REBUILD THE WONDERFUL initiative seeks to mobilize all possible resources for Ukraine’s rapid and effective reconstruction in order to REBUILD WONDERFUL UKRAINE.

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The entire world rallied to aid Ukraine, with Lithuania being one of the foremost supporters. A week after the invasion, the Russians surrounded Mariupol, the tenth largest city in Ukraine. The battle for the city raged for three months, during which it was heavily damaged.

Immediately after, the Ukrainian urban planning firm Big City Lab began planning the reconstruction of Mariupol once Ukraine regained control. This led to the birth of the Mariupol Reborn project idea.

At the same time in Lithuania, architect Gilma Teodora Gylyte, chief architect and co-founder of Do Architects, reflecting on how architects could contribute post-war, proposed compiling a library of positive transformations for Soviet-era kindergartens and schools, drawing from her own experiences. Thus, in March 2022, the idea for the initiative REBUILD THE WONDERFUL was born.

Over two years, the partnership evolved from an idea into projects for transforming five typical Soviet-era schools in Ukraine.

Based on these projects, up to 134 war-affected schools can be renovated. Ukraine chose this strategy of educational building reform, understanding that demolishing old structures and constructing new ones would take longer and cost more, while merely repairing Soviet facilities would confine schools to spaces unsuitable for modern education for another two decades.

The development of architectural transformation projects for schools is being implemented by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science with the support of Metinvest and DTEK, based on concepts developed by Mariupol Reborn in collaboration with the executive partner Big City Lab and the Lithuanian architectural NGO Rebuild the Wonderful, at the initiative of the Vice Prime Minister-Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology Development - Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov.

Principles for Transforming Soviet-Era Schools

The Lithuanian architects' initiative "Rebuild the Wonderful," in collaboration with the Ukrainian government, business representatives, and architectural teams from Lithuania, Estonia, and Hungary, has developed new principles for transforming Ukrainian schools. These 12 value-based principles are part of Ukraine's new school reform, aimed at not only restoring but also restructuring schools across the country. Ukraine will be the first country in Eastern and Central Europe to transform Soviet-era schools based on both technical and value-based requirements.

Soviet schools transformation pilots & manual

The pilot project aims to transform five typical schools in five war-affected regions of Ukraine into humane spaces. This project focuses on the spatial transformation of standard schools, as the majority of schools in Ukraine are built according to typical Soviet designs. After researching the dominant types, five of the most popular designs—Q, H, H3, O, and C—were selected. This transformation will set a new standard for Ukrainian schools, which could be scaled up across the country.

The concepts are based on humane values, emphasizing common gathering spaces, multi-functionality, clear spatial hierarchy, and visual connections as the main spatial tools.

Q type school

O type school

H type school

H3 type school

C type school