Two Books of Related Subject Matter Addressing the Critique of Modernist Views on Design and Architecture

2019, Brno, Books/Pipes Publishing (2nd edition), 327 pp.

2020, Brno, Books/Pipes Publishing, 297 pp.

The Prior Department Store in Košice in the Context of History, Current Structural Alterations and Engaged Preservation

The Prior department store (OD Prior) was constructed in the historic centre of Košice according to the design of Czech architect Růžena Žertová in the 1960s. Not only is it a significant landmark, is also an example of post-World War II architecture that harmoniously coexists with the surrounding historical buildings. During the course of its existence, the store has undergone several structural alterations, yet all the same continues to retain its built qualities, derived from a rational construction system in combination with a sculptural exterior sculptural exterior. A change in the ownership of the building between 2017 and 2018 began a process of the necessary confrontation of opinions of various social groups on the building: its architecture, use, protection, value, and above all, what it should look like. The present contribution uses the example of the Prior department store in Košice to reflect on the given realities affecting the question of institutional heritage protection. No less, it outline possible methods of drawing attention to this architecture in the context of civic activism with expert background.

Community Engagement in the Revitalization Process of Elevated Walkways in Petržalka through Prototyping Solutions for Public Spaces

The present article draws attention to the topic of terrace structures in Petržalka and identifies the reasons behind their current condition. It also maps previous activities in their reconstruction and at the end presents two case studies of community-based projects as an alternative approach. The specific case studies point out opportunities and possible solutions with achieved results, such as connections between problems and solutions. Nevertheless, by explaining and analyzing the outcomes we defend the position of these approaches as useful tools to start and sustain temporary change as a potential concept for planning and accomplishing the necessary thorough reconstruction with a focus on the social, legal, and sustainable urban development aspects.

Campaigning for Postwar Modernist Housing Estates in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Area

Most German large-scale postwar housing estates suffer from a negative image. While many individual buildings from the era are part of the listed cultural heritage today, the estates usually have escaped formal listing even as conservation areas, despite their historic significance being obvious. Although in theory, listing does not depend on public opinion, in practice, it does. Therefore, if these housing estates are to be preserved, not only the listing authorities have to be persuaded to grant statutory protection, but also the general public needs to be convinced that post-war housing estates are worth keeping. To these ends, the Post-War Modernist Housing Research Lab (based at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences) developed a set of activities. Some of them aimed at informing and educating the general public about the historical and societal importance of these large-scale housing estates, others at key stakeholders such as housing associations, building authorities and architects. After almost three years of experience, first conclusions about the impact of these activities can be drawn. In this paper, we firstly explain the specific situation of large-scale housing estates in Germany. Subsequently, we examine how listing and public opinion interact in the context of the German federated states with individual heritage laws, focusing on the state of Hesse, where the Research Lab is located. We then introduce the Research Lab and its research approach as well as the dissemination and education activities developed at the Lab. To conclude we evaluate these activities and discuss implications for future activities of research institutions and universities.

Modern Landscape Concepts in the Early Protection Perspectives: The Professional Positions of the Architect Tibor Farkas and the Landscape Architect Mihály Mőcsényi

The question of the landscape aspect has become more important in heritage protection generally, while yet this possibility has not yet been developed expanded to include in modern heritage protectionas well. The aim of the study is to examine the history of ideas in the landscape interpretation of modern architecture. The analysis compares the perspectives of two pioneer figures in Hungarian professional history, the architect Tibor Farkas and the landscape architect Mihály Mőcsényi. By drawing the a genealogy of planning history, it is possible to explore the genesis of professional perspectives, to branch out into architecture and landscape architecture, and to compare different interpretations of modern landscape protection. 

The Trade Union House / Istropolis: The Birth and Liquidation of an Innovative Generator of Social Life, Culture, and Education

Bratislava’s former Trade Union House [Dom odborov], renamed after 1989 Istropolis, is the largest cultural and social complex in Slovakia. During the past two years, it has been at the centre of unexpected public attention. The reason for this interest lay in the circumstances surrounding its change in ownership, reduction of use, followed by the entire closure of the object and an eventual announcement of its demolition and replacement with new construction. Between 2019 and 2021, the situation set in motion a series of activities hoping to prevent the liquidation of this architectural work and – unusually – brought together the professional academic sphere with engaged members of the public. The present study presents the history of the creation of this noteworthy architectural complex, drawing attention to its innovative urbanistic, typological, and construction solutions. Additionally, it draws attention to the problems facing the evaluation and protection of architectural heritage from the second half of the 20th century. As the authors of the text were active not only in the research but also took a significant public role in defending this architectural achievement, the study also has the ambition of contributing to the discussion on perspectives of engaged research in the fields of the historiography and theory of architecture.

Research, Protection, and Re-Use Possibilities for Post-War Industrial Heritage in the Czech Republic – Current Research and Efforts towards Protection

Industrial architecture built by the second half of the 20th century has already acquired its place in the professional debate on research and protection of industrial heritage. However, industrial buildings from 1950s – 1980s, often architecturally, typologically and technologically very interesting, representing the development of technology industrial efforts of that era, are still only on the fringe of professional interest. However, ongoing research on the architectural heritage of this period shows that the topic is extremely alive and has to do with research and protection of post-war architecture in the Czech Republic generally. The text summarizes current efforts for inventory work, which the authors deal with along multiple lines. It also addresses an essential issue of interpreting general characteristics, without the understanding which it is impossible to further interpret the inventories. And finally, it discusses in more detail the issue of the importance of architectural competitions in design practice. The results should help in the discussion on the recognition, protection, and/or re-use of these buildings.

Conservation Issues of Post-War Modernist Architecture in Poland

The following article addresses a broad spectrum of subjects relating to the protection and conservation of postwar modernist heritage in Poland. It is divided into three sections, each comprising several related aspects of the issue. The first section briefly explores the legal and organisational structure in place for monuments protection. The second section focuses on specific legal problems facing the protection of modernist monuments. The third provides an overview of changes to Poland’s approach regarding the architectural heritage of the postwar era, delving into specific examples and outlining the key processes.

An Inquiry into Intentional Values: The Arenawijk in Antwerp – Renaat Braem’s Modernist Social Housing Ensemble as a Case Study

Renaat Braem’s Arenawijk in Antwerp is a key example of Belgian post-war modernism, representing the development of social housing as a state-building enterprise. Considering the building’s continuous use and current redevelopment, this paper explores the expansion of Belgium’s current legal heritage protection, which is based on heritage values. Additional ‘intentional values’ would focus on the intrinsic meaning of the building and aim to strengthen the building’s heritage values, albeit from a different perspective. A range of strategies, including research-by-design, can uncover the hidden potentialities of the existing building and reveal a variety of options and ideas for change.

One Europe

2017, Bazilej: Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH. 336 p.
ISBN 978-3-0356-1015-4

2017, Bazilej: Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH. 256 p.
ISBN 978-3-0356-1015-1

2017, Bazilej: Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH. 336 p.
ISBN 978-3-0356-1015-8

Hans Karl Stark Notes on the Interwar Aarchitectural Work

The article deals with the work of a less-well- known functionalist architect, Hans Karl Stark, a graduate of the Technical University in Brno. An important creator of the modern Functionalist architecture of Bratislava, he belonged to the cultural circuit of German architects living and working in Slovakia. Information derived from archival documents brings new knowledge and makes the exploration more exact. The research has also confirmed this architect´s authorship of several building in Bratislava and Malacky.

The Acoustical Qualities of Baumhorn’s Synagogues in Slovakia

The buildings designed by Leopold Baumhorn in Slovakia are unique not only for their architectural but also their acoustic features. As synagogues in post-totalitarian Europe, these buildings no longer serve their original intended function and host mostly various cultural and social events. As a result, it is important to investigate their acoustic characteristics. The current study presents the main acoustic features of the Baumhorn synagogues in Nitra, Liptovský Mikuláš, and Lučenec collected during acoustic field research. Additionally, the study points out the importance of preserving this type of information as a form of intangible cultural heritage.

The Critical Potential of “Total Installations” – The Logic of Ilya Kabakov

The critical potential of “total installations”— the logic of Ilya KabakovThis paper focuses on the analysis of the installation Ten Characters by Ilya Kabakov, as this artwork is considered as a crucial instance in interpreting Soviet narratives and figures as a metaphor for life in the Soviet Union. The paper shows that Kabakov draws attention to the consequences of the typical housing structure invented during Socialist regime known as the kommunalka, or communal apartment. In this artwork, he comments on the forms of horizontal supervision that function not only in the communal apartment, but in the wider sphere of Soviet society, and uses the local mentality emphasising the role of social reality.In this respect, the critical potential of this artwork is monitored simultaneously by its challenge to socialist realism on the political level, and its fetishism of neo-avant-garde art on the aesthetic level.

Context in the Works of Nikola Dobrović on the Territory of Herceg Novi

In the conditions of current globalization trends, the creation of a new European political and spatial context and the expression of regional cultural differences, a need has emerged to redefine cultural and urban identity. Spatial-cultural identity is particularly strong in settings enriched by a recognisable geo-climate and cultural and built heritage such as the Adriatic Coast, with specific emphasis on the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska) and Herceg Novi, its largest town. The main subject of the this paper is the architecture of Nikola Dobrović as realised during the 1960s and 1970s in Herceg Novi. Ranging from the first town planning of Herceg Novi, and plans for the central town zone to a large corpus of unaccomplished projects and several realised buildings, it represents an illustrative response to the context and new programme visions. All this work was carried out in the context of the dynamic post-war development of the town and the architectural paradigms valid in that period.The general goal of this paper is to define and explain the character and scope of the works of Nikola Dobrović in Herceg Novi, through analysis of their relation to the regional context. Additionally, a comparison is made with his early contextual sensitivity demonstrated in the project examples of Dubrovnik. The final goal of this paper is to raise awareness of the significance of 20th-century architectural heritage as a valid element of urban identity, a source of inspiration and creativity of future generations, as well as a supply of usable and current project methods in building the urban landscape of a coastal town.

The New Bratislava of Josef Marek

The study represents the urban-planning work of the relatively unknown Moravian-born architect Josef Marek, a pupil of Jan Kotěra and a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. During his years in Slovakia after 1919 up until the end of the 1950s, Marek created an entire series of urban plans, though the form of several of them remains unknown. The present study investigates the competition entries for the urban plan of Bratislava, created within the framework of formulating the interwar ideas of the city’s further development. At the same time, though, they extend into the postwar years, when the city’s development occurred under extremely different political as well as economic conditions. Using Josef Marek as an example, the study uncovers the complexity of investigating the urban development of modern Bratislava.

The Czech Discourse on Regional Planning Between 1945 and 1948

The study focuses on the peak period of Czech regional planning during the short-lived postwar Czechoslovak democracy (between 1945 and 1948). The author examines the attitudes of leading actors of the debate about regional planning, and discusses how their concepts corresponded with the immediate rhetoric of ongoing political, social and economic transformation. Among the leading figures of the debate, the architects Jiří Voženílek and Ladislav Žák stand out as figures whose opposing technocratic and ecological standpoints clashed in 1948. Another crucial figure was the architect and urbanist Emanuel Hruška, the most enthusiastic Czech advocate of regional planning.

The Urban Space of the Migrant Crisis: Analysis of the Spatial Evolution of an Informal Transit Camp in Budapest’s Historic City Centre

From June till September 2015, Baross Square in front of Budapest’s Keleti Railway Station became the temporary living area for thousands of refugees and migrants travelling to Western Europe. This unconventional use of one of the busiest squares in the historic centre gave rise to a new perception of the existing environment. The paper aims to show how the recently renewed, two-level public area gradually transformed into an emergent transit camp. The spatial and temporal evolution of this camp is divided into three successive phases based on the changing roles of formal and informal interventions: an early, unorganised informal stage, a formally controlled stage, and finally an organised informal one. Data gathered from regular on-site fieldwork reveal that the camp space was produced mainly out of reactions to people’s need of temporary shelter, food and information. The different modes of these reactions in the three phases are analysed and visualized throughout the paper.

Microbial Ecologies Exploring Industrial Hemp Behaviour under Artificial Climates (Growing Apparatus)

Microbial Ecologies (ME) is proposing a speculative scenario in which is able to explore new robotic fabrication processes as a framework for investigating the generation of bio-artificial systems. These systems allow us to regenerate polluted and eroded terrains, protect the soil from farther erosion and encourage healthy plant growth using interconnected 3D fibre systems.

Material Moods: Material and Algorithms

The introduction of emergence theory in architecture nearly 10 years ago rapidly changed the field of digital architecture towards process-oriented design. The functioning process of algorithms shifts the designer’s approach to the field away from the modeling (copying) of forms toward their generating. As designers no longer fully control the final shape, the computer and the algorithm become a partner in the design process. The “Material Moods” project applies the logic of algorithms to physical materials and explores the possibilities of this new viewpoint. Its focus on the natural processes in materials reveals new qualities for design, production and a new field of architectural interpretations.

The Smooth Striped City

The main aim of urban design should be to provide as elastic a plan as possible. This plan should define private and public space and allow its users the maximum possibilities and freedom to build. We seek such tools and methods that would be elementary but also sophisticated, which using only a few rules could define coherent and rich environment situations. The smooth and striped methodology could be understood as a bottom-up system which uses the idea of smooth regulations lines (the wooly path) as a rhizomatic street system which generates differentiated urban cells. In these cells, we evolve the solar envelope based on genetic algorithm and solar exposition calculation. Public space is translated as the urban field (S. Allen) to provide better navigation and orientation of users. Hence, the digital possibility of working with an entire part of a city down to the smallest part of the street is the greatest benefit of computer-aided design. Thanks to the generative design, we can share the qualities of the whole with their parts.

From Architecture and Construction to the Planning of Autonomous Processes, Systems and Structures

Studio FLO│W at the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague holds the belief that a digitally-driven architecture should be flexible, interactive and adaptable. The digital revolution, together with the development of new advanced materials, has principally changed the way of planning, directing, controlling and building constructions. Through the creative engagement of algorithms, an architect, a designer or a student can generate endless number of similar structures of buildings, which means a geometrical output of predetermined dimensional, referential and functional dependencies. The aim is to connect people and processes into a single functional organism, which will also engage in lively communication with its environment. Digitally-driven architecture aims at a paradigmatic shift away from static through interactive to adaptable structures and systems sensitive to application of materials and exploitation of natural resources.

The Project “Learning by Doing” at FA CTU

Can you learn architecture without direct experience? In recent years, attention has been paid to the idea of “design-build” projects at schools of architecture, the methodology of which makes it possible to bring students to the reality of architectural practice differently than the simply mediated. Students have the opportunity to create a proposal for a specific situation of a real assignment and to verify its validity both by elaborating an implementation project and mainly by individually formulating the implementation of this proposal. The Faculty of Architecture of the CTU has already successfully implemented several design-build projects in the past and the topic of the teaching methodology of this type has long been devoted to research.