilt. The entirely destroyed city of Aghdam or Shusha, which came under Azerbaijani control during the Second Karabakh War, has yet to be rebuilt.
On the example of war-torn cities, we want to discuss how their reconstruction took place, how the memory of the war was integrated into new architectural landscapes and public spaces, and what was preserved (restored) from the old city. How the memory of war is reflected not in monuments, but in the urban architectural landscapes (destroyed, reconstructed, and newly created).
In the discussion, we intend to focus on various issues and aspects of the reconstruction of architectural landscapes and public spaces in the cities damaged during the wars and armed conflicts.

In the discussions we would like to emphasize the following questions and topics:

How is the memory of war reflected in new architectural landscapes and public spaces?

How were urban regeneration plans created; who are the main social and political actors with the power to create and implement them?

How do these projects take into account (or not) pre-war landscapes and planning?

Rebuilding or building a new city? Is the reconstruction of a ruined city an opportunity for creating a new modern landscape and infrastructure, or a plan for its regeneration?

What are the specifics of planning of public spaces in war-torn cities?

For both talks, simultaneous translation from Russian into English is provided.

For any questions please feel free to contact info@cisr-berlin.org