Summary of approved PhD theses

Internal development potential of small and medium-sized towns
Ing. arch. Andrea Šeligová, PhD.

This dissertation thesis deals with research into the possibilities of sustainable development of small and medium-sized towns within their internal boundaries. The aim is to prevent urban sprawl, suburbanization and low intensity of land use. The thesis was prepared under the DANUrB INTERREG project, which focused on the evaluation and valorisation of the cultural potential of small and medium-sized towns in the Danube region. By comparing the concepts and visions of sustainable and ecological development principles as well as those of the regulation and planning documentation in Slovakia and abroad, the thesis develops a method of space evaluation and regulation. Such method should help simplify the planning documentation and provide a greater flexibility of the plan itself. The method regulates further town development by defining the maximum (built-up) boundary of a town, while regulating the minimum required public space, thus generating a framework of potentially buildable zones within the inner-city areas. The described method is used in case studies for the towns of Komárno and Štúrovo, taken as examples of small and medium-sized towns in Slovakia.

Construction joint as an activating element of the relationship between man and wood
Mgr. art. Tatiana Lesajová, ArtD.

Traditional wood joints, which have developed for centuries, had their specific function and their own aesthetics. The evolution—the replacement of craft production by the industrial which was more efficient—had a significant impact on the technical and visual quality of woodworking joints. Restoring their original value has become a new goal. This was related to the fact how their aesthetics and other qualities are perceived by the public. The belief that wood joints represent the added value of products—both visual and emotional—has been proven in a series of questionnaire surveys. The thesis suggests how to use the traditional joints in new products and how to design new ones. A decorative joint inspired by traditional craftsmanship was created as well as a catalogue of European and Japanese wood joints focusing on their visual characteristics, in order to encourage designers to incorporate them in current designs.

Mapping of potentials of architectural heritage for the development of historical towns
Ing. arch. Kristína Kiac, PhD.

This dissertation thesis was written as a part of the international project titled DANUrB Intereeg (2017 – 2019). As a member of the Faculty of Architecture of the Slovak University of Technology research team, the student was responsible for mapping the condition of architectural heritage in small towns on the Danube River—Komárno and Štúrovo. The main purpose of the thesis was to map the cultural heritage alongside the Danube and establish a viable Danube promenade, which was to include newly created tourist theme routes for exploring historic monuments. They are available in the PocketGuide app. Another essential part of this project included several meetings at various locations in the Danube region with the intention to learn about the region’s cultural heritage and to develop new contacts for mutual cooperation. The mapping of architectural heritage, communication and cooperation among smaller towns on the Danube pursued the goal of making the area more attractive and helping the development of tourism in selected municipalities. The main field of cultural heritage research was the town of Komárno. There is no doubt about the town’s importance in the European history. Even during the times of Ottoman supremacy, Komárno was considered a strategic point on the Danube River and later during the Russian–Prussian war, the fortress of Komárno offered the final refuge to the emperor. The years after the Second World War until the 1990s brought very difficult times for the fortress of Komárno. It was occupied by the Soviet Army and its values remained hidden from the outside world and the fort gradually deteriorated. Only nowadays the process of uncovering the beauty of this extensive military monument is slowly starting to show the historical interconnections with the town’s core, so-called urban values. Recognition and the right interpretation of heritage values is also crucial in recognising the potential (historical, tourist, economic, etc.) of the historical monument itself. If fully utilised, the monument will take on new significance and the town and its citizens may benefit from its potential. Another aim of the DANUrB project was to indicate the ways and possibilities of how the mapped cultural heritage can be used. Ideas of use were presented via outcomes of architectural studies and model solutions based on various workshops organised in other Danube towns. The author of the thesis actively participated in developing the visions as part of a team of teachers. Engaging the town’s citizens through public presentations and architectural studies exhibitions should spark interest in the public about the environment in which they live and incite their participation in its enhancement.

Keywords: research, PhD students, design, PhD study, urban design, doctoral study, PhD thesis, architecture, FAD STU