Average Place

Maria Khozina (Master in Architecture, Academy of Architecture)graduated with "Average Place: Agency of Architecture in the Authoritarian State." This project delves into the role of an architect and the language of architecture within an authoritarian state. The central inquiry revolves around how architects can leverage their skills and knowledge to contribute to social change, and the role architecture can play on the political agenda.

The project involves integrating elements from the visual arts, considering the utilitarian aspects of architecture, and addressing the constraints faced by architects. A key outcome of the project is the conceptualization of the "Architectural Machine," which serves as a formal embodiment of a social issue.

The project extends beyond the physical manifestation of architecture; it encompasses the formulation of questions and the exploration of suitable language to describe the current state and possibilities of architecture. The intention is to avoid simplistic perceptions that may lead to homogeneity and restrict healthy development. Instead, the project seeks to promote diversity and raise awareness of reality, even if the specific formal results are not yet known.

Maria: "While Average Place is a political issue, it also has personal consequences and implications. It is about grief, the lost feeling of home and belonging. It is about a loss of understanding of one's role as an architect and citizen within their homeland. Through this project, the architect wants to explore how they can engender positive change by using their craft and professional role. This work is not just about traditional design methods; it's about finding a different language of architecture that can be used to explore the possible roles of architecture and to define my role as an architect.     

This project began with an exploration of new relationships between architecture and power in authoritarian states. The project's overarching goal was to explore the potential of architecture to interact with people, examining how architectural tools can engage users in interaction and deepen the comprehension of their experience."

"Maria’s project has an experimental and ambitious character. Especially acknowledging the limitations of architecture in general, the project tried to face contemporary societal challenges head-on, not shying away from a sense of being rather powerless, and address the role of architecture in such circumstances."


Marc Schoonerbeek, mentor Academy of Architecture: "The project by Maria Khozina, deals with the relationship between political agendas and architecture. Initially intended as a project in which Russia’s current political landscape would be centre staged, the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army in February 2022 shifted this focus as the authoritarian political climate in Russia only became stricter, resulting in the ongoing crack-down on any form of resistance or protest.

As the common place goes, architecture has historically had a subservient attitude with respect to the powers in charge. Maria’s project proposes a set of architectural machines that might question this subservience. The intent of the machines is to create a sense of awareness, but also to stimulate critical reflection, independent thinking and a space for self-expression. It has, in other words, wider implications for the architecture discipline."

Anton Schramkov, Architect, Artist, Educator: "In the current moment, when one part of the world is engaged in the wars and the other part is discussing the global warming and ecological emergency, we are often forgetting that the biggest part of human kind is still living in authoritarian states and without knowing and understanding their values all our intentions are useless... In my opinion, one of the most important and strongest features of Maria’s work is that it touches the idea of urgent necessity for architects not to go on just mapping others, hopelessly trying to implement our system of values in to their worlds, cultures, contexts. But to develop a toolbox for understanding each other’s values, behaviour, dreams and desires through accidental engaging with architectural symbols, “Machines”. Those machines by triggering people acting in the space and allowing interactions with them on physical and metaphysical levels suppose to activate our senses and feelings and make us start questioning things “why do we do things the way we do?”.


A project by:

Maria Khozina