New Interpretation of a Thousand Year Old Tradition

Radoslav Zuk: Ukrainian Churches in Canada, USA and Ukraine

Significant architecture embodies the spirit of its geographic location, the intrinsic character of the people it serves, and the most advanced ideas and technological capabilities of humanity at a given time in history. Therefore, such architecture cannot be impersonal and sterile, nor can it be blatantly eclectic. lt must maintain the substance of a specific cultural tradition, but transform it in a fresh, inventive and relevant form. In its essence, cultural identity is not derived from familiar historical stylistic elements as a Gothic arch or a Baroque dome, but rather from more abstract and basic characteristics such as rhythms and proportions of a building‘s component spaces, masses and planes. Certain proportions or rhythms are more in tune with, and preferred by, a specific cultural temperament than others. Thus, in its one thousand year old history Ukrainian architecture followed contemporary stylistic trends, but according to typically Ukrainian abstract configurations. The splendid Byzantine, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings are experienced as distinctly Ukrainian, in spite of the great stylistic variety of their respective methods of construction, volumetric shapes or types of decoration. The task then is to create an architecture which responds to a specific cultural temperament and tradition, but at the same time is expressive of the given geographic situation and of the dynamism of the contemporary world spirit. The question, therefore, is not which prototype or which stylistic element to select, but rather how to infuse a design, which explores new environmental experiences within the universal cultural context, with those special abstract attributes which will make it meaningful in the most profound -subconsciously sensed – way to a specific cultural group.

But a complete architecture must also have its own autonomous presence. This implies an absolute architectural quality which transcends meaning, time and place, and in its essence constitutes the archetypal „being“ of architecture. lt is inherent in the imaginative and logical conception of each of a building‘s functional, perceptual and tectonic systems, in their coherent integration, and in their proper relation to the immediate environment. lf of a high order, it can by its inevitability enhance human existence, give it new moving insights, and raise it to poetic heights. lt is this quality which distinguishes true vernacular architecture, great historical cities and buildings, as well as the best of our contemporary architecture.


Dienstag 21.05. | 19 Uhr Vernissage
Marina Döring-Williams | Begrüßung
Radoslav Zuk | Einführung und Eröffnung

Mittwoch 22.05. | 18 Uhr Vorträge
Mykola Rybenchuk | „Antique and gothic tradition in
the Ukrainian sacral architecture“
Kateryna Rybenchuk | „Morphogenesis of sacral space
of the Ukrainian Church“
Oresta Remeshylo-Rybchynska | „The unacceptable
revalorization of the sacral architecture in Ukraine“

Donnerstag 23.05. | 18 Uhr Vorträge
Radoslav Zuk | Festvortrag: „The abstract aspects of cultural identity in the Canadian landscape“
Negar Hakim | Impulsvortrag und Moderation: „Symbolism and visual codes in modern sacral architecture“

Freitag 24.05. | Lange Nacht der Kirchen

Samstag 25.05. | 10 Uhr Finissage und Galeriefrühstück
Gumpendorfer Str. 23 1060 Wien
12 – 20 Uhr

Radoslav Zuk

Radoslav Zuk was born in Lubacziw, in 1931. He attended high school and studied music in Graz, and graduated in architecture from McGill University in Montreal with the B.Arch. (with Honours) degree and several prizes, including the Lieutenant Governor‘s Bronze Medal, the Dunlop Travelling Scholarship and the highest award for a graduation design project in Canada, the Pilkington Travelling Scholarship. After travelling in Europe and working in London and Montreal, on such projects as the new US Embassy in London and the new City Hall in Ottawa, he obtained the M.Arch. degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. More recently he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Ukrainian Academy of Art in Kyiv. Radoslav Zuk has taught architecture at the University of Manitoba, the University of Toronto, and at McGill University, where he is an Emeritus Professor and a recipient of the Faculty of Engineering Ida and Samuel Fromson Award for Outstanding Teaching. He has served several times as Head of the State Examination Commission for graduation projects in the Faculty of Architecture of the National Academy of Art and Architecture in Kyiv, and has appeared as a guest lecturer and/ or guest critic at various universities in Canada, the USA, and several European countries, including Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey and Ukraine. Winner and co-winner of several competition prizes, Radoslav Zuk has designed, among other projects, nine Ukrainian churches in North America and one in Ukraine, in association with or as consultant to a number of architectural firms. Most of these buildings have been recognized in the international architectural press, e.g., Architectural Forum, Architectural Review, Baumeister, Domus, Kunst und Kirche, Parametro, Progressive Architecture, and exhibited in North America and Europe. He has served on juries of architectural competitions, and has published articles on design theory, cultural aspects of architecture, and on the relationship between architecture, music and other arts. He is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Society for Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture, a Fellow of the International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics, an Honorary Fellow of the Ukrainian Academy of Architecture, and a Member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in Canada and of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Canada. He has been awarded the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Centennial Medal, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Governor General‘s Medal for Architecture, and the State Prize of Ukraine for Architecture.