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MOT project by balbek bureau to compete for European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture

The MOT cultural space created by balbek bureau and the don’t Take Fake team has been nominated for the European Union’s main architectural prize — Mies van der Rohe Awards (EUmies Awards). The prize has been awarded since 1988 to commend excellence in ‘conceptual, social, cultural and technical terms’

In total, 362 projects from 38 European countries, including 11 Ukrainian ones, are competing for the award of 60 thousand EUR.

This time, the jury focused on projects that resonate with the European Union’s ‘Green Deal’, which aims to transform Europe into a climate-neutral continent by 2050.

In January 2024, the 40 best projects will be chosen from 362 projects to select the EUmies Awards finalists in February. The award ceremony will take place in April 2024.

MOT design features

MOT is a two-story structure covering an area of 417 square meters, built from 27 metal modules. They can be disassembled, transported and reassembled in less than 10 days. Up to 100 people can be inside MOT simultaneously. The space contains several differently-sized rooms.

Thanks to the low ceiling (which in separate modules does not exceed 2.3 meters), MOT retains a certain sense of pressure and discomfort, similar to what people feel when taking cover during an air alarm. On the other hand, the main exhibition area is an open space with a height of over 4 meters, which the visitor does not expect to see when looking at the structure from the outside.

It took eight months for balbek bureau and the technical team of don’t Take Fake to turn a set of containers into a full-fledged space equipped with autonomous lighting, heating, ventilation and water drainage systems. The interior and some of the furniture were made using, among other things, steel sheets from Mariupol’s Azovstal plant and the llich Iron & Steel Works, which were devastated in the battles for Mariupol.


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Допис, поширений balbek bureau (@balbekbureau)

‘For us, this architecture is like a three-dimensional temporal plane. You see different architecture from different angles every time — that’s the moment of temporality. It’s a fascinating project, for me as well. It’s a project that I’ve devoted a large part of my conscious architectural practice to. I started my practice 15 years ago, and I’ve been working on this project for 10 years. You can imagine how important it is to finish it’, architect Slava Balbek told DTF Magazine.

In his opinion, container architecture is unique in that it has no expiration date: ‘It’s what was 25 years ago and will be 100 years from now’.

Slava Balbek: ‘Container architecture is what we see in films about the future and what was in the past’

On October 8, MOT completed a tour of Ukraine in Lviv, accumulating more than nine million UAH in a special fund to rebuild cultural institutions damaged by russia’s full-scale invasion.

Until December 1, 2023 art institutions affected by russian aggression can apply for financial assistance from the MOT project. Here we told you who can do it and how.

Design partner —
Development — Mixis