In the mode of classicism: Interior solution for the Zemedelske Museum in Bratislava
By Danica Šoltésová
In recent years, numerous research studies evaluated the architectural work by Milan Michal Harminc. Archive resources however provide us with new materials documenting a broad extent of his creative activities. The article deals with interior spaces of the former Agricultural Museum in Bratislava (today the Slovak National Museum), that was built by Harminc in the years 1924 – 1928. The study refers to interior spaces of the structure that created integral part of the architect ́s complex solution. An analytical approach to description, based on primary research of details in the preserved interiors, as well as research of written archive materials, or pictures of that period, has been accepted. Other materials like unpublished original interior designs, stored in the Department of Architecture, in Archive of the Fine Arts of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava were subject of analysis as well. Harminc, when projecting the museum interiors, applied the means of style, classicized historic style in particular. This style, during the interwar period, had the status of grand manner suitable for official and public buildings. The classicized historic style together with dignity and representativeness reflected the Harminc ́s main artistic and ideological principle: modern official monumentality, present at designing his most important buildings in Bratislava in the 1920ties. This style was reflected already in the architectural concept of the structure as well as in the future interior furnishing planned for the structure of the Agricultural Museum. The representative appearance of the interior spaces was achieved by architecture that stressed classical decorative elements. The stucco reliefs of ceilings with motives of caissons and the rectangular raster of walls with stone facing were framed with more delicate decorative elements. Typical for the decoration were motives of astragal, pilasters and door reveals, decorations of frame posts on furniture. Original drawings include designs of furniture pieces like cabinets, desks, arm chairs and sofas with soft shapes and upholstery intended for individual spaces. The pictures of that time show what the museum social spaces looked like and what were the quality furniture pieces like. The furniture was, for the Museum, produced by a famous Brno furniture factory Thonet. The written archive documents provide information on the used materials and other furnishing objects. The preserved interior of the Museum and the researched documents show that the architect, when designing the furnishing, accurately considered selection of furniture pieces in their relation to purpose of the room. His creative self-confidence contributed to the strength of expression. Subordination of the whole composition to a unified idea of dignity and representativeness, present in all aspects of the structure, was a key to the harmony.
Ordinariness – everydayness – commonplace in architectural thinking
By Martina Nováková
The paper seeks to clarify the ambiguous relationship between architecture and simplicity, ordinariness and banality – more specifically the aspect of how architecture has been inspired by ordinariness. The reasoning behind this argument is that there are many European architects, in whose work it is possible to find very clear and successful tendencies towards ordinariness. However, these architects are not the first ones to adopt this shift to reality and to ordinariness. There are many examples which deliberately highlight this issue in European architecture. The architecture, which is being explored in this paper, is of exceptional quality resulting from the modern understanding of production, tectonic density and compositional strength. It also demonstrates the strong empathy for its local conditions, as well as a confident critical approach to modern avant-garde. It responds to the desire for purity, truth, and often affirms a repressed social and cultural reality. The paper intends to find a common feature in the work of these architects, despite their different educational backgrounds, their work for different offices and clients, their specialization in different building typologies and no conscious alignment to a common manifesto. This leads us to the assumption that the common feature is innate, yet hidden and subconscious. It regularly manifests itself in the ordinary, everyday and even banal commissions received from local clients. These are not only ordinary tasks, but – and therein lies the interest in their work – they also consciously refer to everydayness. These references may be subtle or explicit, and generally fall within the following three most commonly recurring categories: inexpressive architecture or architecture with limited expression; architecture with a material focus; and architecture which has little or no affinity with the classical structure of the city. Although the architecture itself engages with banal, everyday and secondary things, it must be understood that we are unequivocally dealing with architecture. The difference is significant – there is no conciliation between architecture and non-architecture, between art and non-art. If architecture or art shift towards ordinariness, it maintains its status of architecture or art. However, when ordinariness attempts to shift towards architecture or art, the result can be at most kitsch. The presence of this boundary is immutable. It can be moved, alienated and obscured, but never destroyed.
Whiteness in architecture: Mapping of modernism through the research of ‘white walls’
By Liana Rosinová
The identity of modern architecture seems inseparable from the whiteness of its surfaces. But why white? Why do modernists surround themselves with white walls? This paper deals with the phenomenon of white as a framework for portraying the social and cultural development of whiteness throughout history. It outlines a new critical interpretation of the privileging of the colour white in architecture, which distorts the image of white as the peak of purity, morality, evolution, sublimity, silence, etc. The main body of the work deals with a retrieval of many authors who focused on motifs, art programs, and colour schemes that reflected the aspiration of the use of this colour in Modernism. The text focuses at the ideas and performance of selected historical facts and figures, such as the asceticism of J. J. Winckelmann, Le Corbusier ́s Law of Ripolin, elimination of an ornament of A. Loos, white supremacy of A. Ozenfant, which address the issue of white. The task continues on the academic research which examines the social construction of the „white race“ as possessing a privileged social status in reference to race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and to a fact, that modern architecture was never simply white. The aim is to explore cultural-historical-social preference of white only in the narrow, intolerant, and dogmatic attitude and also takes some viewpoints on the topic of whiteness to apprise the current critical understanding of white.
The interpretation of architectural design records
By Valéria Gašparová
Search for and creation of innovative design processes, hybridization of methods and implementation of various imaging and architecture generating media in the design processes – these are some of the key aspects characterizing the current development of architectural design methods. The authorial records are created using a hybrid method combining both non-digital and digital media (drawings/aquarelles and programmed behaviour – script). Drawings/aquarelles represent an initial stage – they serve as a tool to identify different processes taking place in the examined area, in Petržalka, Bratislava. These drawings and aquarelles are characterized by a different relationship with time and from a certain point of view they represent oscillation between the process records and designs – a prediction of possible processes. The authorial design process consists of three phases: transcription of data acquired on site, real-time designing (agent-based modelling method) and interpretation of the results of changes arising from the simulation. The method of agent-based modelling was deployed to reorganize the urban structure. Synergies and unexpected mutual influence of methods in the design process occur when the proposals and presumptions created through the medium of drawings /aquarelle paintings are transformed into the virtual environment, and developed using digital scripting techniques. The second area of future research could be the invasion of the autonomous process of virtual design by author’s interaction. In case of this method, the behaviour of agents is directly influenced by the author’s interaction. This method enables to gain a certain control over the non-deterministic behavior of agents. The results of the submitted thesis can be applied for further conceptualization of design methodological research.