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Panel House Heritage: An attempt of architectural and sociological revitalization of a panel house in Žižkov, Prague

Part 2 Project 2014
Alžbeta Bruhová
Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design 116 93 Prague Czech republic
Normalization, big redeveloping plans for Prague quarter Žižkov and their parcial realization. Ambitious goals left up a havoc which will acompany us for many generations. Žižkov's panel development is unique - it dramatically interferes with organically grown urban structure, unlike the panel housing estates emerging on greenfields at that time.

I focused on a large panel house in Táboritská Street which aptly illustrates former construction methods: The project was originally developed for the area of two and half blocks. Then it was narrowed to a half of its original range. Finally, only northern "noodle" was realised and point prefabricated houses were "pasted" to the left up fragments of remaining blocks. The result has left many unresolved relations and negative consequences can be seen every day.

I want to re-integrate the left up block in surrounding organism. The panel house torso has similar features as a representative block of houses in Žižkov. I followed the characteristic densification process in the neighbourhood (many annexes and addition of little buildings in the blocks's inner yards). I took this pattern and transcribed it into a unique approach. A dead garbage space is now transformed into a rhythm of yards and annexes with semi-public function. Each yard has different atmosphere supported by municipally-administrated surrounding functions but it also gives space to the bottom-up, spontaneous growth which is so symptomatic for this city quarter.

I believe, the solution of panel house issue is much more complex than today's trend of insulating the facade and painting it. What does it mean to live in a panel house where you hear everything your neighbours do? I believe 107 apartments mean more neighbours than one can cover. I divided the whole house into smaller sections of 7-8 apartments which have special autonomy. To each group belong one open and enclosed space. The neighbours decide collectively about its use. I also proposed a radical reconstruction which offers a variety of dispositions. The only fixed part is the core and the rest can be adjusted by the future dweller's needs.

Alžbeta Bruhová


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