ERA21 #06/2016 Community Architecture

kniha editorial

What Is Community Architecture? »

Osamu Okamura

Recently, there has been a building surge of new, so-called community centers, and not just in our country. One competition is followed by another. Local administrative representatives compete in who is going to have a more beautiful and more useful building for general purposes. Where does this phenomenon come from when the word “community” still sounds strange in our country?

» entire article


Czech Architecture Award 2016 »

The first year of the competition show Czech Architecture Award, opened to projects finished in the past five years, culminated at the beginning of November. Out of 475 listed projects, the jury selected a house and studio Zen-Houses by Petr Stolín and Alena Mičeková from Liberec. There were seven finalists, the CAA partners awarded two special prizes, and three prizes were awarded for exceptional activity in architecture.


kniha completed project

A Dream Come True. Gulliver Airship – a Space for Contemporary Art and Literature on the Roof of the DOX Center for Contemporary Art »

Leoš Válka, Martin Rajniš, David Kubík

A giant steel-wooden structure inspired by the shape of an airship was built on the roof of the DOX Center for Contemporary Art in Prague at the end of this year. The idea of this parasitic structure contrasting with the stark architecture of DOX reflects the belief that things can be done differently even in today’s globalized world, where it stands that what you can’t count, evaluate, or forecast isn’t worth the risk. The shape of an airship was chosen as it is symbolic of how the first airships represented an optimistic ideal of unprecedented technological progress. They continued to fascinate whole generations with their remarkable monumentality and mesmerizing dignity long after they had disappeared from the sky. Airships embodied the perpetual human desire to fly and a certain utopian ideal. This space will serve for encounters of contemporary art and literature, and the program will expand the exhibitions in DOX characterized by critical reflection of today’s world.

» entire article

Samaritans »

Karel Cudlín

The Samaritans represent one of the oldest and smallest ethnoreligious communities in the world. Their history goes back to 8th and 7th century B.C., however only a few hundred of them remain today. The community is located on two sites in the Holy Land. First, the new center in Holon, near Tel Aviv, and second, the main center near Nablus (Shechem) in the West Bank, at the foot of holy Mount Gerizim, which is the venue of a small annual multi-religious gathering and dialogue among representatives of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and local Samaritans. The event also includes a visit to the Samaritan cave.


Architecture by Itself Isn’t Going to Change Anything. Michal Sulo Interviewed by Peter Szalay »

Miriam Lišková and Michal Sulo’s studio SLLA was founded in 2003 in Barcelona. Today, they are based in Bratislava but they are still active across a wide geographic and professional range – from their masterplan of an urban district in Vienna to a family house for their friends; from a social project of a school in Kenya to a shopping center in Bardejov in eastern Slovakia. In the Czech and Slovak Republics, they gained publicity last year with their realization of Máj Community Center in České Budějovice, listed in most of the competition and architectural reviews in both states. We talked with Michal Sulo about a number of things, not just the work on the community center.

completed project

Open Arms of a Housing Estate. Máj Community Center in České Budějovice »

Michal Sulo, Miriam Lišková, Jozef Skokan / SLLA Architects /

The community center is part of a regeneration of the most populous housing estate in České Budějovice, Máj, from the 1980s. Together with a school building, an insurance company’s administrative building, proposed multifunctional buildings, and the main public area of a market square, it is the core of the whole estate. The building will serve for social services aimed at children and the youth – a nursery, a low-threshold facility for children and the youth, a center for primary prevention, a center for social counselling, and a police station. The cube of the community center is characterized by horizontal terraces running along the perimeter of the building, which vertically extend the square, while a rooftop playground graces the top of the structure. The building is not trying to appear high and mighty with a luxurious rendition or design, on the contrary it rephrases the original materiality of the surrounding housing estate.

completed project

General Store. Municipal Library of Prague Branch and Cultural Center Vozovna in Žižkov »

Roman Brychta, Petr Lešek, Marisa Lechthaler, Bohdana Linhartová, Marek Sankot / Projektil architekti /; ATELIER a05, Hippos design

The new branch of the Municipal Library and Cultural Center of Prague 3 was created by the transformation of a former grocery shop with an unused underground storage in a 1970s-apartment house. The design is based on three premises: clear arrangement, simplicity, and agreeability. While the library uses generous ground floor space, the cultural center is situated in the basement that was newly opened and brightened with a large English courtyard. Both floors are connected with an interior staircase situated near the courtyard façade, simultaneously forming a terraced auditorium and bringing light to the center from the other side. The chosen spatial concept brings an essential quality to the interior – natural light.


From Integration to Diversity. Ursula Struppe Interviewed by Jan Kristek and Karolína Plášková »

Ursula Struppe, Director of the 17th Department for Integration and Diversity of the City of Vienna, realized an internationally recognized project called The Vienna Charter four years ago. Altogether it consisted of 651 discussions organized across all of Vienna’s districts in cooperation with 325 partner organizations. The discussions in pubs, parks, youth centers, offices, and companies were attended by approximately 8,500 participants. The result of this public six-month-long process should be “a set of basic principles of living together and having good neighborly relations.”

completed project

More than a Roof. Cancha – Covered Multifunctional Space and a Playground in Veracruz »

Rozana Montiel, Alin V. Wallach / Rozana Montiel | Estudio de Arquitectura /

Cancha is the public space rehabilitation in a housing area with more than 8,000 dwellings located in the suburbs of the port of Veracruz, Mexico. The area consists of several open areas, never before thought of as public spaces, which became residual. Due to exposure to the elements (sun, heat, rain) an easy-maintenance portico-style cover was designed. The result is a structurally replicable model that responds to sports-use but also to recreational, educational, religious and contemplative uses. The court has become a meeting point for neighbors that works as a community center, housing multiple activities.

completed project

Fostering Culture. Służewiec Cultural Center and Environmental Education Farm in Warsaw »

WWAA, 307kilo

The project, located on the boundary of a housing estate and a park in the wider center of Warsaw, joined the two separate buildings of a cultural house and environmental education farm. With most of the operations situated in the underground floor, the groundfloor level has been treated as an open public space completed with small aboveground buildings of traditional shapes and materials. Their symbolic, even childishly simplified form refers to the not-so-distant character of the locality. Furthermore, the line of perimeter structures is highlighted by fitted, glassed gable walls. The building thus maintains visual contact with the greenery in the park and at the same time allows passers-by to peek inside.

completed project

Rehabilitation of a Suburb. Social and Cultural Center in Nevers »

Vincent Baur, Guillaume Colboc, Gaël Le Nouëne, Aurélie Louesdon, Kit Chung / Ateliers O-S architectes /

The Grande Pâture suburb in Nevers, France has undergone a significant social and urban planning change during the last decade. It included an overall reorganization of public spaces and transportation, renovation of housing stock, and the construction of a social and cultural center for local organizations and inhabitants that would develop the identity and image of the whole district. The building defines the arrangement of a public space bound by the busy Marshal Lyautey Street in the north and the residential development around it. The compact building with an outdoor staircase adds another dimension to the square. The program is organized on two floors around an open-air atrium with a living tree.

completed project

The Youth for the Youth. Bilding – Art and Architecture School in Rapoldi Park in Innsbruck »


As part of their bachelor’s projects, architecture students from Innsbruck University designed a pavilion for Rapoldi Park as a house for creative workshops for children and teenagers. Niklas Nalbach’s project was selected to be realized. The low-cost construction serves as an educational center where local artists work with children of all ages on paintings, drawings, sculptures, design, architecture, film, or new media projects. Primarily, it is a place for socially disadvantaged children.

completed project

Second Wind. Conversion of a Grain Warehouse in Almenar de Soria into a Community and Cultural Center »

Valentín Sanz / LiquenLAV /

An abandoned grain warehouse in a Spanish village called Almenar de Soria got a chance for new life when a part of it was adapted to be a community and cultural center at a minimum cost. In one of the three industrial halls, surfaces were renovated, new lighting was installed, and dividing walls from plywood boards were added. This change, barely visible from outside, created a variable community space which is being used for everything happening in the small village, from council sessions to community meals and dance parties.

completed project

Third Life of One Building. Conversion of a Former Polytechnic Building into Creative Hub WOW Amsterdam »

MMX architecten

The original building of a polytechnic institute from 1968 served as a refugee center from 2000 to 2005. The building’s surroundings had gradually become a problematic, socially excluded locality and the whole compound had to be closed. In 2012–2014, the object was reconstructed for the WOW Amsterdam Foundation. The former school with cafeteria now offers accommodation for talented graduates from art schools and serves as a creative center that has a positive impact on the whole district, which until recently was considered to be the worst location for living in Amsterdam. Despite considerable financial and time limits, the transformation successfully brought new life to the building.

completed project

New Stage. Revitalization of Plaça Raval de Sant Josep in Onda »

El fabricante de espheras

After its revitalization, the Plaça Raval de Sant Josep in Onda, Spain changed from an anonymous parking lot into a lively public space with various cultural and social events taking place. The rediscovered identity is symbolized by a new architectonic piece. The simple steel structure covered with white and black ceramic panels serves as a stage and a court, and as a library. The aim wasn’t to compete with the historical environment but to create a certain neutral level, a foundation that would help people to realize the value of the surrounding buildings. The project is characterized by its innovative attitude to the use of ceramic body, traditional local material, as a representative surface for public areas. The winning design of the architecture competition is a part of a citywide plan for public space renewal in the historical center.


SOKEC – Social-cultural Center in Hrušovany u Brna »

At the beginning of May, a competition was announced on the architectural design for social-cultural center SOKEC on the site of a historical Sokol gym. It is a complex of buildings that has been serving the cultural and athletic communities since its foundation. The aim of the client was to preserve the existing function as a part of the necessary community equipment in the center of the municipality as well as its cultural-historical value. Apart from the building itself, its spatial, operational, and functional arrangement, the design also presumes adaptation of the adjacent premises and connecting public space. The jury assessed thirty competition proposals and awarded three prizes and three bonuses.


Library and Community Center in Úvaly »

In April 2016, a competition was announced for an architectural design of a library and community center in Úvaly. It was a relatively complex task because the assignment required demolition of the existing building at Arnošt z Pardubic Square and constructing the new building in its place, with a connection to the adjacent town hall. The library should become an open space that will bring together the cultural and social life of the town, even late at night. The proposals were supposed to respect economic limits of the inviter with the acquisition costs not exceeding 48 million CZK. The jury assessed 23 competition proposals and awarded a first prize, two third prizes and three bonuses.


Perception. The Exhibition for the Gallery of Contemporary Art / House of Art České Budějovice »

Jan Šépka

The Baroque Samson’s Fountain at Přemysl Otakar II Square is one of the largest fountains in the Czech Republic. It represents an important monument and symbol of the city without which the square would hardly be recognizable for anyone. But the question is whether we are not perceiving dominants unwittingly. We pass them every day and because their value is historically and spatially confirmed, we don’t think about their essence or about the relation to the generous space of the square. On the other side, the first floor of the House of Art offering an attractive art experience is obscured from our vision. An uninformed visitor can hardly find the gallery. The project called Perception tries to point out how we perceive, or rather don’t perceive, dominants and hidden places that are located in the middle of things and offer cultural experience. The point was to disrupt our stereotyped perception of such values and to try to encourage reflection and discussion about these issues.



The Story of the Vinohrady Market Hall That Was Supposed To Be Torn Down a Long Time Ago

Veronika Čáslavská

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