Prague prefabs todays eyes

20.05.13

In the Hall of the architects of the Prague Old Town Hall was late May, an exhibition dedicated to the history of Pragues housing estates. The introductory text states that Prague settlements occupy six percent of the total area of the city, which is 200,000 Prague apartment for rent that make up forty percent of the housing stock, the Czech capital. Live in housing estates 470,000 people of Prague, close to half of all residents.

The first vision of houses and entire cities built from standardized components come from the twenties. The left-wing avant-garde in this way trying to resolve the issue of affordable housing in the countryside, unfortunately underestimated some aspects. Indeed, the above quote show Le Corbusier "standard housing estate built by the well-ordered provoked a sense of calm, order and cleanliness and its inhabitants would undoubtedly learned discipline" does not sound very encouraging, especially when we know that today can very easily turn into a modern slums.

Prague prefabs todays eyes

The exhibition is the main settlement files, since the first of the late fifties (preceded by the post-war experiments, such as the settlement Solidarity in Strašnice), through the expansion of the sixties, to the giant housing estate in the north, south and south-west of Prague, whose scale is somewhat got out of common sense. Visitors can view the original, models of urban files, interesting perspective shots treatise for the times the typical dry manner: line drawings with stylized houses, trees and figures, which used to be called quite aptly "ghosts". Despite considerable efficiency graphical presentation, however, these drawings certain allure, of course, only had the artistic talent of the author. And finally there are the photographs made by housing estates. A particular one is showing how the outcome differs from the original vision of designers. On models are still dominants, in contrast to the lower housing, building dimensionally diverse, imaginative concept in green and diverse typology. In addition to residential houses a business and cultural centers, schools, playgrounds, almost everything that belongs in the city (except, perhaps, churches and villas). In an implementation process that often took years, but a number of atypical structures quietly disappeared, as it was not interesting for big companies. No wonder there was talk of "urbanism crane tracks" in which everything somehow stands out, straightens and aligns nicely and architects had to do to save at least some atypical detail, such as the wooden railing balcony.

The initial enthusiasm of modern living gradually faded somewhat. And appeared limits panel technology. These included poor thermal and sound insulation, poor details, pervasive standardization resulted in the outcome of the stereotypical gray structure, which did not save or modern sculpture in the pit. The absence of private property led to the alienation of the population, the area of the house is never really cared ... increased prices of diesel and gasoline in the oil crisis, he became a panel technology unprofitable, because the elements are produced in large panelárnách and then transported long distances to individual buildings. Settlements lacked the amenities, ie shops, services. Monotone urbanism, which repeat the same mass, which moreover do not constitute streets and squares, leading to loss of orientation and result in a sense of frustration. No chance arose in an environment prefab two films showing totalitarianism: The process of Orson Wells novel by Franz Kafka and Orwells famous 1984 opus directed by Michael Radford. Add ultimately we Panelstory Chytilová (in Prague, the film was banned, apparently to its bleakness too demoralized film audiences).

Still, there were exceptions. Look good even today a small building sets from the early panelize: Petra, Red Hill, Malešice, to some extent, Garden City. I went there as a kid for my grandmother. The apartment was comfortable, the room had nice proportions and the people around nicely edited. A block of flats in these estates were not overly large, they still human scale. A few minutes just to come and man was in an old building. Also the most active experimental housing Invalides. Architects Pole, balances ad. managed to maintain older trees, housing supplement of atypical structures, such as the popular house hotel with an aluminum façade or Pragues first supermarket. On the contrary - an example of how the early vision loss and fail to meet reasonable standards does not lead to a good destination, the colossal North and South City. In the 80 years comes to us postmodernism. His asset was an emphasis on classic urban form. Architects Southwest Cities Ivo Oberstein and others are working to restore traditional urban elements: landmarks, axes, squares and streets. Large scale humanizes prefab small architecture - pavilions, terraces, pergolas (some even build your own hands, because of the large construction companies were not such trifles lucrative) for cooperation are putting artists such as Charles Nepraš, Vladimir pretzels, Jaroslav Rona and more. Nevertheless, the outcome of these efforts embarrassed. Even the way some strange romanticization of apartment buildings is not the right way humanization settlements. False roofs, bright colors and tympanum above the input block of flats just will not save.

In 1992, a panel of technology in our country over. It was paradoxically more expensive than conventional buildings of brick, require additional costs for roof insulation, cladding or replacement of corroded pipes. Whether you but think about prefabs anything, they have become a part of virtually all of our cities. They can be repaired if it is called good architect, even visually improve without someone trying to mask their origin. It is good that the current exhibition in the Hall of architects to seek housing estates cadre. Only maps individual files. But it is a beginning of a journey that will continue to be: a high-rises will live for a long time and pay attention to this phenomenon is needed.

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