ERA21 #02/2018 Housing Policy

kniha editorial

Housing Policy

Vendula Hnídková

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kniha column

Roman Čerbák

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kniha obituary

Ivan Ruller

Vladimír Šlapeta

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kniha completed project

Peter Lacko, Filip Tittelbach, Adam Kekula, Lenka Dvořáková / A.LT Architekti »

Peter Lacko, Filip Tittelbach, Adam Kekula, Lenka Dvořáková / A.LT Architekti

The apartment building aims to naturally fit into the street front of Koněvova Street in Prague-Žižkov and blend in smoothly with the surroundings. Its character reflects the now disappearing spirit of the Žižkov development with a loose bohemian atmosphere. It might appear a bit retro, but the aim is for it to be contemporary. The plot size for the project was that of two or three typical old apartment buildings in Žižkov. For this reason, the building is divided into two identical volumes, optically differing in façade colors. The main asset of the site is a close proximity of Vítkov Park to the north and of the new bike path built in the place of the former railway tracks. Therefore, a passageway in the ground floor that connects Koněvova Street with the park plays a key role. It also fronts both parts of the building and shields its entrances from the busy road.

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Classic. The Image of an Average Czech Family House 1989–2015 »

Jana Pavlová

“Classic doesn’t pretend. It doesn’t play villa, not to mention a residence. It just wants to be a comfortable family house providing nice living for an average family.” Those are the words of the managing director of one of the many firms that swarmed Czechia in the 1990’s offering turnkey projects. These firms focused mainly on families living in three-bedroom apartments in a housing estate whose price should have, by then, been comparable with the price of a new family house. Thanks to effective prefab construction and with the help of new financial tools in the newly forming economic system, many companies even had the ambition to substitute the missing role of the state by offering cheap housing for families. Not long after the Velvet Revolution, the ownership of a family house was supposed to heighten the feeling of freedom. It also seemed to guarantee a brand-new lifestyle inspired by the Western middle classes, whose social status was, ironically, accomplished by “living on credit.”


Housing Policy in the Czech Lands »

Vendula Hnídková

Housing, especially individual housing, appears to be a highly private matter. It is considered a choice of the individual, a family or a collective. The seemingly private domain is nonetheless constantly influenced by a range of external effects that limit this freedom of choice. The political situation, economic conditions and cultural priorities direct us towards certain forms of housing, that are changing considerably over time. Now, when public attention is nostalgically turning towards the housing estate issue, and with the lack of private ownership of real estate in cities being debated more and more often, we find ourselves at a point where a broad discussion on this topic needs to be opened. For advice, it is good to look back at our own past.


Trends and Cycles of the Real Estate Market in the Context of Economic Development »

Ivana Kubicová

In developed market economies, the real estate market progress is parallel to that of the economic cycle. Regarding cycle establishment, we can say that in Czechia the real estate market is still getting used to market mechanisms. With the end of state-regulated economy, the real estate market went through a transformative period, its after-effects and ongoing adaptation processes now complicate the evaluation of cyclicity of the development. Apart from the supply and demand factors standard for an economic cycle, the development of the residential real estate market is also influenced by long-term factors such as social norms and people’s ideas.

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Manifest of Prefabrication. Apartment Building Sprzeczna 4 in Warsaw »

Jan Belina-Brzozowski, Konrad Grabowiecki, Wojciech Kotecki / BBGK Architekci

The historic Praga district, located on the right bank of the river Vistula, was an independent city until the end of the 18th century. It was heavily damaged during the Second World War and then remained neglected for many decades. Only recently has it begun gradually transforming and becoming a sought-after spot for artists and tourists. The apartment building Sprzeczna 4 aims to rehabilitate prefabrication, compromised (not only) in Poland during the communist era by construction of its massive prefab housing estates, and to offer affordable housing.

completed project

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained. Cooperative Housing Complex wagnisART in Munich »

bogevischs buero, SHAG Schindler Hable Architekten

The orthogonal development of Munich’s new residential district Domagkpark opens up in one spot with a group of irregularly arranged volumes. The wagnis (risk, venture) cooperative, the investor of the community housing project, was granted an exception from the zoning plan and commissioned a design for a set of residential buildings connected by passageways, courtyards, and a system of bridges in the fourth floor. The ground floor occupied by public and communal spaces is followed by residential floors with apartments of varied sizes and financing models. At the top is a bridge-gallery with a community garden.

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More than Housing. Housing Complex Hunziker Areal in Zürich »

Duplex Architekten

Non-profit housing development and cooperative housing have a long tradition in Zürich. The year 2007 marked the 100th anniversary of the partnership of these cooperatives and the city of Zürich. On this occasion an association of over fifty smaller cooperatives was founded and named Mehr als Wohnen (More than housing). Its goal was to foster new forms of living together. These ideas were realized in the housing complex Hunziker Areal, built in place of an old concrete batching plant in the northern part of the city. The authors of the urban design for the new district were Duplex Architekten and Futurafrosch studios, the winners of the architecture competition. Other participants of the competition, including the Swiss architect of Czech origin Miroslav Šik, co-designed the individual buildings.


’Will You Dance with Us?’ Governments and Collaborative Housing »

Anitra Nelson

Three drivers and trajectories characterise the future of collaborative housing, such as eco-cohousing, ecovillages, collectively managed (‘self-managed’) social housing and self-build collectives. The state, the market and grassroots communities play together in complex partnerships that tend to be dominated by a particular actor, especially at distinct stages of their development.


The Role of the State. Jiří Klíma Interviewed by Filip Landa »

The state is an important actor in the upper levels of housing policy. In the case of the Czech Republic, the Ministry for Regional Development is in charge of this domain and has a wide range of tools at its disposal that can influence the quality and accessibility of housing. Among others, its goal is the balanced support of all forms of housing. Recently, a number of social changes has been taking place and achieving these goals has become more and more difficult. In our series of interviews, we couldn’t leave out Jiří Klíma who has been dealing with this issue for almost his entire professional career, and currently is the director of the Department of Housing Policy at the Ministry for Regional Development.


The Role of the City. Lenka Burgerová Interviewed by Vendula Hnídková »

The concrete decisions important for a good, local application of housing policy are made on the level of municipalities. The best way to support affordable housing is well set-up legislation and, above all, political will. Lenka Burgerová, city councilor in the Prague 7 district, knows this very well being architect, historian and politician, all at once. We talked about the problems stemming from a lack of city-owned apartments, about the possibilities of rental and social housing in Prague 7 and the entire capital.


Why Move to the City? Eva Červinková and Martin Kloda Interviewed by Filip Landa »

Successful cities create an notional network of stability and continuity on the continent today. They are the natural centers of the so-called functional metropolitan regions. In the current conditions of “liquid modernity,” their impact and importance extend beyond the administrative borders of regions or countries. One of these cities is Prague. We talked with architects Eva Červinková and Martin Kloda, members of the organizing team behind a series of conferences called Principles of Urban Planning in European Cities in 2016–2017, about the housing situation in the Czech capital and about its ability to compete with other European metropolises.


Construction in Prague. Dušan Kunovský Interviewed by Filip Landa »

Developers are key actors in housing construction today. Their capital is very important if there are to be any new apartments built in Czechia at all. But lasting problems with construction permits for residential development in Prague have long been pushing developers, especially smaller ones, out of the city. Property prices are now a much-talked-about topic, as flats are becoming unaffordable even for the middle class. We talked with Dušan Kunovský, the owner of Central Group developer specializing in housing development, about Prague’s problems and more.

completed project

Spanned by Housing. Residence Sacre Coeur II in Prague »

Jan Schindler, Ludvík Seko, Jana Hamrová, Petra Hlaváčková / Schindler Seko Architekti

The second phase of the mixed-use urban development Sacre Coeur in Prague-Smíchov aims to further rehabilitate the area disturbed in the 1980’s by the construction of the Strahov road tunnel. The simple U-shaped volume fills a vacant lot thus recreating a perimeter block structure while facing a park on its other side. All the apartments available (ranging from studios to 6-room) as well as the rooftop penthouses offer panoramic views of the Prague. The structural design is also noteworthy, the building is in fact a truss bridge above the ceiling of the tunnel tubes.

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Domino. The Apartment House on Francouzská Street in Brno »

Tomáš Rusín, Ivan Wahla / Atelier RAW

The area of the so-called Brno Bronx had long been considered one of the most problematic districts in Brno, not just because of the social mix of its inhabitants but also because of the neglected houses and public spaces. But thanks to good accessibility from the city center and relatively low property prices, this neighborhood has recently become a sought-after residential location for new groups of citizens. Besides restorations, there is also a lot of new development going on. A good example is the new apartment building in Francouzská Street with 22 flats, 4 artist’s studios, and 2 commercial units with parking in the courtyard. The eight-story building is characterized by a segmented façade and moderate black and white colors.

kniha interview

Housing First. Martin Freund Interviewed by Zuzana Morávková »

In February 2016, Brno became the first city in Czechia to launch a pilot project called Rapid Re-Housing, which is a fast form of accommodation for families with children in housing need. The first evaluation last autumn showed an extraordinary success rate and the project received a prestigious European award FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organizations Working with the Homeless) for providing the best housing solution for homeless people in EU in 2010–2017. We talked with Brno municipal representative Martin Freund about this social model, its implementation, and other plans in the domain of social housing.

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completed project

Raised Ground Floor. Social Housing in Los Angeles »

Michael Maltzan Architecture

One hundred residential units for formerly homeless individuals were built in downtown Los Angeles as part of the transformation of an old commercial building. The existing single-story structure was adapted for a new function and extended by four additional stories of residences. The ground floor now houses an onsite medical clinic and headquarters of the social and health services department; in place of the original rooftop parking there is a health and wellness center with a community garden and public spaces. The unique building program sets a new model for urbanism and increased density, the project also introduces a new type of urban space raised above the street level both physically and symbolically.


Living in a Ghetto. Urban Design and Architecture Ideas Competition Luník IX »

Katarína Smatanová

The living conditions for a large number of the marginalized Romanies in Slovakia are still catastrophic. Therefore, social housing remains one of the key themes in architectural debate across the country, even in the 21st century. But the involvement of architects in this type of project has been a long-lasting problem. Significantly, no social housing project has been nominated for any architectural awards in recent years. But news of the architectural competition for Luník IX in Košice shows us that the unfavorable situation doesn’t have to be permanent


’Trainning’. Winner of Superstudio 2018 »

Marek Cehula, Ondrej Jurčo, Anna Longauerová

Superstudio, a conceptual architecture competition for teams of students, is specific because the participants only have 24 hours from the initial assignment to the final presentation. The author of this year’s assignment, a renowned Dutch architect and urban planner Marthijn Pool from Space&Matter studio, focused on the current issue of financially affordable housing in city centers. The task was to design housing in terms of architecture as well as in terms of social and economic aspects. The project called ‘Trainning‘ deals with the possibility to use abandoned railway infrastructure in city centers for the housing and community life of the citizens.


Home Abroad. Exhibition Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country »

Peter Cachola Schmal, Oliver Elser, Anna Scheuermann / Německé muzeum architektury DAM

For the 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice, curators from the German Architecture Museum DAM Frankfurt prepared an exhibition called Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country. The idea for this installation in the German pavilion was born during the turbulent weeks and months of autumn 2015, when thousands of immigrants from the Near East and Africa arrived in the country. The exposition transforms Angela Merkel’s statement “Wir schaffen das!” (We can do it!) into a practical example of how migration can be managed through architecture and urban planning. The theme of the German pavilion was later updated for the exhibition in DAM Frankfurt with the addition of other examples of temporary housing for refugees. This autumn, Goethe‑Institut in Prague in cooperation with the studio of anthropologic research, Anthropictures, will present the Czech version of the exhibition.


Natural Materials and Building Biology

David Eyer


Higher Occupant Comfort Due to Shading Technology

Štěpánka Lubinová


Changes in Regulations and Standards in the Field of Fenestration

Iveta Jiroutová

completed project

Ripple Effect. Mixed-use Building with Rental Apartments in Prague »

David Chromík, Jindřich Brož, Lenka Chromíková, Darina Jasanská, Irma Konečná, Petr Vojáček / CAMA Architekti

A new fifteen-story mixed-use building has been constructed in the Lužiny housing estate, right next to the Luka underground station. All of the public housing estates in Prague 13 are characterized by the large scale grid of prefabricated housing blocks, contrasted by smaller volumes of amenities and sweeping green park areas. The design is a new take on the familiar concept of rental-housing towers as landmarks in the cityscape. The organically shaped setbacks of the upper levels are turned diagonally on the orthogonal base. Two hundred and fifteen rental apartments of different sizes are complemented by shops, wellness and fitness centers, and a restaurant.

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