ERA21 #04/2021 Public Development

kniha editorial

Development and Public Interest

David Neuhäusl

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kniha completed project

A Levitating Pavilion. Extension of The Research Library of South Bohemia in České Budějovice »

Ladislav Kuba, Tomáš Pilař / Kuba & Pilař architekti

The existing building of The Research Library of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, formerly the Museum of the Workers’ Revolutionary Movement, was built in the 1970s. The time period is reflected in its sculptural form and brutalist style. The building is broken up into several volumes, meaning the resulting layout isn’t very well suited for a public library program with a free flowing collection space. On the other hand, the design of the extension forms a simple horizontal pavilion, floating just a few feet above ground, completely glazed and offering views to the surrounding park. A low, compact volume perfectly fits the program requirements, which called for more collection space, a flexible layout, and wheelchair accessible entrance lobby. The wide, paved access ramp connects the library directly to Lidická street. Inside, a second glazed ramp joins the old building and the extension together. Two art installations, the Battle of Zboriv memorial and the boulder stone from Novohradské hory are located near a sidewalk on the side of the building, leading through a park towards the riverbank.

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Project 2 »

Marcus Geiger

The facades of the No. 2-10, Wiedner Gürtel, opposite the new Erste Bank Headquarters, were turned into a temporary large-scale canvas as part of an art intervention called Project 2. With no regard for existing plot boundaries or formal architectural elements, the entire street front was painted over with the pastel hues of the seven Euro Banknotes. The intervention calls accustomed perspectives into question. While conventional art in architecture projects are defined by the imagined view of the building from the outside in, Project 2 demands to be understood from the inside out and hence in terms of the bank’s employees' everyday view. It also reminds us of the ubiquity and power of money.

starting point

What, Why, How. Public Housing Development as a Tool for Housing Crisis Mitigation »

David Neuhäusl

The mayor is the biggest developer, the saying goes. Yet the terms public or municipal development are not generally well-known. As an illustration, let’s try a search on the ubiquitous internet search engine. We get hundreds of thousands of results when searching for “sustainable development”. On the other hand, relevant records for the aforementioned terms usually stay in double digit numbers. When the Prague Development Company was established last year it did spark some discussion, but the intensity still doesn’t match the actual implications of this phenomenon. The activity of the public sector is slowly picking up just as affordable housing is becoming harder and harder to find. The following text offers insight into public (housing) development in the Czech Republic using a logical sequence of the questions: what, why and how.


Development Is Like a Game of Ludo. Iva Marešová, Jan Sponar and Petr Urbánek Interviewed by David Neuhäusl »

What is the current condition of public development and municipal housing development in the Czech Republic? And what can we expect in the near future? These were the top questions asked in a special, bilateral interview with representatives from Prague and Brno. We spoke with Iva Marešová and Jan Sponar from the Housing Department of Brno City Hall and Petr Urbánek from the Prague Developer Company about their present experiences and visions for the future.

completed project

Courtyard Variations. Apartment Building and Mixed-Use Building in Brno »

Martin Komárek, Martin Rudiš / Rudiš-Rudiš architekti

Two new municipal apartment buildings offering one-room and two-room rental flats were completed this year on the southern edge of the wider Brno city centre. In between the two buildings, replacing a former car repair shop and parking lot, a new public park with sports amenities was created. The new apartment buildings have a partly sunk ground floor with ample parking space and then a generous elongated courtyard on the raised first floor (on top of the parking garage). This semi‑private outdoor space was inspired by 19th century courtyard townhouses lined with balconies; therefore all the entrances to the flats, entrance galleries and individual balconies are facing this central space. This way the courtyard becomes a meeting place for the tenants, offering a shared space for their social activities. The apartment buildings also have their own cafe, community centre and library.

completed project

Living on the Post Office. Affordable Housing Project for Young Families and Post Office Branch in Brno »

Marek Brandštetr / Atelier Brandštetr

After being severely damaged in a fire, a historic two‑story gable-roofed townhouse on the Dukelská street in Brno was replaced by a simple white apartment building with bright yellow detailing. The city of Brno, who was the client in this case, wanted to build affordable housing for young families. It also arranged, together with Czech Post, to set up a new post office branch for the Husovice district here. The program of the building is therefore quite straightforward: most of the ground floor is occupied by the post office and then there are three more floors with three apartments each. The office has a street entrance, and the apartments are accessed through the passageway. Parking spaces and outdoor recreation areas are located in the courtyard.


Contributions as Conditions to Urban Development »

Lukáš Makovský, Ondřej Zabloudil

Increasingly, the topic of developer obligations, or financial contributions required before granting planning or building permissions, is being discussed in the context of sustainable urban development. A growing number of municipalities seek to implement this tool as a standard part of their planning decision process. Opposed by private developers who see it causing further building cost escalation, the issue is quickly becoming politicized too. But contributions could actually help solve several current problems of Czech urban development financing: insufficient public infrastructure and amenities in developing localities, local residents opposing new development, and other issues linked to suburbanisation.

kniha interview

Fair-Minded Cooperation between the City and Developers. Filip Foglar Interviewed by Miroslav Šajtar »

To date there hasn’t been a comprehensive set of rules, in Prague or in other Czech cities, governing the way developers should pay off the municipality for increasing their real estate value through zoning changes. That’s why the Prague City Hall is currently working on the first “Methodology for investor contributions - recommended contributions attached to zoning changes”. Lead author Filip Foglar explains the key principles of the tool in the following interview.

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Well-Earned Miracle. One Hundred Years of Housing in Vienna: A Pragmatic Overview »

Kateřina Čechová

Vienna’s municipal housing program recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary. During that time, the city has built 220,000 municipal dwellings on its own and subsidized another 200,000. Today, more than 60% of Viennese citizens live in, at least, partly publicly financed housing. Having control over a substantial portion of the housing market gives Vienna’s City Hall a unique opportunity to influence all kinds of variables: quality of space and architectural standards, the buildings’ environmental impact, diversification of housing types and, above all, the price. The program was allowed to continue and evolve throughout the years thanks, mainly, to long-term political stability. 

completed project

Five Houses, One Terrace. Social Housing in Bílovice nad Svitavou »

Milan Joja, Karel Kubza, Tomáš Págo / ČTYŘSTĚN

An old woodworking shop in Bílovice nad Svitavou was replaced by an apartment building in the form of five homes, situated alongside each other, with a shared terrace in the front and garden in the back. This way the character of the apartment building promotes more village-style living and the tenants also have more opportunity for socializing. Car parking and utility rooms fit into the concrete base of the building, six individual apartment units are lined next to each other on top of the base, connected by the common front terrace. There are three-room, two‑room, and studio apartments, two of each kind, forming individual houses, except the two studio apartments which fit into one house. The interior layout is very simple, corresponding to social housing standards, but still functional and comfortable.


Architectural Competitions in Czechia: Ideals vs. Reality »

David Neuhäusl, Ivan Gogolák, Lukáš Grasse

When we consider the current state of Czech architecture and urban design competitions, how should we react? With praise, or with derision? Ridiculing things certainly never helped open the door to constructive debate, so we chose a different approach. Selecting three individual issues, we compare the initial idealistic concepts and the actual lived reality, thus identifying the three chimeras of Czech competitions. To deal with them, we have to tame them. In terms of new housing development, the public sector activity seems to be picking up, issuing competitions for new buildings and new neighborhoods alike. But is this actually true, or is it just wishful thinking? 


Development and Architectural Education »

Michal Kohout, Jaromír Hainc

The entire field of architecture is often characterized as being supported by two main pillars, or roots: the artistic and the technical. But there is a third pillar that has been holding up the profession for time immemorial: the economic and managerial one. Let’s have a look at how European and Czech universities teach economics and management courses linked to architectural practice and urban planning.


How Local Governments Interpret the Process of Suburbanization. A Shift From Reactive to Proactive Discourse »

Terezie Lokšová, Lucie Galčanová Batista

After the year 2000, municipalities on the outskirts of larger Czech cities were hit by massive suburbanisation, bringing a surge in resident numbers and in consequence, all manner of related challenges. Due to the decentralization of power from central to regional governments, with most budgetary and planning issues relegated to the level of municipalities, local governments often found themselves dealing with the character of suburbanisation on their own. As their villages and districts have changed beyond recognition, have the mayors’ views and approaches to these problems evolved at all?


Welcome! »

Kateřina Šedá

A colourful cluster of birdhouses and bird feeders fills the garden of Hainfeld Care and Assistance Center in Lower Austria. Together with the clients of the care center, the bird boxes were designed as miniatures of their former real-life homes. Older people often feel isolated from both their families and society in general. Many of them have also lost their homes and thus the contact with people they used to meet every day. The purpose of the installation is to bring the residents back to their original homes, at least symbolically. The miniature models were created using clients’ descriptions, drawings, and photographs. They were installed at various heights so that people in wheelchairs can reach them, while also forming a compact group of houses, like a real village.



Special Door Types, Door Accessories and Hardware

Jan Stavinoha


Better Water Management, Rainwater and Greywater Use in Buildings

Silvie Drabinová


Windows and Natural Ventilation

Olga Rubinová

ERA21 vydává ERA Média, s. r. o.
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