Architectural Office DAGOpen Claims Top Spot in the Architectural Competition for the Standard Design of Family-Type Small Group Homes for Ukraine

Today, the winners of the architectural competition for a standard design of Ukrainian family-type small group homes were announced. The competition welcomed 17 designs, making it the largest Estonian-Ukrainian architectural collaboration to date. First place was awarded to the design, “Hata”, from DAGOpen OÜ. Second place went to the design, “Ruut”, from the Molumba architecture office, and third place was awarded to the design, “Krestiki Noliki”, from members of the creative team at KUU Architects. An honourable mention was presented to the design, “Segasumm”, submitted by a collaborative team from the offices of KOKO Architects and Drozdov & Partners.


“I am very glad that the winning design has been inspired by the architecture of Ukraine, and is based on the best European practices. It is  greatly symbolic that such spaces designed by Estonian architects take into account the cultural context of Ukraine and add value to the environment. These architects have demonstrated that informed spatial decisions can be made even when attending to crisis projects, and that this does not have to incur significant additional costs,” said Minister of Culture Heidy Purga.

“At this time, there are nearly 25,000 children living as orphans in Ukraine, many of whom have been left without parents due to the war. Providing a safe and nurturing environment for these children, in this time of war, is a huge challenge for Ukraine, and Estonia is ready to help. The competition gave us a great opportunity to create, in cooperation with Estonian and Ukrainian architects, a new family-type small group home that is suitable for construction throughout Ukraine. This way, we are able to support both Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts and its aspirations to join the European Union,” explained Andrea Kivi, Acting Executive Director of ESTDEV.

“Open architectural competitions are very important for Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts, as they present the best opportunity to both create a high-quality living environment and offer an effective way to prevent corruption,” said Andro Mänd, President of the Union of Estonian Architects.

“The very idea of this competition, with the desire to implement the best project at its core, has evoked great respect and gratitude. It was entirely captivating to study and compare the designs that were submitted, each of which was highly professional and unique. I am certain that any of the presented projects could be implemented in Ukraine. However, as in every competition, there are works that stand out for their greater artistic expression, professionalism, and use of the principles of sustainable development. These were the projects determined to be the most outstanding,” said jury member Olena Oliynyk, from the Union of Architects of Ukraine.

An honourable mention was awarded to the design, “Segasumm”, which was submitted by a collaborative team from the offices of KOKO Architects and Drozdov & Partners. The honourable mention was presented and funded by Thermory AS. In addition, the jury also recognized three other designs for their added value: “Kalyna_8”, from the Eek & Mutso Architecture Office, “Kalyna_16”, from AB Standup OÜ, and “HUBA”, from the architectural and engineering bureau, Sirkel & Mall.

“There were several designs that explored the ways that a spatial environment can provide children with a sense of security, help them cope with trauma, and create a supportive setting for growth. Spaces have a big impact, and the architecture of a building determines whether it feels like an institution or a home. With the honorable mention, we chose to highlight the design ‘Segasumm’, because of the ways in which it used architecture to address the theme of coping with war trauma and restoring childhood to children,” said jury member Johanna Jõekalda.

An Overview of the Top Three Designs:

“HATA”, from DAGOpen OÜ, created by Oleksii Volodymyrovych Pakhomov, Jaan Kuusemets, Anna Solts, and Oksana Buziak – This design creates a powerful sense of space and gives the bright and safe feeling of home. The building resembles a traditional Ukrainian dwelling in form and layout, yet is crafted in a modern way. The building can be constructed as a prefabricated house, but does not have the overall appearance of one. The design covers a wide range of principles of the Davos’ Baukultur Quality System, ensuring that children can grow up in a diverse and high-quality spatial environment.

“Ruut”, from Molumba, created by Karli Luik, Johan Tali, Oksana Šapovska, Maryna Kharlampova, and Harri Kaplan – The “Ruut” design has an excellent layout and avoids the use of corridor-based compartmentalisation. Instead, the common area, which runs through the entire house, creates a spatially diverse living area, allowing children of different ages and interests to spend their personal time unimpeded. The house can be prefabricated and fits well into the context of a crisis.

“Krestiki Noliki”, from KUU Architects, created by Joel Kopli and Anastasiya Klimentyeva – This design offers a diverse interior with minimal yet well-chosen components and offers children of different ages the possibility of quiet privacy, exemplified by the library area. The building has a clear and compact layout, is ideally feasible, and fits well into the crisis context.

Photos from the event and the designs are available HERE.

The architectural competition to find a standard project for modern family-type small group homes to be built in Ukraine was organised by the Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV), the Union of Estonian Architects (EAL), and the Ministry of Culture. This architectural competition is part of a larger cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and ESTDEV, the aim of which is to ensure that the principles of high-quality spatial culture outlined by the Davos’ Baukultur Quality System are followed throughout the reconstruction of Ukraine.

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Estonian Centre for International Development is a government foundation that manages and implements Estonia’s participation in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid projects, with the aim of increasing Estonia’s contribution to global security and sustainable development.