Clust Space

Smart shelter at Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Library: reading lounge, coworking space and sleeping quarters


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The Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (KPI) Library has unveiled Ukraine’s pioneering smart shelter for students, Clust Space. Chytomo’s correspondent visited the hub and talked to Yevheniia Kulyk, Deputy Director of the KPI Library.


“The KPI Library was chosen among other applicants because libraries are for everyone, it’s about reading, learning, innovation, and development at the same time. The library area was the best fit for such a project,” said Yevheniia Kulyk.



Clust Space is a multifunctional space for coworking, reading, studying, working and developing with built-in shelter capabilities.


“The brilliance of Clust lies in its adaptability since it can be easily transformed from a comfortable and safe shelter into an open educational space, a place for team and individual work, an event venue for lectures, conferences, hackathons, etc,” says the Clust team.



The hub has the following areas:


  • reception area;
  • cafeteria;
  • relaxation zone;
  • a common study/work space convertible into a lecture hall;
  • meetings/events rooms;
  • resident quarters;
  • reading lounge;
  • sleeping quarters;
  • inclusive restroom facilities.



The shelter has two exits: the main one and a backup one. It is also equipped with a ventilation and air conditioning system that will work even in extreme conditions. The Clust team promises that in the event of a chemical or radiation threat, people will be able to stay there safely and comfortably for 72 hours. Additionally, video surveillance is conducted within the premises.


“When there is no air raid alert and the space does not work as a shelter, students can use it for coworking, collaboration, and discussion of ideas and projects. We have ‘meeting rooms’ where you can work independently,” said Yevheniia Kulyk.



With collaborative spaces accommodating up to 20 individuals, the 600-square-meter expanse caters to over 100 users in coworking mode and over 500 in shelter mode.


“There is also a reading area with modern fiction, Ukrainian and foreign literature, nonfiction, modern educational literature, literature for children and adults. All this is in the public domain, so all materials are readily available for KPI students to peruse, borrow, and return at their convenience. During the air alert, everyone can use the shelter and read,” said Yevheniia Kulyk.


Shelter before repairs and recondition.


To find the right book, you can also use the electronic catalog “Catalog+“. This system allows you to search the library’s book collection, which contains more than 2,000,000 copies.


“We’re looking forward to arranging diverse and innovative events, including meetings where our students can engage with responsible businesses to bring their ideas to fruition. Additionally, we’ll be highlighting books of interest to our community. Our commitment to promoting reading is a key aspect of the library’s endeavors,” shared Yevheniia Kulyk.


The library is also set to organize and host events within the smart shelter. Yevheniya Kulyk mentioned that the Clust Space will be the venue for the April III International Scientific and Practical Conference on Strategic Management in War.


“This space is also for reading. We’re considering creating thematic bookshelves featuring recommendations from opinion leaders, publishers, and scientists, among others, etc.,” said Yevhenia Kulyk.


During air alerts, the smart shelter is open to everyone. A button at the entrance allows individuals with limited mobility to call for assistance from staff to access Clust Space. The issue of equipping an appropriate elevator is currently being resolved, enhancing accessibility for those with physical disabilities, as well as individuals carrying luggage or pushing a stroller.


According to Yevheniia Kulyk, the smart shelter was constructed on the site of a former book depository, which had housed outdated literature no longer relevant to educational needs.


The next smart shelter is planned to be opened at the Oles Honchar Dnipro National University. The Clust team disclosed that a KPI alumnus has already contributed the initial $100,000 to launch this project.


“Clust wants to help cities located close to the front line so that young people can continue to study normally, realize their ideas, find support for these ideas and the opportunity to implement them in Ukraine,” added Yevheniia Kulyk.


For non-KPI students seeking access to Clust outside of emergency situations, a subscription model offers day passes and monthly access.


To make efficient use of the space, Clust spaces can be reserved online via the KPI Library website.


Collaborating entities, including CLUST, KPI, KPI Library, Peker&Partners architectural studio, repair and construction company Partner Create, and engineering company Apfel Group have jointly invested $415,000 in realizing the project.


As reported, a shelter in the form of a hobbit’s house was built on the territory of the school in Gostomel.


RELATED: Russian army caused destruction to nearly 700 libraries in Ukraine


Images: Daryna Holovan


Translation: Marta Horishna

Editing: Tanya Mykhaylychenko

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