The origins of the project: the Virtual House of Ukraine

The Cité internationale universitaire de Paris has a long tradition of welcoming refugee students and researchers. As soon as the conflict broke out on 24 February 2022, it set up a system to help residents already on campus who had been affected by the war. As the war dragged on, it became necessary to go beyond this emergency organisation to build a more sustainable welcoming system for Ukrainian university refugees. The Cité internationale therefore came up with a larger-scale project. To finance this project, in April 2022 it asked the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte to design a Virtual House of Ukraine to give an identity to the project to welcome Ukrainian students and researchers to the campus. This collaboration was the starting point for a public appeal campaign that mobilised a large number of companies, individual donors and our partners. Nearly 560,000 euros were raised, making it possible to welcome 180 Ukrainian students, researchers and academics since the beginning of the conflict.

A light-hearted project with a positive outlook for the future

As a concrete response to building the future, the Virtual House of Ukraine has been designed to raise funds and safeguard the future of students, researchers and academics affected by the war in Ukraine, with a medium-term perspective that goes beyond meeting immediate needs.

The virtual House of Ukraine

Illustration de la Maison virtuelle de l’Ukraine

The House of Ukraine is a positive perspective on the future, a highly symbolic virtual project that may be close to reality. The upper, levitating part contains the housing. The two-storey lower part is the educational base, which includes a library, workrooms, an auditorium and a music room. A world has been recreated for students to meet, live and work. Reminiscent of constructivist architecture, the pavilion was designed with volumes and materials that recall the Ukrainian flag. The patio is a reminder of the Cité internationale's openness to the world. The path leading to the house evokes a future perspective.

View of an accommodation

Illustration de la Maison virtuelle de l’Ukraine

The House of Ukraine provides a real place to live and work for students, researchers and academics like the existing pavilions. The accommodation is spacious to accommodate families. The delicate touches of yellow and blue evoke Ukraine in the background. This bright accommodation that evokes hope has been designed in continuity with the values of multiculturalism and openness to the world of the Cité internationale.

View of a common area with piano

Illustration de la Maison virtuelle de l’Ukraine

Like all the houses of the Cité internationale, the House of Ukraine offers a common space with a piano to experience living together, studying, creating or dialoguing.

Jean-Michel Wilmotte

A member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts since 2015 and administrator of the Decorative Arts since 2008, Jean-Michel Wilmotte is an architect, urban planner and designer. In 1975, he founded Wilmotte & Associés, a multinational agency with more than 260 employees of 25 nationalities working on over 100 projects in 30 countries. Both committed to the preservation of architectural heritage and resolutely forward-looking, Jean-Michel Wilmotte shares an approach and savoir-faire with future architects through the Wilmotte Foundation created in 2005. The W Prize is an international competition, which awards the concept of a contemporary grafting around an old building. Wilmotte & Associés has won numerous international awards and has been ranked among the world's top 100 architecture firms since 2010, and will be 56th in 2021, according to a study by the British magazine Building Design.

I couldn't help but accept this project, which appeared to me as an obvious choice. The House of Ukraine is a virtual project, highly symbolic, which evokes the drama of a country I am particularly fond of. I wanted to suggest a place where students could live and work. The House of Ukraine is a positive perspective on the future.
Jean-Michel Wilmotte, architect, President of Wilmotte & Associés
Wilmotte & Associés architectes