By Silvia Bašová
Vivid and bustling city preconditions its further development and is a foundation of a sound urban life. European cities will dominate among the world settlements, from the point of view of a complex urban quality and new urban infrastructure, if they retain the balance of urban factors within the human scale as well in an urban continuous development and a new vitality. Urban vitality should complement the city as well as to be a bonus for local inhabitants and not only in the social sense, but also in the area of a community feel fostering and of integrity with the town they live in. A friendly atmosphere in the town creates relationships among people on the local and regional level; it also forms attractiveness of a settlement and boosts town’s vitality. The vividness of public spaces, especially the squares, is the main magnet for vitality and also for visitors to the town. A precondition for this is a return to a place and its identification, and a return to human scale. Urban vitality – vividness of a city, vitality of the centre, a cultural and social culmination are necessary parameters in the centres of cities. City centre vitality is based on the following: focus on culture, attractiveness, pedestrian movement and human scale; as well as on movement of cyclists, functional variety for multi-generation urban activities, on a participation of inhabitants on a city’s quality improvement, on a varied selection of relaxes activities, artistic and technical activities, etc. To preserve and develop the city’s vitality and its public places is only possible by a layering and a synthesis of the city’s quality in cooperation with its users: inhabitants and visitors, and their active approach to public activities of the town and its social control over the environment of the most significant city structures.
Sustainability of specific landscape elements: A case study of dispersed settlement in the cadastral area of Čadca town
By Ingrid Belčáková, Zuzana Pšenáková
Specific elements in a landscape are significant characteristic features of landscape with a strong effect on local identity and they are a part of historical and existing landscape structure. Despite an insufficient present research they are related to the actual trends in landscape protection and management. This paper deals with characterisation and categorisation of specific elements and describes their effect in socio-historical, environmental and visual context and in the context of an area’s sustainability. There are two main types of specific elements: specific elements of anthropogenic origin and of natural origin. This study focuses on the anthropogenic elements, especially on dispersed settlements. Based on the present practise, we can analyse specific elements as part of other landscape structures – in identification and evaluation of historical landscape structures and in evaluation methodology of characteristic landscape features. A specific type of the rural settlement system in Slovakia, the so-called dispersed settlement, is typical for several regions in the country. This type of settlement, especially in mountainous areas, originates as a result of three colonisation processes: the wallachian in the 15th century, the goral in the 17th century and the kopanitse colonisation in the 19th century; nowadays, the fragments of such settlements can be seen as the small settlement units with unique structure of arable land and grassland. However, many special studies currently focus on this topic, there is no universal methodology of mapping and evaluation of this type of settlement for the use of the regional development and land-use planning. Consequently, we have elaborated a methodological plan how to identify and evaluate dispersed settlement units that could be used as data for consecutive proposal of management. Cadastral area of Čadca town is a model area situated in the Kysuce region and is known for its specific historical landscape structures: dispersed settlement, terraced fields, grassland and non-timber forest vegetation. We have made an inventory of 63 dispersed settlement units and classified them in 5 categories depending on quality attributes. For each category we have proposed a respective way of management. Based on sociological research in the most valuable localities, there were evaluated positives and negatives phenomena that should also serve as the base data for further landscape management to protect and preserve specific elements within an area.
YMCA building in Bratislava
By Magdaléna Kvasnicová
The YMCA building is a former seat of the international youth association YMCA in Czechoslovakia (The Yong Men’s Christian Association) and a heritage site since 2005. The outstanding architecture of this building, its interesting and rich past together with intensive utilization and unclear ownership question its future. The building has been managed since 2008 by the Intenda Association, which presented its interest in bringing the building to prosperity and utilisation for young people. At the occasion of the 90th anniversary of its founding in 2013 the Intenda Association initiated a public competition for preparing an architectural study of its reconstruction and revitalization. The competition pointed out the need of a historical architectural research. Its results have been presented in this article. The construction of the YMCA building for the railway employees started in 1920 and the building was put in usage at the end of 1923. It was designed by the Moravian architect Alois Balán (1891-1960). In the preparation process participated consultants from the USA-YMCA that also funded the major part of the project. Balkan’s design is based on a palace type architecture in rondo-cubistic and neoclassical style with an irregular U-shaped ground plan, a symmetric three-wing layout, with an architecturally significant front wing and hierarchically arranged height of individual levels. Balán modernized the traditional character of the exterior copying historic styles with face brickwork, often used in German and Dutch architecture of that time. The YMCA building has been for more than 90 years a specific phenomenon in public life of Bratislava, not only thanks to its significant architecture forming the ambience of this part of the capital city. It is historically important as a first YMCA building in continental Europe and it is an important symbol as a seat of the Christian association for young men in Czechoslovakia promoting the US-culture and civilisation in Central Europe. Its main contribution belongs to YMCA activities that supported development of Slovak culture, sport (e.g. introducing basketball, volleyball and rugby in Slovakia), charity and social work, Christian and civil activism and education. There are still nowadays many public activities taking place in and around the building. The worn building requires a complex renovation including a necessary modernisation of the old technical infrastructure. The current co-existence of several diverse tenants runs well and is a positive aspect. In order to preserve the building it is essential to regulate the uncontrolled and chaotic interference to the structure. For this purpose a strategy of utilisation of the building has been elaborated that will respect the public principle and model of sustainability for wider cooperation of various institutions.
By Štefan Bekeš, Karol Görner
The paper deals with problems of modern architecture. It provides a review of monument protection and sustainability of 20th century architecture. This problem was the main topic of the international workshop Reworking Detmerode which took place in Wolfsburg (Germany). On the example of a case study represented by student works from the workshop the paper presents the possible methods and approaches to the issue of modernism. Wolfsburg is a young city which has been since its inception linked with modern architecture. The evidence is in numerous buildings designed by leading architects of the Modern Movement such as Hans Sharoun or Alvar Aalto. Life in the city is closely connected to the production of cars in Volkswagen Company and thus strongly based on car traffic and functional segregation. These circumstances let to creation of satellite-towns (housing estates). Housing estate Detmerode built in 1963-1973 was the fi rst of them. This city district has a lot of problems typical for the mass housing, but the fundamental problem is the decrease of population and dependence on inner city and Volkswagen factory. The first student work deals with these issues on urban scale of the whole neighbourhood. The proposal based on the principle of intensification is focused on the energy efficiency and functionality of the housing estate. The other student work focuses on the structure of terraced apartment building “Stufenhochhaus“. The aim of this work is to find the most appropriate form of restoration of this iconic building, to preserve the values and in the same time to adapt it to the present conditions. While the one student work is focused more on innovations and change, the other is focused more on restoration and conservation. However, in the final proposals it comes to a compromise between these two poles. It is clear that nowadays, but especially in the future, it will be crucial to find appropriate balance between authenticity of the building and its economic efficiency in order to ensure sustainability.