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Look around and move beyond
the discipline.
An interview with Maksym Rohmaniko

Maksym Rokmaniko — architect working in between design, urbanism and research. He is founder and director in Anarchitects, co-founder at DOMA and partner in The Center for Spatial Technologies.
Before the lecture in the frame of CANactions Public Program, he shared his thoughts on what young architects should look for in order to succeed in Ukraine and abroad.
You have been trained in different countries. What is the difference between the approaches to architectural education there? What is worth to apply in Ukraine?

I did my bachelors here and went to the US for masters. The nice thing about Ukrainian education is that it always gives you something to rebel against (not sure if it is productive for most people, but it was for me). I visited many architecture schools around the world and there are all kinds. I think one thing that would be good for Ukrainian students to know is how wildly different architectural education can be, at least in theory.

What skills are becoming more and more important for the architects now?

I think it is important to not follow someone's advice, but to find issues that are worth solving and try to get skills that can help solve that issues. I get asked a lot about what sort of skills are important to get a job in a big office, what software they use and so on and it's totally understandable that those are pertinent questions for young professionals. But I think if one wants to make sure that their expertise is in high demand, they got to look around and try to evaluate what is really needed in the world.

In the end, it is what one can do from outside of architectural discipline that will make their architecture practice stand out, be that programming, writing or politics.
Presentation of Doma:city in the framework of the Copenhagen Architecture Festival.
Photo: Daniel Lupascu
Your project Doma:city is about the ability and willingness of architects to respond to people's needs. How do you define the mission of an architect today?

I don't think DOMA can be directly associated with architecture. It is a response to a problem of housing unaffordability that I would not be asked to work on by a client. And as our worlds get more complex — there will be more and more problems like this — ones impossible to solve from within one discipline. Today the mission of architects is to provide design services for those who have access to big capital. I hope we can find a way to depart from this mission towards a more socially constructive one.

What or who inspires you in architecture?

Keller Easterling

What are you working on now? You mentioned you are among the finalists of housing design competition operated by Strelka KB.

Yes, we are aiming to augment standard design with scaling power of digital technologies. Strelka is working on new standards for housing (in the same manner as they did manuals for streets design) and that project is super relevant for Ukrainian cities in my opinion because they work with the very same urban fabric. So yes, we got to the final of an open international competition that is aimed at helping to further explore that idea of standard design.

Augmented Standard
What will the forthcoming lecture in Kyiv be about?

I will share some more thoughts on issues of architectural production and talk much more on the project of augmenting standard and DOMA.
Text: Olena Vozniak