Rebuild the Wonderful is an initiative uniting architects, urban planners, and sociologists who aim to change the current environment that programs antihuman values. The goal of the initiative is to promote human-centric transformations of the socialist inheritance and to redesign public buildings and spaces of former socialist states, not by rejecting their existence but by creating new value for people.

Rebuild the Wonderful explores architecture throughout Eastern and Central Europe, as well as the Balkan countries, serving as a platform and voice for positive transformation.

A single window into the kitchen in a Soviet-era kindergarten can change children's behavior, create new connections, and engage them with reality:

Streets, Homes, Educational Institutions

Rebuild the Wonderful focuses on positive transformation in three key areas: revitalizing streets, redesigning homes, and modernizing educational institutions. By addressing these aspects, the initiative aims to create more humane, functional, and inspiring environments for communities.

Soviet architectural propaganda affects us daily

The Soviet Union's occupation brought socialist ideology and a desire to equalize all people to nearly half of Europe. The years of occupation left an undeniable impact on the spatial planning of cities. Most importantly, socialist ideology was implemented in the built environment, shaping people's behavior. The Soviet Union collapsed, but its architectural propaganda remains, continuing to influence a large portion of Europe's population every day.

The initiative born in Lithuania is open to everyone. It already unites various architects, urbanists, politicians and other activists. We are collecting knowledge & insights to change the existing status-quo. We want to improve our daily lives not only in Lithuania and the Baltic States, but also in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

The scope of initiative

The initiative Rebuild the Wonderful focuses on the post-socialist countries, where same standard living conditions were generated. The scope of research includes: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, East Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Moldova, North Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine. In response to today’s war in Ukraine, the Russian Federation and Belarus were excluded from our research scope.


The Soviet empire exploited everyday architecture for its propaganda, people control, and habit formation. However, even after three decades of freedom, we are still using the same architecture. We continue to prioritize the renovation of homes, streets, and schools based on the same Soviet values, without initiating a fundamental transformation of these spaces. We repaint and insulate walls, put a superficial makeover on schools, and pretend that it is enough. Soviet architectural propaganda continues to hinder the creation of connections between people.

What if our homes and neighborhoods were not soulless?

The features of modern architecture and socialist ideology formed segregation and loneliness among people. The common spaces such as corridors, halls were not programmed to bring people together and did not urge an unintentional encounter. Consequently, the natural connection among people was deleted.

What if all our kindergartens taught us about the comfort and coziness that space can bring?

We conducted research on kindergarten memories across different cities in Lithuania. Respondents were asked to recall their childhood days in kindergarten and draw plans indicating their brightest moments. The results showed a strong correlation between the spatial experiences and the memories of a wide range of people. They commonly drew long corridors and outdoor playgrounds, often forgetting other spaces despite frequenting them. These similarities suggest that people in post-socialist countries share a common memory of spatial experiences, regardless of their city. Unfortunately, we still live in this environment without considering its impact on social interactions.

What if many of our streets were full of life?

The observations of daily life forced us to think about the environment we are living in. Our old cities like Kiev (Ukraine), Vilnius (Lithuania) or Iasi (Romania), have wonderful urban roots. They have grown from handy and practical human architecture which formed everyday habits we admire. However, in the historical process we have inherited either the soviet modernistic formal and anti-human approach which made an impact on our today’s rules, standards, our “normal”.

As a fact, around 50 percent of the whole population in Lithuania lives in blocks of flats from the soviet period. Around 95 percent of the streets and infrastructure were planned in the 2nd half of the last century too. This period in the world’s history is related to the dominance of the Soviet Union, socialist ideology and their desire to equalize all the people. Their propaganda used all possible means to keep a person in the “programmatic” field for as long as possible including architecture. The standard projects were built all over the USSR territory, without any attention to the context and surroundings. Socialist architecture reflects the ideology that forced people to separation, loneliness and dehumanization. Unfortunately, we are still living in this environment without even thinking about its impact on social generosity.