Prefabricated Elements used to Embellish Facades on the Main Boulevard, Ostrava-Poruba

Photo: Tomasz Wagner

The vision of the socialist city on the example of Nová Ostrava

Nová Ostrava, later called Ostrava-Poruba, is the most notable example of a new industrial city founded and constructed in the period of early socialism in Czechoslovakia after World War II. The particular mode of architectural forms, which is strongly evident in the plans of the new city and significantly affected its initial part constructed between 1951 – 1956, was already, at the time of its creation, known Socialist Realism. The architecture of Czechoslovakia in the first half of the 1950s has still not been clearly evaluated and accepted, even though it has already become in some cases the subject of heritage conservation. Contradictory views are also encountered in the scholarly evaluation of Socialist Realism, and its inclusion in the development of Czechoslovak and European architecture from the beginning of this debate post1989. As an important industrial hub of Czechoslovakia, the city of Ostrava was significantly damaged by military action at the end of World War II. After the war, it was necessary to repair and complete the missing ats quickly, yet also to replace the substandard housing in the workers’ colonies of many industrial plants. Gradually, the spontaneous construction of residential houses in the vicinity of factories gave way to strict construction plans of housing estates located outside the polluted industrial environment and coal reserves. This trend, based on the functionalist foundations laid out in the Athens Charter, eventually prevailed and established the requirement for a clear separation of housing from heavy industry. For decades now, this trend has shaped the face of the city, addressing part of the city’s problems at the time of construction yet also generating new problems to be faced by today’s generation. The first completed construction of new ats located according to plan in appropriate locations of the city was represented by the Model Housing Estate Belský les, where work began in 1946. The housing estate was supposed to be built within a two-year plan and serve as a model for other housing estate projects. Its concept was derived from the prewar tradition of functionalist urban planning and the specific architectural design of individual buildings. After 1950, the amount of construction was limited and the design projects for additional buildings were already in uenced by Socialist Historicism. …

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