ERA21 #03/2019 Representation of Power

kniha editorial

Representation of Power

Michaela Janečková

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kniha completed project

Introvert. A Shop in Seč »

Jan Žalský, Vít Podráský, Lenka Milerová, Lukáš Koubek, Monika Jasioková / žalský architekt

The final design concept for a shop on the edge of a housing estate in Seč, East Bohemia, was the result of an all-day intensive studio workshop which examined dozens of alternatives. A prototype of this typology was already built in the nearby city of Heřmanův Městec, but here an apartment for the retailer was added. The shop is modelled after typical barn buildings – structures built on the outskirts of settlements – hence the distinct tall roof, the symmetrical front façades and the image of a house closed, oriented inside, because context doesn’t allow otherwise. As in other supermarkets there are no shop windows, just a glazed entrance. Full walls are necessary for displaying the goods. The top light filtering through the cluster of tie beams is the one special feature that gives the interior its atmosphere. The structural tectonics are visible on the outside as well as the inside; the materials used are informal.

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The Oval Offices »

Nicolas Grospierre

The Oval Offices is a photographic enquiry into the life-size replicas of the office of the President of the United States. There are over twenty five replicas of the Oval Office and the number keeps on growing. Each replica is different: some try to recreate the space of a specific president, while others are more the embodiment of an idea than the exact representation of an actual room. Usually they are found in two types of venues – Presidential Libraries or private museums and foundations – and they have become a popular tourist attraction. In addition to the images there is an in-depth study of the archaeology of the Oval Office, ranging from the history of the room, to the symbolism of the oval, and the contemporary use of the room by the film industry, while the ultimate goal is to understand the reason for the proliferation of such replicas. 

starting point

The Power of Technocracy »

Michaela Janečková

Czech architecture still benefits from its famous interwar history and refers to it often. Both the left-wing avant-garde and the official circles of the interwar period agreed on the neutrality of the experts' government. Those seemingly neutral experts, independent of the political situation, would, undetected, hold the reins of Czechoslovak architecture. Many interwar architects defended themselves with their expert knowledge, which of course was based on what should have been a-political scientific findings, even after WWII. Some of them could be called technocrats without hesitation. Technocracy is defined in short as a government of experts. The power of technocrats hasn't disappeared, on the contrary, it grows. Not just in the field of architecture - as we can see with successful politicians, who are in fact not politicians but managers and leadership experts.

kniha interview

The Power of Theory. Joan Ockman and Mary McLeod Interviewed by Michaela Janečková and Rostislav Švácha »

For most Czech architects, theory of architecture is invisible. It’s not taught in schools, and maybe that’s one of the reasons it often gets mistaken for history. In the US, where Joan Ockman and Mary McLeod come from and teach, theory has gained a firm position within the university curriculum since the 1960s. It also became part of the work of renowned architects; for example Peter Eisenman – to name but one – whose reputation was not only due to the buildings he designed but also to his inspiring theoretical texts. Ockman and McLeod were asked about the relationship between architectural theory and practice, and thinking about this relationship in the last fifty years, by Michaela Janečková and Rostislav Švácha – the man who stresses he’s not a theorist but an architecture historian.

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Power of Private Property Ownership »

Tomáš Samec

Power of private property ownership? What does it mean? Does it mean that we want to own as many things as possible? Or that something owns us? Or something else? The power of private property ownership or more specifically private homeownership can be traced differently. The article will illustrate how this power manifests itself through housing debts, cultural norms and the structural arrangement of society. The current “housing (affordability) crisis” is not merely a result of automatic and inevitable forces or specific political decisions. This situation is instead related to how homeownership became a cultural norm, a symbol of success and “normal” life and how housing came to be perceived as an investment.


Power of Phenomenology. Leaving the Mundane »

Filip Šenk

In discussions on the topic of contemporary architecture one might notice, in the context of certain buildings, a tendency to connect them to the philosophical movement of phenomenology. These are not some buildings on the fringes, as one of the main proponents of this movement, Peter Zumthor has often been brought up. But in his case, it doesn’t mean following a clearly defined manifesto. Instead, his thought process is similar to those of several important thinkers. Speaking of direct inspiration should only be done very carefully. Still, the influence is palpable and it has become a driving reason to at least outline the connection between architecture and phenomenology.

completed project

A Green Campus. Town Hall, Administration Center and Nursery in Freiburg im Breisgau »

ingenhoven architects

In November 2017, the new town hall in Freiburg im Breisgau, together with the administration center and day nursery, was opened. It is the world’s first public net-surplus-energy building. The town hall provides workplaces for the 840 employees of the city administration who had previously been working at various different locations in Freiburg. Only the first phase has been completed so far. In the second phase, scheduled to be completed in 2024, additional oval buildings are planned, providing workplaces for the city’s administration. The new ensemble will be integrated in the green space between Eschholz Park and the University Hospital. The winning entry of an international architectural competition, the project is characterized by openness and transparency. A key element of the concept is the green campus combining three building tracts and a day nursery.

completed project

Kiruna Forever. Town Hall in New Kiruna »

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen / Henning Larsen

The circular town hall is the first building erected at the site of the proposed new town center of Kiruna, which was moved due to geological instability caused by mining operations. A lonely outpost of civilization over 150 km beyond the Arctic Circle, the Swedish town of Kiruna sits on one of the largest deposits of iron ore in the world. But more than a hundred years of continuous mining has started to take its toll. The state-owned mining company and the local authority decided to relocate. The new town hall, winner of the international architecture competition in 2013, is to be the proverbial swallow announcing a new start. The volume combines an outer circle with an inner core of angular spaces inspired by the crystal shape of iron minerals. The outer section houses offices of the local government while in the central part there are public exhibition rooms, workshops and social common spaces.

completed project

An Open Town Hall. Town Hall in Prague-Ďáblice »

Peter Lacko, Filip Tittelbach / A.LT Architekti

On the site of the planned new center of Ďáblice, a single story, barrier-free building was erected to function as a town hall with an assembly room, a post office and medical facilities. The trivially shaped house is not a monument, ostensibly representing power, but an open instrument for citizens of all ages. At the base of the solution there is the pursuit of maximal transparency without the need to demonstrate the importance of the building, instead putting emphasis on serving the public interest. The four separate sections (medical facility, multipurpose assembly room, town hall and post office) are connected by an entrance corridor doubling as an arcade, a foyer during balls and concerts or as an occasional exhibition space. Inner courtyards let daylight deep into the plan. Boundaries between individual sections can be shifted according to current use.


House for the Public. Prague 7 Town Hall »

Vojtěch Sosna, Jakub Straka, Jáchym Svoboda / Bod architekti

Prague 7 municipal authority will establish its own seat of residence in a remodelled office building from the early 1990s. The terraced building is stripped down to its primary load-bearing structure and the new program is then woven into it, with the intention of the original solid and tectonic quality multiplying in contact with the new transparent quality. The entrance arcade opens the building towards the street while a short staircase sets it apart from the everyday and ordinary. The main hall can be overlooked from the first-floor gallery; in other floors, glazed meeting rooms are the centre of attention. The council chambers are in the underground floor while the special event spaces are on the top floor with access to an outdoor terrace.

kniha study

Brave New Government Complex. A Dream of Efficient State Administration »

Terezie Lokšová

The intention to build a new government district on the Prague periphery and move some of the state institutions currently residing in the city center there, has been mentioned by the Czech media several times since 2017. From what the Prime Minister and the Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs are saying, it is deemed to be a problem-free managerial decision that the target locality will benefit from. The site and most of the concrete parameters remain unclear. But what is already obvious, is the clear depoliticization of the problem through the emphasis on economic efficiency and conceptual analogy to university and corporate campuses on the urban peripheries.

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The Power of the Conservation Officer. The Power of the Developer. Questions for Kateřina Bečková and Tomáš Jícha »

Both the practices of real estate development companies and those of building conservation authorities are limited by the legal frameworks within which they reach their goals. However, their powers are legitimized differently. In real estate companies, their legitimization is the right to own private property and handle it freely for the purpose of profit. Historic building conservation, on the other hand, is based on scientific expertise and the power of associated state authorities, meant to defend public interest. How fierce is the conflict of these two positions?


The Power of Expert Institution. Tomáš Lapáček Interviewed by Petr Gibas »

The Prague Institute for Planning and Development (IPR) provides expert opinions to Prague City Hall. It has relative power, not based on accordance with the policies of the ruling party or coalition, but on the cogency of its expert arguments and on the ability to communicate these arguments to citizens and thus gain fragile support of the general public. Tomáš Lapáček, director of the Department of Strategies and Policies at IPR, answers questions about the way in which IPR’s expert opinions reflect interests of individual social groups, where are these interests reflected more and where does the expert's “holistic view” and vision prevail?

completed project

The End of Majesty. Restoration and Extension of the Salzburg Courthouse »

Christian Ambos, Michael Anhammer, Robert Diem, Harald Höller, Erwin Stättner / Franz&Sue

The Salzburg courthouse restoration project eschews the traditional concept of courthouse architecture demonstrating the majesty of the law where the accused should feel small, insignificant and isolated from public life. The new interventions here should support the right for just proceedings and the openness of the judiciary in 21st century democracy. The historical palace did away with the old prison cells from the 1970s and the “kafkaesque” labyrinth of corridors where visitors regularly got lost, instead activating all its entrances to open towards the city and building a Y-shaped courtyard extension connecting the existing wings and housing all courtrooms.

completed project

Landmark. The Paris Courthouse »

Renzo Piano Building Workshop

In April 2018, the new courthouse was opened in the Clichy-Batignolles development zone on the north-west edge of Paris, becoming Europe’s largest justice complex, and with its 160-meter height also the second tallest building in the Paris skyline. Reaching this height was possible due to the new regulation passed in 2010 that – in line with today’s thinking on urban densification – lifted the limit of 40 meters for all new developments in Paris. The building consists of an eight-story plinth almost the size of the entire plot, bearing three glazed blocks on top of each other, with decreasing floor plans, thus making space for large green roof terraces. With a floor area of nearly 110,000 m2, the building houses 90 courtrooms, approximately 600 offices and other spaces, and welcomes around 8,800 visitors each day including 2,500 court officials.

completed project

With Respect. Interiors of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic in Brno »

Darja Kafková, Ondřej Kafka / MOAD architekti

The general renovation of the historical building of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic in Brno also included the remodelling of the most important interiors – the foyer, the assembly hall and the courtrooms and their facilities. The design concept put emphasis on the balance between the interior’s character and the overall formal character of the building, its period and artistic value. The remodel removed all hampering elements; new additions were designed according to the period, made from quality materials and with high-quality craftsmanship and detailing. The new elements complete, instead of concealing the space, maintaining its beauty and atmosphere. The exceptionality of the interiors is underlined by a designer collection of custom crystal chandeliers in pendant, floor and wall versions with variable number of bulbs.


Plenum »

Christian Kühn, Kathrin Schelling

A parliament’s plenary hall represents a key space of political assembly. This is where democracy happens. The political culture of the state and the physical arrangement of the room are like mirrors; the architecture forms the relationships between participants and collective decisions affecting the society emerge from the surroundings. Is it possible to better understand the current crisis of democracy by studying parliament buildings around the world? The topic first opened by the Austrian pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, where nearly two hundred world parliaments were presented in the form of 3D models, drawings and other collected data, was then further developed in a free online database. Five basic typologies were identified and their origins, symbolism and implications explained. Editors Roman Brychta and Elena Fialková used this research in 2018 in their publication documenting the results of the A4 studio at the Prague Academy of Art, Architecture and Design. The objective of the studio was to design a new parliament for the Czech Republic.



Design, Construction and Safety of Play Parks and Sport Areas

Zdenka Houžvičková


Hotel Interiors – Seven Approaches

Iva Bastlová


Fire Resistance Demonstration of ETICS with Phenolic Foam Boards

Oldřich Pozdílek, Václav Kratochvíl

completed project

The Long and the Broad. Mixed-use Building AFI Vokovice in Prague »

Jiří Hejda, Iveta Chitovová, David Macháček, Petr Šedivý, Pavel Uttendorfský / DAM architekti

With the extension of Prague metro’s A line in 2015, even parts of the city considered peripheral up to that point registered the growing attention of real estate developers. A focal point emerges around the Nádraží Veleslavín station, where – above ground – individual and public transport now meet with suburban train and metro. Growing significance of the area is underlined by the newly erected and visually striking office building on the prominent site right next to Evropská Street. The rounded façade of glass and gold elements certainly attracts attention, but the building also works well with the urban context and the human scale in public spaces with retail spaces on the ground floor.

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Projekt se v roce 2023 uskutečňuje za finanční podpory: Ministerstva kultury ČR, Nadace české architektury, Statutárního města Brna a Státního fondu kultury ČR.
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