The new Sans Souci in Iliašovce: Forgotten landscape
By Katarína Kristiánová
In looking at landscapes we perceive their present state first of all. However, some facts in the memory of landscapes are not visible, or are not obvious at the first glance. That is the case of the forgotten landscape – French Baroque-Rococo garden in Iliašovce, in the region of Spiš. The summer residence with the famous garden, built by Count István Csáky and his wife Júlia Erdődy in 1776, was named by their contemporaries the “New Sans Souci”. We know about its original appearance only from literary and archival sources describing the beauties of this garden. The history of decay and destruction of the garden is emblazoned with legends about the end of love and the careless lifestyle of the noble couple. This once famous garden is now an object of interest for garden architecture history as a representative of a French model of Baroque-Rococo gardens in the Slovak territory. Its design was inspired by the famous gardens of that period, such as the garden of the “Chateau Sans Souci” of Frederick the Great in Potsdam. There is not much preserved from the former summer palace and gardens there, but their imprints in the landscape have not yet vanished. Fragments of architecture known from historical maps are still legible in the contemporary landscape in the form of views and sceneries. Their historical and landscape value emphasizes the need to protect and preserve the site and to find new approaches to its presentation.
Ecological authenticity in architecture
By Lukáš Šíp
Ecological architecture, as a relevant attitude towards fundamental principles of architectural design, is still taking shape; the essence and outward forms of this phenomenon are being sought worldwide. For ecological architecture, are typical expression and conceptual subjectivity. That is why there has been a wide spectrum of architectural “genres” and movements associated with this concept; from neo-vernacular and solar to organic or bionic architecture. Experience tells us that when we add any adjective to the word “architecture”, the adjective will then represent some compilation of the external attributes characteristic for this kind of architecture. Nowadays it is relatively simple to identify authentic gothic, renaissance or modern architecture. What kind of form apparatus or set of external attributes is unique to the architecture described as “ecological”? Is it possible to differentiate authentically ecological architecture? Could this lead to the formation of a new aesthetic paradigm in architecture? The primary objective of this article is to illustrate the basic characteristics of a new aesthetical paradigm in architecture by searching for, identifying and analyzing its attributes – those which are already embodied in the contemporary ecological architecture. The main tool for achieving this goal is the formulation of a working hypothesis of the ecological authenticity of architecture, which I have tried to verify by argumentation. The creation of this hypothesis has been evoked by the current discussion about ecological architecture. Its formulation is a result of a logical procedure. In this case we consider logic as a science of correct reasoning. Ecologically sustainable building could have a very specific architectural expression, which could be characterized as genuinely ecological. Resulting from the research is a set of arguments which support the hypothesis claiming that an ecologically authentic look of architecture does exist. If the argumentation is verified, then this argument will become one of the attributes of ecologically authentic architecture. I have identified the following attributes:
Argument / Attribute 01 – Compactness
Argument / Attribute 02 – Horizontality
Argument / Attribute 03 – Natural materials
Intermezzo A – Hi-tech versus low-tech architectural expression
Argument / Attribute 04 – Dominating south glazing
Argument / Attribute 05 – Optimization of glass surfaces
Argument / Attribute 06 – Glass surface shielding
Argument / Attribute 07 – Independent constructions in front of façades
Intermezzo B – Light-weight versus massive construction
Argument / Attribute 08 – Effective disposition
Argument / Attribute 09 – Thermal zoning
Argument / Attribute 10 – Energy interspaces
Intermezzo C – References to valid architectural typology
Argument / Attribute 11 – Straight single-arm staircase
Intermezzo D – Mechanical, electrical and plumbing plans (MEP)
Argument / Attribute 12 – Solar systems integration
Argument / Attribute 13 – Hidden heating system
Some important notes for the conclusion:
The hypothesis of the ecological authenticity of architecture is highly probable. The expression apparatus of ecological architecture consists of a number of identified attributes, and the mutual relations between them. A new aesthetical paradigm within the context of authentically ecological architecture has not emerged as yet.
Landscape memory: Factors influencing changes in landscape
By Miriam Heinrichová
Landscape can be understood as a dynamic system with its own structure and distinct essence. The British historian F. W. Maitland compared it to magic vellum – first covered with writing, after some time erased, and substituted by new writing. These preserved imprints in the landscape represent its memory. They are formed by elements in which the spirit of human activity has been materialized. The preserved overground and underground components with certain features form a landscape identity that bears the specific quality of a civilised country. It is specified mainly by the presence of preserved imprints of cultural and historical development and the unique skyline of the country. Identification of the landscape memory facilitates revealing the relation between man and country, and thus contributes to better understanding of our history.
The essential determinants forming the landscape memory are: country as a bearer of potential, plus man or society as bearers and creators of culture in the country. Natural components are a precondition for development of specific qualities in the landscape. The more natural limitations the country has, the more distinctly man cultivates specific forms of its utilisation. Natural particularities also have an impact on a number of cultural factors, such as population density, economic activities, or cultural progress. Demographic development is one of the factors influencing the utilization of the country, too. However, the volume and intensity of migration are only the basic preconditions for developing the memory of the landscape. Another important factor is the attractiveness of the society’s culture and the extent of its implementation in the landscape. Each community or establishment in this territory represented a certain culture with its technical, social, ideological or other context. Apart from determining an approach towards utilising the given territory, it also specified the intellectual and/or aesthetic attitude of man to the country and its values.
Development of the society was accompanied by development of its culture. The more significant the quantitative or qualitative social and cultural characteristic of a society, the more distinct and sustainable is the interrelationship between man and the country. Such a country retains its original social values over the long term, otherwise the social values are rather vulnerable. A country with a weak expression of cultural characteristics tends more to changes, breaking the interrelations between man and the country and thus degrading its social values. Changes can not be avoided. However, their impact on the future development in the given territory is important.
Social housing in Spain and Slovakia: Comparison in development (1900 – 2010)
By Mercedes Ortego González
The house itself is a complex social element in all the structures that determine it. Obviously the type and level of services offered by housing at the beginning of the 20th century differs from those currently being built in the same locations. The differences do not respond only to developments in technologies, but also to the social sector they are intended for. The field of housing development is wide. It has always been influenced by certain historical events and is related to population migration. It accompanies the development of society and its needs; and is inevitably linked to the development of towns. Social housing is an important part of this area, although the specific term “social housing” cannot be easily defined. What exactly do we mean by the term “social housing”? In this case we consider as social housing any construction with a certain state involvement. This means buildings for housing built with the state as the main investor. The comparison between the developments of such types of housing in two different countries can show us how diverse approaches to social housing can be in various countries. Do they offer the same solutions to similar problems? Is global history determining the same housing developments in different countries? Social housing has always represented a “laboratory of ideas.” To provide necessary housing for a large number of people has always been a challenge for architects. It is said that in our towns we can read our history. In the development of our social housing we can read at which points various societies differ.
Housing for seniors: Current trends in nursing home design
By Daniel Szabó
The phenomenon of an aging population in developed countries is becoming a society-wide issue. It needs to be addressed interdepartmentally through lifelong education, focusing on health issues, as well as long-term care for the elderly and other forms of social services. For this reason, nursing homes offering long-term care for seniors represent a current issue in architecture. At present, there is growing dissatisfaction with facilities for the elderly which were built in the past and no longer meet today’s needs. Most of these facilities have an institutional character and do not respect individual needs and privacy. Furthermore, many recent studies suggest that up to about 90 percent of people older than 50 years want to stay in their homes for life and do not want to move to a nursing home unless they are forced to. These problems lead to new trends and changes in the design of facilities for seniors. This paper briefly describes trends in development of nursing homes since the mid-19th century, while mapping progress and changes in approach of society to care for the elderly as well as its practical impact on the design and operation of these facilities. The following is a description of current trends in the design of nursing homes which clearly shows a gradual reduction of size and convergence with the home-like environment, not only from the architectural and typological perspective, but also in terms of service. We can also see a clear trend of keeping seniors in their homes for as long as possible. In cases where it is not possible to keep them at homes for health reasons, there is an attempt to at least house them in their natural community.