Shigeru Ban has visited the city of Lviv in western Ukraine twice since the Russian invasion began. The first time, in September last year, “most of the ground floor of buildings was covered by sandbags,” the Japanese architect recalls. “As soon as I checked into my hotel, they showed me the basement shelter in case I had to escape.”
When Ban, 66, returned to Lviv in June this year, the sandbags were mostly gone and he “felt that life was more normalized.” However, soon after, the city was hit by a Russian missile strike that killed 10 civilians, prompting Human Rights Watch to label the attack a “possible war crime.”
“So even on the west side of Ukraine, there is no safe place,” Ban says.