Slava Balbek

Architect, humanitarian
Slava Balbek's work illuminates how architecture can heal in war-time conditions.

Why you should listen

Slava Balbek is a Ukrainian architect and the founder and CEO of balbek bureau, an award-winning architecture and interior design studio. He also founded the propro furniture brand, co-owns three cafes in Kyiv and is a sports enthusiast. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he maintained a work-life balance by designing restaurants and hotels while preparing for the next Ironman triathlon, as well as was planning a trip to Antarctica to complete a polar art installation (and did complete this trip a year later!).
Now, Balbek maintains a war-work-life balance by managing his business, crafting nonprofit architectural initiatives and volunteering on the frontline as a UAV pilot. A key insight from his wartime experience: even temporary solutions should be dignified. And it is this exact notion that his team based their RE:Ukraine System projects upon, including designing a comfortable temporary housing system (called RE:Ukraine Housing) for internally displaced persons, to help uprooted people restore their sense of home and reintegrate into the community. They also created RE:Ukraine Villages, an online tool making rural housing restoration accessible to smaller households. As a Ukrainian, Balbek believes one should envision the future even in the darkest times. As an architect, he knows that the projects his team creates will help his people heal and get through these times with their heads held up high.

Slava Balbek’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Slava Balbek


Flipside futures: The talks of TED@BCG 2023

November 16, 2023

Today is good, but tomorrow can always be better. There are new possibilities for our future if we use our uniquely human creativity. In a day of talks and performances, 16 leading minds gathered to flip expected thinking on its head and map out how we might build a brighter future. The event: TED@BCG: Flipside […]

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