The aspects of everyday city life: A sociological insight into the city
By Ján Legény
The article provides a sociological insight into the city and its everyday life. As architects and town planners we create a space, the city itself. Lewis Mumford has already stressed that the city and its transformation in time can not be defined by a simple formula. It is necessary to perceive this complex “organism” and respond to its changes in the course of everyday life with a multidisciplinary approach. Criticism of everyday life is necessary in order to prevent degradation of the quality of life, the stagnation of living conditions and the curtailing of utopian human existence. The city is being continuously transformed over the constantly flowing time – during seasons, day and night. One can introduce specific night city labels such as „entertainment zone”, “eat street” or “red-light district”. The article clarifies the fundamental changes of the city are based on social aspects. Gentrification (an act when the middle-class population is moving to the traditional sites of the working class and the traditional (poorer) population is pushed out of them) is one of the characteristic current trends which can be stimulated by supporting the idea of a creative city. The reason is that civic creativity has always been life-giving blood for the city. One of the distinguishing attributes of “everydayness” of the city is the diversity – cultural, social, ethnic, racial etc., therefore the aspect of tolerance, openness, understanding and mutual respect is crucial. The author explains the basis of gender sociology, the behaviour of women in the city or emotional and rational implications of their behaviour on the city (urban tourism and catchwords such as branding and marketing in a city). In this regard, the terms such as “McDonaldization” or “Dysneyization” have been introduced. The notions of remembered city and urban memory have also been explained. The aim of the article is to support a more sensitive perception of everyday life in the city that is extremely important especially for architects and town planners.
The century of construction of aluminium factories case study of Kinlochleven, Žiar nad Hronom and Dunkerque
By Tereza Bartošíková
Nowadays, little attention is paid to the issue of aluminium smelters in the field of industrial heritage protection. This study refers to changes in settlement structures that were associated with the development of the industry. Aluminium plants were selected because of their rapid development and massive spread around the world within a century, and at the same time, because of their vulnerability at present. Three plants built in different parts of the 20th century were chosen for comparison. The plant in Kinlochleven was launched into operation in 1909, the one in Ziar nad Hronom in 1953 and in Dunkerque in 1991, each representing a certain stage in construction and philosophy of aluminium smelters corporate policy. Every industry type has had a major impact on the environment urbanization – the aluminium industry is no exception. Comparing them, the changes that have occurred in the construction of aluminium smelters were highlighted, as well as their impact on the look of the country and on the surrounding settlements. It resulted not only in the establishment of new settlements but also in the extinction of existing settlements. Taking into account history and circumstances related to the formation of aluminium smelters, and their mutual confrontation, the links and relationships between them may be pointed out. The comparison also helps to find their architectural and historical significance. Attention will be paid to three European aluminium plants. Based on the analysis of their construction and influence on the surrounding built-up areas, they will be compared with each other. For the purposes of this work, particular plants, aluminium smelters and carbon factories will be analysed, since they are situated in all selected locations.
The development and application of vegetation elements in historical urban space
By Monika Lachmannova
Plants as the elements of dual nature, which involves the natural (particularly biological) and socio-cultural aspects, are specific composition elements in the historical urban environment. These elements bring to the urban environment dynamics via its continual changing, growth and development, as an essential feature of every living being. In many cases, they play a significant role in the visual perception and overall character of the city and its inner spaces. The extent and individual form of vegetation elements in historical urban places are primarily affected by the historical and urban development and natural conditions of the place. Each era is distinctive by its own interpretation of relationship to nature. History of urbanism does not recognize any era, in which gardens and vegetation elements were not developed together with architecture, or at least, that they were not accepted. From this point of view, each era works with its own representation of natural elements and their specific use in urban environment. Some cities in the Middle Ages did have trees in public open spaces – they were located mostly adjacent to a religious institution or near the city walls. Trees in church squares provided shade for markets, and they carried also various kinds of religious symbolism. However, the usage of trees in urban open space did not alter much from medieval times. Renaissance definitely shifted the meaning of the relationship between man and nature. The most important role played the garden, which gained equal importance as architecture and became an integral part of the building as an extension of the living space. In the second half of the 16th century another considerable step was made – the first plantings of trees occurred on the top of the city walls, as at Lucca, Antwerp and others. The lines of trees were being inserted as isolated elements into the urban landscape in the form of promenades at the edge of the city atop large city walls. During the era of baroque and classicism, new ideas about urban space and urban defence led to new spatial forms for the city, and new ideas in garden design led to innovative uses for trees in cities. It brought further use of a row of the trees in a variety of forms – alleés, mails, cours, boulevards and series of promenades of varying form. In the 18th-century vegetation, elements began to reflect fresh ideas about the nature and rethinking of nature in the cities. The 19th century referred to as “golden age” of gardening with a large scale of plant species in use, is typical for a cosmopolitan mix of landscaped urban forms, amongst all the parks, park squares, promenades and riversides with their variety of forms, were the most important.
Museum quarter as an urban formative core: The urban planning aspects of its development and position in the city grid (a case study of Berlin, Vienna and Budapest spatial models)
By Ekaterina Kochergina
Since the second half of the 20th century museum world has experienced incredible transformation. The increased level of openness both to the society as to the city predicts development of the new scenario of activity and specific planning structure. The deep penetration into the surrounding, the ideological and physical spread on big territories around the city, the high level of interactivity with a consequent rise of public interest in museum institutions – all these processes are closely related to the phenomena of Museum Quarter.
Presenting non analogies artistic environment such cultural complexes become an important urban core and strategic challenge for urban planners, cultural institutions and policy makers. Museum Quarter’s position on the city grid can significantly influence the entire urban structure, boost prosperity of the nearest districts, and provoke socio-cultural and economic sustainable development.
The article describes examples of Museum Quarters in three European capitals – Berlin, Vienna and Budapest. The similar attitude to the placement of Museum Quarter in the urban structure presents one of the most typical urban models of such areas – so called independent core. The analysis of planning structure is given in comparison between these three examples, with an overview of other world famous planning practices. The scale of the whole city is considered in parallel with closer concentration on the site. Historical references, monitoring of the process of development and analysis of planning schemes let to comprehend clearly the urban trends and different aspects of relationships between the Museum Quarter and the city, showing the outstanding potential and positive impact of such cultural complexes.
The current issues in the design of open-plan offices development tendencies in workplace design
By Jana Vinárčiková – Zuzana Humajová
We spend one-third of our day or even more in an office. In spite of this, we live in a society which is more focused on the interior design of residential spaces. We are ready to pay for excellent car design, but we often not willing to admit the fact that we spend much more time in our office than in a car. The office space has a significant influence on our life, even though we are not always aware of it. Offices are nowadays mostly open-plan spaces, the cell-like offices are becoming less common. The open-plan office buildings are nothing new in the architecture as they started to appear in the early 20th century. Their benefits have been emphasized from the time of their beginnings, but their disadvantages have not been sufficiently discussed yet. The issue of open-plan offices presents a big potential with respect to the improvement of the environment in which office workers work every day. It has not been sufficiently explored and there is little attention paid to this problem. The same is true about the design of an individual workstation. In spite of the tendency to create non-territorial, nomadic open-plan offices with no personal working stations, there is still a strong will of the employees to have their own personal space for work – they insist on it as it helps them to identify themselves with space and also with the company. This is the main reason why personal working stations still exist and need to be explored and developed. The article discusses both the historical context and the current knowledge of the issue, however, it is primarily based on the results of the own research realized for the purposes of the PhD thesis of Ing. arch Zuzana Humajová. It examines employees’ preferences in relation to the design of workstations. In relation to the design of workstations, a questionnaire survey was conducted in five open-plan offices in Bratislava and answered by 148 respondents. The majority of respondents spend their working hours in the open-plan offices with quiet activities such as writing, counting, scheduling, etc. A part of the survey was focused on the issues of satisfaction with certain parts of the working stations and further on the question of whether the current state of the working stations fulfils their expectations. According to our survey, the most important issue is the lighting, i.e. the absence of an own lamp which may be regulated according to individual needs. Further, it is the height of the table and its adjustability and then the storage space for a bag or backpack. Based on the results of the survey, which are partially discussed in this article, can be said, that the open-plan offices in Bratislava need to improve or change their interior design and particularly their furnishing systems. According to the results of the survey, we can also infer that there is a need to incorporate more natural elements and colours to the office spaces generally, and also to the workstations. The future design of the work stations in open-plan offices should incorporate these demands and offer several alternatives to the nowadays widely spread but insufficiently variable office furniture. Future studies are needed; it is the only case study of this type and on this issue in Slovakia till now.