National festival of architecture took place in Minsk
After an opening ceremony and a short excursion along the exhibition stands I have a question to that I could not find the simple answer: is architector an artist or a builder?

On the one hand, architecture is considered to be art and it means that an architector has the right to be an artist. On the other hand, we would like to see painted projects not only on paper sheets but in form of stone, cement, glass and other construction materials. Othewise, I shall dare to express my doubts if we are able to differ architecture from pictorial art. Everyone could see at the festival nearly one and half thousands of beautiful, stylish and supermodern objects and I would be proud to see many of them incorporated at my city streets.

— Any architector dreams that all his projects are realized, — says Oleg Vorobiev, honored architector of Belarus. — But at the same time this is very important: a man has the possibility not to read a bad book but to force him not to pass near a bad construction — it would be too cruel!
The Italian architector Jenaro Rentzo, the head of a workshop that has its representatives round the world, beleives:

— Your work system of architectors seems unusual for me. My studio does not deal with the projects that certainly will be unrealized, we work in compliance with a certain order only.

At the same time mister Rentza has noticed that he highly estimates art of Belarusian architectors and intends to open a representative office of his workshop in Belarus and to employ our local architectors. The Italian has noticed one more time that the main direction of architecture development in nowdays is its commercialization. At the post-Soviet territory spirituality still exceeds money. Maybe for this reason new Russia tower of 621 metres in Moscow is being constructed not in compliance with a Russian project but with the project of a famous English architector Norman Foster. There is a lot of disputes concerning his work in the world society, but at the same time his office of nearly 800 employees makes such money that Foster does not pay any attention to those rumors.

Our country still managed to resist such commercial temptation, owerwise, we would not have any green zones, parks and big yards in the center of our cities. This is a pleasant peculiarity of Belarusian cities. But, on the other hand, a city has to develop as we should not wear old clothes all the time or ride a horse. How to save our history and legacy along with the growth of urban population that does not want to stand in traffic jams — that is a question for architectors.

And, finally, let’s speak about architecture that concerns all of us — residential. Unfortunately, nearly 80 percents of a big panel house construction does not reflect in the best manner originality of residing residential districts. Sometimes, however, talented architectors managed to transform panel series from mass into original. The honored architector of Belarus Leonard Maskalevich managed to do that at one of Brest microdistricts.

— We force to use the plants’ nomenclature but it is not willing to launch anything new, — Mikhail Goufeld, the main specialist on architecture and construction of “Minskproekt” says. — So an architector has to dodge to built a new architectural type of all he possesses. But at the most time he is not managed to do so and that is why our residential districts look typical. Besides, by the same reason — in order to dilute the boredom of typical houses — we start to paint them in all-raibow coloures — sometimes beautiful and sometimes with lack of taste.

But there is a lot of architectural decisions in the sphere of residual construction. Of course, I have in my mind that they have the cost much bigger than our panel houses but I was leaving the festival of architectural projects with compound feeling: as if I was teased by something but was not allowed to hold it in my hands. But the fact that there are many architectural projects — brave and original — joys my heart. And I’m sure that soon it will come a high time for their realization.

Valeria Stasiuk
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