Kyiv Court Stops Demolition of Iconic Building Based on Copyright Infringement

Sep 2 2021 - 13:12

A Kyiv district court recently prohibited the demolition of the well-known Kvity Ukrayiny (Flowers of Ukraine) building in central Kyiv, citing that the real estate developer infringed the copyright of Ukrainian architect Mykola Levchuk who designed the building in 1985.

This unique historical building is known for its cascading shape with a facade covered in 30-year-old grapevines and an atrium featuring stained-glass windows. The building initially accommodated the largest Kyiv flower shop, a glass house, a plant research center and an exhibition hall. Following Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the building was mostly leased to small enterprises, until it was acquired by a real estate developer who intended to replace the modernist Kvity Ukrayiny by a contemporary office building.

Under Ukrainian copyright law, architects may preserve the structural integrity of buildings they designed and are entitled to oppose any interference with the building which might damage their reputation.

The real estate developer who acquired the building began dismantling the facade on July 12, 2021 without prior approval from the architect. On the same day, a group of activists and local residents broke into the construction site and halted the demolition.

Mr. Levchuk’s representatives are planning to initiate a claim to conserve the architectural design and recover the damages. On July 13, 2021, they requested the prohibition of further work on the site while the case is being prepared and considered by the court. On the same day, the court put a lien on the property, marking the first time in Ukrainian urban development that the court ordered a developer to stop the demolition based on architectural copyright infringement.

On August 3, 2021, Kyiv City State Administration’s Cultural Heritage Protection Department included the Kvity Ukrayiny building on the list of the capital’s cultural heritage sites. The real estate developer is now required to obtain a building permit from the authorities. Until then, any work on the site is prohibited.

Prepared by: Valentyna Martynenko

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Source: Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design online magazine

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