On June 15-19, 2022, the 7th International Meeting of the European Architectural History Network (EAHN) took place in Madrid. After several years, the community of architectural historians returned to its usual format of the Biennale. The School of Architecture of the Madrid Polytechnic hosted this event. The conference brings together experts from 30 countries to discuss current challenges and prospects in the history of architecture as a research field and discipline. Panel and roundtable topics covered various aspects of the history of architecture, with a focus on approaches and methods in the context of postcolonial discourse, new methodologies driven by technology and social media, and urban representations of gender and marginality. Blocks of historiography and architectural criticism this time raised the question of the relationship and contradiction between history and historical criticism, between history and the history of architecture.
A series of round tables was held within the conference, including a discussion “Voices from Ukraine: War, Heritage, Reconstruction“. Iryna Matsevko added to the topic of post-World War II reconstruction experiences in Europe the topic of architectural education and its importance for developing critical and sensitive approaches to working with the damaged and destroyed heritage of postwar cities. Why are heritage studies important for the education of architects? What methods do architectural schools develop to incorporate intangible aspects of heritage into studio projects and the design process itself? What approaches dominate in Ukrainian universities and why is it important to review them? How does the USSR work with the approaches of critical heritage studies on the example of the Kharkiv Atlas? And what challenges will the professional environment and young architects face after the war, comprehending the “inconvenient” heritage of Ukrainian cities. An environment of architectural historians was invited to discuss these issues.
Palace of Labor in Kharkiv, photo by Vasili Golosonov