The inspiration for the UFO-shaped Institute of Information, built in Kyiv in 1971, came from the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. But the shape was not only inspired by alien spaceships—it was also designed to be a unique venue for concerts and events.
Florian Yuryev, an artist, architect, inventor, composer, musician, scientist, violinist, poet, and public figure active in Kyiv at the time, wanted to demonstrate the “synthesis of the arts” by combining color, light, and music. He even developed a theory around “color music” and how colors were perceived and could be combined in harmonies. Unfortunately, his work was never officially recognized by the Soviet authorities and the alienesque building was soon used as an ordinary movie theater at the institute.
Today, the intriguing building is threatened by modern shopping malls being built in the area. It has still not gained any official status as a protected architectural monument, and the city of Kyiv claims it doesn’t have any money to repair or maintain it. For a building built during the Soviet era, this poses challenges, as the technology and materials used were of poor quality and the budgets were always small, meaning the structure is in definite need of modern maintenance.
For the time being, the UFO-shaped Institute of Information is still there, squeezed between modern shopping malls. Fortunately, events like the 2017 Kyiv Biennial, which used the structure as a venue, show that there might be a future for the building after all.
Know Before You Go
The Kyiv Institute of Information is right next to the Lybidska metro station.