Toronto-based firm WZMH Architects wants to help Ukraine repair its war-damaged buildings with modular concrete units made with locally sourced materials. The firm believes its modular approach, known as Speedstac, could be an economical alternative to demolition and rebuilding.



Across Ukraine, the war zone has become disturbingly civilian. Missiles have struck residential buildings—most certainly on purpose—leaving deadly scars in the cities, towns, and lives of everyday people.

Thousands of buildings have been partially or fully destroyed. But Ukraine’s Soviet-era residential architecture, with its blocky, no-frills design, is surprisingly resilient. Even after being partially blown up, these concrete buildings are capable of being repaired. A collaboration between architects in Canada and Ukraine is already developing a plan to rebuild them.
Through a modular construction method called Speedstac, Toronto-based WZMH Architects plans to help Ukraine recover by tearing out damaged parts of apartment buildings and slotting in completely new rooms. Like life-size building blocks, these prefab-modular units would splice into place, grafting new apartments onto old and saving whole buildings from demolition.

Zenon Radewych, principal at WZMH Architects, has been leading the Speedstac project, and he says repairing buildings could be a more economical way to deal with the widespread damage of the war.“The order of magnitude of tearing down all those buildings and building new ones, that’s going to take a lot of time and cost a lot of money,” Radewych says. “It doesn’t make sense to knock everything down and rebuild it.”

Splicing new structures into damaged buildings is less complicated than it sounds, says Radewych, since most of the residential buildings in Ukraine were built with a standard design, and an emphasis on efficiency, out of concrete elements that stack like uniform building blocks, making it feasible to replace a section at a time.