Kyiv’s Unusual Coworking Spaces — Exploring a Detention Centre, Saint Sophia Cathedral, and a Car Park

13 Лютого 2023, 12:32
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Юлія Ткач

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After massive Russian shelling and damage to critical infrastructure in Ukraine, we noticed a trend towards ‘Points of invincibility’ — improvised coworking spaces popping up throughout the country. Vector editorial team decided to experience this new phenomenon for ourselves, so we visited the pre-trial detention center, market mall on the Left Bank of Dnipro, Silpo Car Park, and even a coworking space within the Consistory of the National Conservation Area “St. Sophia of Kyiv.”

Disclaimer: We’d like to share our experiences with having backup options when the power goes out and there’s no electricity, no network, and sometimes even no internet. It’s not offered as criticism but rather as a way to help those in similar situations.

Pre-trial Detention Centre at Lukianivska Prison 

  • Address: 13 Dehtiarivska, near Lukianivska metro station.
  • Cost: free.
  • Working hours: 24 hours a day.
  • Number of seats: 10.

“— Good morning. I’m here to pass on a package! — Name?”

“— Hi there, I have a daughter staying here, and we have some important matters to discuss – it is time for us to finalize the division of our property. I would also like to see her. She has already been sentenced and is awaiting a ‘transfer.’ 

— Write an application”.

Did you catch the vibe of the “Point of invincibility” in the capital’s pre-trial detention center? It is located outside the secure area of the Kyiv pre-trial detention facility in a room specifically set aside to receive citizens.

“Good afternoon,” I say as well. But not to the woman on duty behind the window but to the friendly manager of the ‘Point of invincibility.’ “Can I work in here?”. I’m allowed. Not only did they provide me with an opportunity to work, but also a place to recharge and warm up.

General Atmosphere

Despite being situated right at the entrance, ‘The Point’ was warm when I spent 2.5 hours in the detention center. No one else had come to the pre-trial detention facility for the ‘Point of Invincibility,’ but there were plenty of people lining up to use it as intended. Ten armchairs were provided with plaids, and a table was set with tea, coffee, biscuits, and waffles — a cooler held both hot and cold water. The United News (Yedyni Novyny) TV marathon was played on television.

Internet and Charging

  • Internet. During my stay, the WiFi with the name “SIZO_FREE” was consistently stable and had a fast connection. The speed test showed an average of 27 Mbit/s for downloading and 32 Mbit/s for uploading data, respectively, which was enough for my usual activities such as writing and formatting texts, using messengers, etc.
  • Charging. Extension cords are provided for the convenience of visitors.
  • Alternative Power Supply. I no longer find the generator indoors, as pictured on the detention center’s official Facebook page. It appears that, following humorous remarks from users, it was moved away. 

When I messaged our editor-in-chief at nine in the morning, saying, “I’m in the detention center! Hey”, he didn’t pay attention to the order of words and was understandably panicked. Anybody would be scared if they were in his shoes. 

On occasion, I even wished that a scene from ‘Shantaram’ where the main character breaks out of prison wouldn’t be replicated here. Of course, Lukianivka isn’t a prison, but it’s quite similar — one must agree. Despite the employees being friendly and helpful, the “Point of Invincibility” at this detention facility is not suitable for those who are vulnerable.


  • Address: Lisova metro station, 1a Magnitogorska Street, Kyiv.
  • Cost: free.
  • Working hours: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM.
  • Number of seats: 1000.

68,000 square meters, 7 Starlink terminals and generators with a combined capacity of 2 MW — it’s quite an impressive facility. And at the start of 2021, the Darynok Market Mall (right next to the Lisova Metro Station) opened up the City of Invincibility. The mall is self-contained, meaning it can operate without interruption, even in case of a full blackout. It’s almost like they thought of everything — there’s even a changing room for visitors, considering its proximity to residential areas.

My working day starts at nine in the morning. And if you think I started working there on time – be patient to read the rest. 

As soon as I found out about the opening hours at the City of Invincibility — 10 AM sharp — it seemed like waiting around was no longer an option… That was until an air raid alert went off right at 9:07 AM and lasted until around 10:55 AM. This obviously meant that neither Darynok nor City was open for visitors during this time. So I made it to my temporary place of work after the alarm was over. 

Now one thing at a time:

General Atmosphere

I didn’t go back to the ‘City’ after the lunch break, so I can’t say anything about occupancy during the day. At the time of my visit, there were up to 30 guests in the hall. From my observations, most of those present were students who had come there to make sure they didn’t miss their lectures and seminars.

Working and recharging locations are scattered throughout the mall between the shopping aisles, with 1,000 spaces available. The biggest space is located in a hall that was formerly used for clothing sales; it provided tables, ordinary and stylized wooden pallets to sit on for those looking for more comfort whilst working. 

Although the hall wasn’t too loud, an annoying hum pervaded the air nonetheless. As soon as this hum died down it became cooler, likely due to the heating system in use at the time. For this reason, many of those present were wearing their outerwear despite the fact that people wouldn’t usually do so when indoors. I suspect that had the place been busier, then it would have been warmer overall.

When I visited there were up to 30 guests present, most of them students who had come specifically to make sure they didn’t miss their lectures and seminars. I didn’t go back to the ‘City’ after the lunch break, so it’s uncertain how full the hall got during the day.

Internet and Charging

  • Internet. Our speed test revealed an average of 34.4 Mbit/s for downloading and 63.3 Mbit/s for uploading data – which was more than sufficient for my needs.
  • Charging. Every table has an extension cord, making it very practical. They’re all in good condition and there’s enough of them.
  • Alternative Power Supply. As you approach ‘Darynok,’ you’ll hear the loud hum of the big generators. Workers there say that they haven’t failed them yet.

Coffee And Other Goodies

Tables for table tennis were provided in the hall, with plenty of people taking advantage of them. However, the water coolers only had cold water, and there were no tea bags or instant coffee available. Despite the lack of amenities, there are plenty of food courts near the market mall that could be accessed if needed. But it wouldn’t be as convenient since you’d have to lug around your laptop and other belongings – not ideal for a quick snack break.

The City of Invincibility also caters to pet owners. There’s an area designated for dog walking outside Darynok’s walls, next to Art Factory Platform, which is pointed out on the organizers’ website. To add to the convenience, there’s even a TV marathon-friendly areas with TV sets within the hall.

“Sophia of Kyiv” 

  • Address: 24 Volodymyrska Street (near Zoloti Vorota metro station).
  • Cost: 100 UAH/hour or a weekly subscription can be purchased.
  • Working hours: from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays.
  • Number of seats: 20.

No, the aroma of incense and the solemnity of the Divine Liturgy weren’t reaching me. But, with a touch of humor, it was decided to set up a coworking space on the premises of the Consistory of the National Conservation Area “St Sophia of Kyiv.”

As visitor numbers to this national reserve have declined, they chose one of its floors — namely ‘Sofit’ — to establish said space. You can buy tickets online and then use them to scan at the entrance.

General Atmosphere

The building was originally built between 1722 and 1730 to accommodate the bakery of the St. Sophia Monastery. But today, it is a newly refurbished and decorated haven of comfort and warmth, making it the perfect place to work. I arrived at 8:50am and the security guard happily showed me where to go — on the fourth floor.

Internet and Charging

  • Internet. As part of an editorial experiment, I visited several locations and this one had the best internet connection rate. The speed test showed an average of 61.7 Mbit/s for downloading and 53.3 Mbit/s for uploading.
  • Charging. The sockets and extension cords were plentiful and in good condition.· Alternative Power Supply. The consistory has an uninterrupted power supply.

Coffee And Other Goodies

There is tea, coffee, and a cooler with drinking water. A special kudos to our SMM girl Polina Rusakova for the white walls, against which it is convenient to shoot content for social media. 

There is a café on the ground floor of the building. In addition, the Sofit has a separate room where you can hold a call or a meeting. I would like to finish my story about this place by mentioning the dormer windows, which subjectively made a pleasant impression on me.

Important: In contrast to the other members of our experiment, this is a paid-for coworking space, making it unfair and difficult to compare it with other establishments.

Car coworking 

  • Address: 12-A Berezneva Str.
  • Cost: free.
  • Working hours: it depends on how long you can endure working in the car.

Vector Media believes that if you love to write news, you should also test it on yourself. At the end of December 2020, Silpo launched an auto-working service in Kyiv. We, Editor Yulia Tkach, Riana Abdulaieva, and Sales Director Kateryna Gulak, went there to experience it ourselves. Let’s take a look!

General Atmosphere

Silpo’s auto-coworking is aptly named for its Starlink feature that provides an internet connection. The atmosphere of the workspace depends on what type of vehicle you decided to work from – we were the only ones at the car park who chose to use a car. We made sure our car was kept warm since it got quite cold outside. Overall we found plenty of parking spaces available upon arrival.

Internet and Charging

· There are only two options to recharge: from your car or head over to the Silpo area, which has five tables equipped with power outlets.

Connection, the Internet. When we conducted a speed test on the Internet connection at Silpo, the results showed an average of 6.8 Mbit/s for downloading and 5.6 Mbit/s for uploading data. Unfortunately, this was not fast enough, as I was having difficulty completing my work tasks due to slow loading of pages.

Alternative Power Supply. The supermarket has a generator.

If you’re feeling peckish while in the car but don’t want to get out, you can place an order through the store’s app and have it delivered right to your car — just scan the QR code located on the big banner. 

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