Letters to the Mayor: Mariupol

October 23rd – November 13th, 2015



#letterstothemayor     #letterstothemayormariupol     @storefrontnyc


Storefront presents Letters to the Mayor: Mariupol as part of the global Letters to the Mayor project. Each iteration presents a collection of letters by more than 100 architects, addressing the most pressing issues facing their city. 


The city of Mariupol was chosen as the site for the project immediately in advance of its elections. It is one of several cities in Ukraine facing the challenges of rebuilding and reimagining itself while facing intense and ongoing conflict due to its strategic location. IZOLYATSIA’s temporary “Office of the Mayor” is symbolically located near the City Hall building that was destroyed during conflict involving separatists. Letters to the Mayor: Mariupol invited the following architects to write to Mayor of Mariupol:



Krists Erstsons, Lucia Maffei, Francisco Lobo & Romea Muryn, Ludmila Malokutsk, Rick Rowbotham, Paul Jones, Aleksandr Manukyans, Anatoliy Berdugin, Andrey Kadyrov, Danielle Rosales & Robin Coenen, Keller Easterling, Liva Dudareva and Eduardo Cassina (METASITU), Mike Lawless, Nick Dunn, Rachel Armstrong, Rick Rowbotham, Yaroslav Yakovlev, Stanislav Kosonogov, Anastasiia Ponomareva





Local Curator



Mayoral Desk Design

The Mayoral Desk is designed to reflect the organizer’s perspectives of the plushness and privilege of city bureaucracy in Mariupol, with a salon chair for the mayor and furry chairs and a desk for industry lobbyists and oligarchs.


Architect’s Table Design

This simple and unadorned small wooden desk is located in the corner of the room, physically and symbolically outside the field of influence of political power. It position represents the state of architecture in the city, with only five official architects registered in Mariupol.


Wallpaper Design

Designed by Marina Samokhina, a visual and graphic artist born in Horlivka who now resides in Kyiv, the wallpaper is created in “Old Soviet Style,” and features imagery of the heavy industry that pollutes the city, along with nautical motif that refer to its position on the sea. The symbol of buoys represents a gesture to save a drowning city, plagued by the loss of business, identity, hope, and a significant portion of its population.





Letters to the Mayor is an itinerant exhibition that displays real letters written by architects to their city mayors. Initiated by Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2014, the project has traveled to more than 15 cities across the globe, including Bogota, Mexico City, Athens, Panama City, Taipei, Mariupol, Madrid, Lisbon, and Buenos Aires, among others. See here for a list of iterations.  


Letters to the Mayor invites 100 architects in each city to write a letter to their mayor as a means of bringing innovative ideas and visions of the city closer to the decision-makers, and vice versa.


Throughout history, architects have engaged with this responsibility and the structures of economic, political, and cultural power in different ways and with varying degrees of success. With the rise of globalization and the homogenization of the contemporary city, the role of the architect in the political arena has often been relegated to answering questions that others have asked. 


Letters to the Mayor questions this dynamic, and invites local and global architects to deliver their thoughts directly to the desks of elected officials, and simultaneously into the public consciousness.





Letters to the Mayor is part of Storefront for Art and Architecture’s initiative Architecture Conflicts, a project with the purpose of identifying pressing issues, ongoing conflicts, and design solutions in relation to the most important urban problems today. Architecture Conflicts is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.