ERA21 #04/2015 Metropolitan Palaces

kniha editorial

Complex Houses for the Intense City

Yvette Vašourková

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kniha detail

Reconstruction of Zelný trh in Brno »

Tomáš Rusín, Ivan Wahla, Petr Mutina / Atelier RAW /

Zelný trh is a historical square in the center of Brno, originating from the 13th century, with a dominant Baroque fountain Parnas, surrounded by important urban buildings. The aim of the reconstruction was to create clearly urbanized sites with well arranged traffic and pedestrian access that will meet all requirements of a functional central urban area—functioning as a meeting, retail and cultural space. An emphasis was placed on the compactness of the solution—the central area of the square has a clear, uncomplicated shape based on the original shape and classical city-making compositions and scales, it is separated from the pavements by a traffic lane in the form of a roundabout. In the southern and western part it connects to smaller piazzettas planted with trees. Each area is visually distinguished from the others by a different type of surface. There are new lights, seats, fountains, and other street furniture.

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The Painter of Modern Life »

Charles Baudelaire

The crowd is his element, as the air is that of birds and water of fishes. His passion and his profession are to become one flesh with the crowd. For the perfect flaneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world—impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define. The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito. The lover of life makes the whole world his family, just like the lover of the fair sex who builds up his family from all the beautiful women that he has ever found, or that are or are not—to be found; or the lover of pictures who lives in a magical society of dreams painted on canvas. Thus the lover of universal life enters into the crowd as though it were an immense reservoir of electrical energy. Or we might liken him to a mirror as vast as the crowd itself; or to a kaleidoscope gifted with consciousness, responding to each one of its movements and reproducing the multiplicity of life and the flickering grace of all the elements of life... any man who can yet be bored in the heart of the multitude is blockhead? a blockhead? and I despise him!


The Mixed-Use of Buildings is a Precondition of Densified City. Dietmar Eberle Interviewed by Yvette Vašourková »

Why the multi-functionality of buildings is a significant criterion of the contemporary city and why are we once again focusing on permanent structures in the 21st century? And why will the quality of a building be determined in the future by its contribution to the public? About open-program buildings and possibilities of their realization in Europe with professor from ETH Zurich, co-founder of architectonic office Baumschlager Eberle that builds its projects all around Europe and Asia.


About a Long-term Vision Development. Jan Fidler Interviewed by Yvette Vašourková »

Why so many urban developer projects look so much alike? Under which conditions is it possible to build multifunctional urban houses today? Why building standards usually don’t ensure quality but mediocrity? About a long-term vision development and its impact on structures. About the reality of today’s building industry. The experience of a co-founder of a young company, Sebre, which is currently building two metropolitan houses in the center of Prague—Národní Palace and Sweerts-Šporkovský Palace. 

completed project

City Block Archhöfe in Winterthur »

Philipp Brunnschweiler, Matthias Denzler, Amadeus Dorsch, Oliver Erb / BDE Architekten /

The primary program of an object situated directly near the city center is commercial—a shopping mall. Yet the building, also thanks to its prominent location next to the station, significantly effects the public life in Winterthur. It’s large volume adapts to the surrounding development with changeable moulding lines that respond to the different heights of the neighboring houses. Roofed with a system of triangular surfaces, the object hosts various functions: retail, services, and housing. Cut out from the volume, two inner courtyards makes it a hybrid between monolithic solitaire and a classic city block.

completed project

Office and Residential Building Neutorgasse in Vienna »


A new building for retail, office and living is situated in a former quarter for textile production within the central district of Vienna. It spans over three building sites and combines newly‑built structures with a preserved “Gruenderzeit” house. The new building is not created as one big block, but maintains the plot structure and translates its former trichotomy into a new one: new building—fore court—old house. The facade re‑interprets the structured surrounding facades and becomes a new eye‑catcher for the area.


The Sustainable City Is the Adaptable City »

Gerard Maccreanor

One of the key elements of sustainability in building production is the extension of the useful life of buildings. The primary precondition of permanence in today’s increasingly developing world is the ability to adapt to ever-changing functional and operational demands. That involves numerous criteria, such as dimensioning, accepting context, finding the potential of ordinariness, distinguishing the private and public, evolutionary development of experiences, or sense of detail. On the housing, as well as urban scale.

completed project

Europaallee Multifunctional Building E in Zurich »

Caruso St John Architects, Bosshard Vaquer Architekten

Emerging around the Zurich main station, the modern district Europaallee is a key locality for the inner city development. The newly-built development is defined only with basic rules such as maximum size, passages, openings, or daylight. Being the first finished structure in the area, the multifunctional Building E is spread into a five-storey foundation containing commercial space with two apartment towers emerging from it. Its architecture is inspired by classic New York urban buildings from the beginning of the 20th century.

completed project

City House Ban Centar in Zagreb »

Senka Dombi, Svebor Andrijević, Otto Barić

The building fills a gap on a difficult site within a heterogeneous urban structure on the boundary of districts from various evolutionary stages of the city center. It connects to the surrounding built structure both with volume division and façade modulation, and with the combination of several uses in one object. Constructional and arrangement solutions oblige the variability of future uses.


Multifunctional Object Frizz 23 in Berlin »

Matthew Griffin, Britta Jürgens / Deadline Architekten /

An experimental project that will soon enter the realization stage uses local experience with the Baugruppe form of building. It is translated from apartment building to a mixed-use object that hosts a school, offices, studios, creative workshops, shops, restaurants, or housing. Most of the future users-owners are already known and the spaces are adjusted to their needs.


Full House. Mixed-Used Buildings in Czechoslovakia between the Two World Wars—Four Examples from Brno »

Petra Hlaváčková

Between the wars, the city palace in our country was an important construction typology co-forming the lively character of urban centers. Usually it was a part of the built urban structure and its all-day operation was one of the energy sources for the pulsating metropolitan organism. So many mixed‑use structures could be built thanks to the effect of specific social‑political conditions of the First Republic as well as new legislation concerning postwar support of the building industry. City palaces might be often regarded as a capitalistic model, but motivations and reasons for their construction were not always purely commercial. Is it possible, in the current capitalistic situation, to create an environment encouraging the construction of such multi-functional projects?


Mixed-Used Buildings: How They Are Built Today »

Filip Landa

Even today, multifunctional buildings are emerging with their aesthetic related to the modern interpretation of a city palace. We are presenting an overview of exemplary European realizations from the recent past; part of them is already finished and successfully serve their purpose, and part of them will be finished in the near future. Even though the selected buildings vary in details they have one thing in common—they function as a “city within a city”.


Sick Building Syndrome from an Architectural Perspective »

S. Müjdem Vural a Ayşe Balanlı

Along with the increasing complexity of construction and its escalating ambition to meet human needs, certain effects were described in the second half of the 20th century indicating a connection between carefully detailed interior space and health problems of the inhabitants. And so, just like there has been a revision of urban planning and architectonic doctrines betting on perfect planning and experts competence in the last decades, it is necessary to analyze people’s needs and influences that are effecting them in buildings.


Move the City »

Petra Hlaváčková / 4AM Fórum pro architekturu a média /

In June, Brno hosted for the third time an international festival of dance improvisation named Move the City, focusing on movement in the city and the movement interpretation of architectonic space. Under the title Recompose the Experience, this year was dedicated to the changes in experiencing urban space through increased sensory sensitivity. The theme of the first festival in 2012 was Urban Drift—dance expansion into the urban space. It featured a workshop exploring unusual places within the urban structure of contemporary Brno that later served as stages for small dance interventions. Photographs of Jiří Hloušek capture performance in the passage of Komerční banka building in the náměstí Svobody Square.


Sources and Lighting with LED Technology »

Tomáš Sousedík

Just as compact fluorescent tubes have recently almost replaced classic bulb lamps, LED light sources are now experiencing massive popularity. This technology is not as new as it may seem. LED sources have already been applied e.g. in electronics or in the automobile industry where they are used mainly as indicators. But a significant increase of technical parameters enabled the broader use of LED sources. This mainly concerns luminous efficacy, the color rendering index, and lifespan.



A Look into the History of Sanitary Ceramics »

Petr Miklíček

The human relationship to personal hygiene has gone through many changes in history. While in ancient times body cleansing was a natural thing, medieval citizens didn’t care about it so much, but things slightly improved as late as in the Renaissance. Modern society’s relationship to personal hygiene was significantly influenced by the industrial revolution that brought along new materials, products, and possibilities thanks to which bathrooms gradually became a standard in the newly emerging developments of apartment and family houses. In the second half of the 19th century we can already come across equipment similar to what we know it today.


Designblok 2015 Heads to the Holešovice Fairground »

The 17th annual design show, Designblok 2015, taking place in October 22—27, will completely take over the premises of Holešovice fairground and many other places in Prague. Průmyslový palác, built in Art Deco style, the former Spirála Theatre and Lapidárium will introduce top-ranking European designers and a part of the show will also be dedicated to fashion and young talents. The main theme of the exhibition is Freedom.


Self-Construction and Self-Reconstruction at the FOR ARCH Building Trade Fair »

FOR ARCH Building Trade Fair offers each year a wider spectrum of exhibitors and more varied accompanying program. This year, traditionally taking place in PVA EXPO PRAHA in September 15—19, the organizers have prepared another innovation—a two-day conference Self-Construction and Self-Reconstruction that will provide useful tips and information about construction and reconstruction for visitors who don’t want or can’t hire professionals.


Acoustic Parameters of Hole Fillings »

Monika Michálková

Hole fillings are parts of building construction, whether peripheral or internal dividing walls. According to CSN 73 0532, these kinds of construction are subject to requirements for sound insulation based on the type of protected rooms and noise conditions in the affected outdoor or indoor environments.


The Use of Concrete in Modern Architecture »

Jana Margoldová

New museums, theatres, and concert halls try to catch visitors' attention with their appearance, shape, color, façade, or interior elements and tune them in for the emotional experience that awaits them. With its formability, concrete is one of the most suitable building materials for such a use.

completed project

Atrium Family House in Brno-Královo Pole »

Petr Skrušný

The new building is located on the site of a former tennis court that lacked a view of the surrounding nature because it was embedded in a slope and lined with supporting walls. The basis of the concept was therefore an atrium protected from the hustle of the city, defined by a one-storey housing object and a two-storey utility object with wellness, garage, and wine cellar.

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