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  1. 1. Panelák From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search It has been suggested that this article or section be merged Contents with Tower block. (Discuss) [hide]  1 History  2 Characteristics  3 Paneláks today  4 Other countries  5 See also  6 References  7 External links Petržalka, Bratislava has the largest concentration of Paneláks in the former Czechoslovakia. Panelák is the colloquial name of blocks of high-rise flats in the Czech Republic and Slovakia constructed of pre-fabricated, pre-stressed concrete. The full name is panelový dom (Slovak) / panelový dům (Czech), meaning, literally, quot;prefabricated-sections housequot;. The Czech and Slovak plural is paneláky. The buildings remain a towering, highly visible reminder of the Communist era. According to census statistics, around one in three Czechs still live in a panelák. Similar buildings were built in all communist countries, from Poland to Mongolia. There were also some attempts to introduce these houses to the United States (see Pruitt-Igoe), but almost all ended in failure,sometimes disaster. History Paneláks resulted from two main factors: a postwar housing shortage and the ideology of Czechoslovak leaders. Planners from the Communist era wanted to provide large quantities of cheap housing and to slash costs by employing uniform designs over the whole country. They also sought to foster a quot;collectivistic naturequot; in people. In case of war, these houses would not be as susceptible to firebombing as traditional, densely packed buildings. Between 1959 and 1995, paneláks containing 1.17 million flats were built in what is now the Czech Republic. They house about 3.5 million people, or about one-third of the country's population.
  2. 2. Towering paneláks in the Kamýk area of Prague In Prague and other large cities, most paneláks were built in panelák housing estates. Such developments now domina the periphery of Prague, Bratislava and other town The te s. largest panelák housing estate in Prague is Jižní Město, with 200 buildings built since the 1970s. The largest concentration of paneláks in the former Czechoslovakia and central Europe can be found in Petržalka (population about 130,000), a section of the Slovak capital of Bratislava. The city of Most is known for having a dominant share of people living in paneláks (aprox. 80%). Historical city was torn down because of coal mining in this place and the inhabitants were moved into paneláks. Characteristics In comparison to prewar apartment buildings, paneláks can be truly enormous. Some are more than 100 metres long, and some are more than 20 storeys high. Some even have openings for cars and pedestrians to pass through, lest they have to go all the way around the building. Paneláks are the butt of many jokes in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Many people criticize them for low design quality, mind-numbing appearance, second-rate construction materials and shoddy construction practices. In 1990, Václav Havel, then president of Czechoslovakia, called paneláks quot;undignified rabbit pens, slated for liquidation.quot; Panelák housing estates as a whole are said to be mere bedroom communities with few conveniences and even less character. However, paneláks are not universally detested. Some panelák housing estates were designed by Czech architects who aspired to follow the tradition of pre-war Czech modern architecture, notably functionalism. Despite unfortunate cost-saving changes during construction, some of those panelák estates do not fi the critique above. t Some housing estates do not lack other facilities, such as shopping centres, schools, libraries, swimming pools, and cinemas. Also, architects sometimes made an effort to make the buildings distinct, by mixing various types of panelaks, for example, or by using different colour. Well-designed housing estates also had some environmental advantages. By leaving wide spaces between buildings, designers created large green spaces and parks, which are lacking in many prewar Czech neighbourhoods. In some places, paneláks were improvement in sanitary conditions.
  3. 3. Paneláks today Unlike government-built housing estates in places like the United States and United Kingdom, paneláks today remain home to a mix of social classes, with middle class prevailing (according to sociologist Michal Illner from Czech Academy of Sciences quoted in [1]) Thus, there is little social stigma associated with living in a panelák. Many apartments are well-appointed inside; there is even a home magazine, Panel Plus, aimed at the millions of panelák-dwellers. Panelák estates, especially in big cities, are the obvious first targets for builders of telecommunication networks, as the housing estates combine a high concentration of people with easy access to underground and in-house spaces for cables. Panelák housing estates are usually the first neighbourhoods with access to cable tv, WiFi network coverage, cable-modem service, DSL and other telecommunication services. The attitude of panelák inhabitants to their buildings vary. According to Illner, quot;people get used to living in paneláksquot;. Many panelák flats are now the property of their inhabitants and whole buildings are managed by syndicates of flat owners. Many buildings have been renovated, often with the support of local governments. Renovations have often included the installation of thermal insulation for energy efficiency and new coats of colourful paint. The cost of replacing of paneláks in the short term would be well beyond the meansof the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Nonetheless, the decay of many paneláks remains a serious problem requiring the attention of authorities in both countries. Many Czech sociologists have expressed concern about the social development of panelák housing estates. The most endangered would be those lacking facilities other than quot;sleeping blocksquot; and with a bad connection to business and commercial centres. Some people fear that with the growth and deregulation of the housing market, the middle class may flee to other locations, and such panelák estates may become refuges for the poor or ghettos for immigrants. Some local authorities are making significant efforts to prevent this scenario by changing bedroom communities into multifunctional urban neighbourhoods. This may include support for the construction of missing facilities, such as shopping centres or churches. Governments may also invest in improving transport accessibility, as with the new light rail line to Barrandov in Prague.
  4. 4. Slum of Chánov, Most. Paneláks of this housing estate all look completely devastated, yet people live there. The Chánov housing estate in Most is an example of what planners are trying to avoid. In the 1990s, middle-class residents moved out in response to an influx of Romany immigrants from Slovakia. Many of the remaining residents lacked jobs, money, education and the social skills needed for life in an urban environment. The water was cut off due to unpaid bills; elevators stopped working; and garbage piled up in mounds. A public-private partnership is now working on improving living conditions in the housing estate. Other countries The term panelák refers specifically to buildings in the former Czechoslovakia. However, similar buildings were built in other Communist countries and even in the West. The equivalent of quot;panelákquot; in other languages is:  French: Maison à panneaux  German: Plattenbau  Russian: 'Панельный дом, блочный дом  Bulgarian: панелен блок (panelen blok), панелка (panelka)  Serbo-Croatian: stambeni blok  Polish: Blok, Wielka płyta  Romanian: Bloc  Italian: Casa prefabbricata  Estonian: Paneelmaja  Hungarian: Panel ház [edit] See also  Tower block  Urbanism  Prefabrication  Pruitt-Igoe - similar housing project in the United States [
  5. 5. References  Stankova, Jaroslava, et al (1992) Prague: Eleven Centuries of Architecture. Prague: PAV. ISBN 80-900003-1-2.  Reynolds, Matt (10 March 2005). Still Standing The Prague Post.  Chánov case study External links  Central Europe Review - Concrete Conclusions: The discreet charm of the Czech panelak  Picture gallery of panelaks in Prague (text in Italian) Retrieved from quot;;
  6. 6. Petržalka From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Petrzalka) Jump to: navigation, search Petržalka (Hungarian: Ligetfalu, German: Engerau) is the largest city part of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Situated on the right riverbank of the river Danube, it houses approximately 130,000 inhabitants. Chorvátske rameno (The Croatian Channel) winds from north to south of Petržalka. [edit] Characteristics Currently, Petržalka is connected with Bratislava by five bridges, and is the most densely populated place in Slovakia and also in Central Europe. It is in most part a residential area with most people living in blocks of flats, the so-called paneláks. Most of the apartment blocks in Petržalka were built during the Socialist period of Czechoslovakia and are seemingly identical. For this reason, many residents refer to the neighbourhood as the quot;concrete jungle.quot; Important institutions include University of Economics, the Incheba congress and exposition centre and the Petržalka train station operating traffic to and from Vienna. The neighborhood is also now known for its football club, Artmedia Bratislava, a surprising participant in the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League. History
  7. 7. Historical records about Petržalka exist from 1225. In 1866, Petržalka had 594 inhabitants and 103 houses. Petržalka became permanently connected with the town of Bratislava in 1891, when the first railway bridge was built. Before this date only wooden bridges existed, but they were often damaged by frost and floods. In 1938, Petžalka was annexed by fascist Germany on the basis of the Munich agreement, but after WWII was returned to Czechoslovakia. In 1946 Petržalka officially became a part of Bratislava. External links  ((Slovak)) The Official Petržalka Website  Facts about Bratislava-Petrzalka  Pope John Paul II visits Petrzalka (Vatican document) Retrieved from quot;; Category: Bratislava Area: 28.7 km2 Number of inhabitants:126 565 Population density per km2: 4 410 Petržalka is the largest city section of Bratislava, the capital of SR. Together with Jarovce, Rusovce and Čuňovo it forms the district – Bratislava V, which is the 5th largest district in Slovakia according to its number of inhabitants. According to population density it is the 3rd most populated. The first written notice about Petržalka has its origin in the year 1225, though the original independent municipality was except insignificant remainders pulled down. In this place of the largest housing complex of Slovakia live almost 130 000 inhabitants. The ratio of economically active and perspectively active population of the total makes 85,9 %, the learnedness coefficient 78% of all inhabitants with high school and university education is compared to other city sections and other cities of Slovakia very high.
  8. 8. Advanatageous location of Petržalka – Danube’s right riverside, the nearest distance to the capital’s center but most of all close to the border with Hungary and Austria it to have animportant influence to Bratislava’s economy and small business not only from the aspect of having significant traffic routes nearby. The most important plants in the area are Matador, Matadorfix Ltd., Matadorroll, joint stock company and Hydronika, jsc. Petržalka IT MAY be hard to believe, but Bratislava's Petržalka district was once a picturesque small town full of gardens and fruit orchards. That was before the 1970s, when construction turned it into the Click to enlarge. largest cement-block settlement in Slovakia, with bleak grey apartment buildings and a high crime rate. Even earlier, before colonists settled the banks of the Danube,Petržalka was an quot;islandquot;, where nomadic Romas used to camp. They lived precariously, though, under constant threat of floods. Petržalka area witnessed a number of important historical events. For example, Napoleon's army pitched camp there to bombard Bratislava, which was called Pressburg at that time. Royalty attending the coronation ceremonies of Hungarian kings also used to camp there. Petržalka's
  9. 9. paradox - higher education and high anxiety By Tom Nicholson Looking for help. Spectator Staff Residents of Travellers approaching Bratislava fromGraz get Petrěalka, their first glimpse of Slovakia as they drive through Bratislava's infamous the Austrian hamlet of Kittsee. Many are unprepared suburb, are among for the sudden vista of Petržalka's housing estates, massive and grim on the horizon. The dour face of the country's most socialism is not easily forgotten. affluent citizens, yet horrendous living What lies behind that face is equally striking. Petržalka's roads are like windswept canyons conditions dim hopes between12-story apartment buildings that may for real estate sprawl up to 300 meters in length. Public areas are development and a filthy with refuse, while knots of children collect aimlessly on street corners, waiting for something to better life. happen. Vladimír Hák Help for residents is still some way off. Real estate agencies have prepared numerous utopian plans for business centers and retail complexes over the years, but all of them have been studiously ignored by investors. High levels of crime and drug abuse have given Petržalka a bad name and scared developers away, while the scarcity of investment has in turn hastened the area'seconomic and social decay. No takers One study of Petržalka, done in 1996 by Intermanagement, a Bratislava development company, advised that increasing job opportunities and repairing the absurd deficit of cultural, sports and leisure facilities should be quot;the main ideas of the social and economic development of Petržalka.quot; Without a real business or cultural center, the company reported, quot;the city has become characterized by economic passivity, which has translated into social and cultural passivity.quot; But the project that Intermanagement proposed, a massive 45 hectare, 1.4 million m2 complex for cultural, social, business and leisure activities, was nixed when Petržalka City Council sold part of the land to Metro a.s., the company which has the contract forthe Bratislava Subway project. Miloslava Podmajerská, Council spokeswoman, said that quot;after we solve the problem of where the [subway] tunnels will go in Petržalka, we can solve the problems surrounding the commercial use of the [Intermanagement] site. But that's far in the future.quot; Many other grandiose schemes have died similar deaths. Michael Walshe, a partner in the real estate development company City Pro, recalled a $100 million, 43,000 m2 retail and
  10. 10. leisure project, known as PCC, that he had been involved with in 1996. The project had been shelved for lack of investor interest, he said. quot;One reason for Petržalka's problems with attracting investment may be that the city is painted with a 'wrong side of the tracks' stigma,quot; he explained. quot;Anywhere south of the Danube is seen as a second-best location, which is such a silly prejudice.quot; The roots of investor prejudice lie in the widespread belief that Petržalka is on a downbound train towards social collapse. The city's rates of abortion, divorce and crime are among the highest in Slovakia, a picture of human despair that is set against Petržalka's monstrous architecture and desolate open spaces. The city's boosters argue that Petržalka's citizens are the most educated and among the wealthiest, but the figures they adduce are difficult to reconcile with the ominous evidence of social decline. A bright, well-off people with horrendous social and family problems - this is the Petržalka paradox, a riddle that must be solved before large scale real estate investment can occur. Sad situation quot;Petržalka has the highest level of education in Slovakia,quot; said Vladimír Bajan, a Democratic Union deputy and the mayor of Petržalka. quot;78 percent of Petržalka inhabitants have finished secondary school or university. Moreover, the average income is very high.quot; But Bajan conceded that Petržalka's education and income figures seemed incongruous given the city's high divorce, abortion and crime rates (please see chart this page). quot;The reason for this paradox lies in the difficulty of finding jobs in Petržalka itself, and the fact that more than 100,000 Petržalka inhabitants leave their homes every single day to cross the river [to jobs in Bratislava] and come home late at night,quot; he confessed. In Bajan's view, these long working days have increased marital stress, while absentee parents have resulted in neglected children turning to delinquency and drugs. quot;There is a huge problem with drug dealers and the high numbers of children abusing drugs,quot; he said. At a February 19 press conference, Milan Csaky, the head of Bratislava's District 5 (Petržalka) administration office, reported that 70 percent of all Slovak drug addicts l ve in i Petržalka, and said the city's 25,000 children were seriously at risk. Bajan agreed, and stressed the need for programs to get kids off city streets. quot;We should remember that the communist regime had one great advantage, and that was leisure time organized for kids by schools,quot; he said. Design and architectural flaws Walshe said that he had always considered Petržalka a quot;fascinating suburb,quot; and argued that quot;it is intrinsically a viable residential community - town planning in terms of city landscape is basically correct, traffic movement is almost too good, the ratio of open to built space is adequate.quot;
  11. 11. But for Walshe, flawed architectural thinking has made Petržalka a depressing place to live. quot;The built space contains some appallingly large buildings,quot; he said. quot;They are so big that each building could become a separate community. This was in the mind of the original French designers, who put a grocery shop in every building. But now you have a wide scattering of very poor quality shops and a city with no center.quot; History of settlement In 1973, Petržalka was a peaceful, centuries-old town of roughly 14,000 when the communist Czechoslovak government of Gustav Husák decided to give in to the demands of large Bratislava-based companies,like the oil refiner, Slovnaft, for a conveniently located labor force. Family houses were pulled down, and the first housing estates erected in 1976. By 1980, the population had risen to 48,755, and by 1991 to 128,251. Petržalka's population density is 3.6 times higher than that of Bratislava. quot;All the people who were moved into these buildings were immigrants from middle and eastern Slovakia,quot; said Petržalka resident Štefan Šlachta, Rector of Bratislava's Fine Arts University. quot;Some people had more success adjusting to the move than others, but many had problems putting roots down, and this is the reason for the high divorce rate,quot; he argued. quot;Many couples had no contact with their families, so when their marriages ran into problems there was no one to help or control the situation.quot; Brigita Schmögnerová, vice-chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDĽ) and long-time Petržalka citizen, agreed that quot;the majority of the city's population are those who used to live outside Petržalka and have no relation to it. They don't care what happens one meter outside their flats.quot; Walshe blamed this sense of alienation on the fact that residents had only the door of their flats to separate their homes from increasingly dangerous public areas. quot;All the front entrances of the buildings are open, meaning that anyone at all could come up and knock on your door. So, people are nervous of their neighbors, there is no sense of community, but instead a great feeling of indifference and powerlessness.quot; Many residents say that it is this feeling of indifference to neighbors and to public areas that is at the root of many social evils. Crime flourishes, social fragmentation increases and common areas like parks, streets and stairwells become dirty, dangerous places. quot;Bad environments attract bad people,quot; warned Šlachta. quot;Everybody wants to get out of Petržalka, but they can't, there's nowhere else to go,quot; said Walshe. Bleak future
  12. 12. Urban planning experts have long claimed that projects to quot;humanizequot; Petržalka, through increasing property security, green spaces and leisure facilities, must precede large-scale business and retail projects. Walshe, for his part, agreed that it was quot;perfectly possible to renovate buildings, to turn Petržalka into a livable area. Most people are very keen on having increased security, even at a cost.quot; But quot;humanizationquot; studies, such as one carried out in 1993 by the Demography and Human Geography Department of Bratislava's Comenius University, have never been able to resolve the question of financing. quot;It can't be done, it's too expensive,quot; said Šlachta. quot;We are not such a rich society.quot; Real estate agencies remain steadfastly optimistic. Ľudo Kaník, a partner at 1. Národná Aukčná Spoločnosť (NAS), talked warmly of a planned quot;multifunctional building project with retail, office and residential space.quot; The project, which would involve anywhere from 20 to 100 thousand m2, would cost around 2 billion Sk. Kaník admitted that no contracts had been signed with investors and that ground would not be broken until spring 1999, but swore the NAS project would not go the way of all previous Petržalka development schemes. quot;The center [of Bratislava] is filling up, there is nowhere else to build,quot; he said. quot;Now is our time.quot; [2/26/1998]
  13. 13. Form and (Dys)functionalism Modern Architecture in Slovakia By Tom Philpott No discussion of Slovak architecture can pass over what happened in the second halfof the 20th century. Communist-era rulers, to an even greater degree than post-war city planners in the West, embraced a kind of anti-aesthetic, with utility and thrift the supreme values. A vulgarised form of functionalism held sway: the basic shape for organizing human life became the Nový Most rectangular block. The contrast to the self- Photo: Ján Svrček aggrandizing flair of the old royal elite could not have been clearer. Equally stark was the break from the vernacular styles favoured by village-dwelling peasants for centuries. As the Slovak part of Czechoslovakia industrialized rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, villagers migrated in droves to the cities. The cheapest and quickest way to accommodate them was to construct towering blocks of flats, clumped together densely so that essential services could be delivered to them as efficiently as possible. Thus in Bratislava, in Košice, in Banská Bystrica - in nearly every Slovak city or town of any size - you see beautiful old- town squares ringed by modernist jungles of tower blocks. Bratislava probably present the starkest example, although the competition is fierce. Enter s the city on the road from Vienna, as so many foreigners do, and the first thing you see is Petržalka, a vast, undifferentiated mass of off-white tower blocks, plunked down near the bank of the Danube across from the old town. The government reportedly built the complex as a quick-fix solution to a population boom. Decades later, Petržalka has established itself as a permanent part of the landscape. It houses 150,000 people - more than a third of Bratislava's population. Its suicide rate is the nation's highest. Surely, Petržalka represents a massive and ongoing failure of architectural imagination. A few hundred metres away, across the river, lies the relatively tiny Old Town, packed full of architectural treasures from the past. There are many vistas in Bratislava that lay bare its bipolar architectural nature. Starting at the Presidential Palace, walk down Staromestská ulica toward the river. At a certain point as you move to the edge of the old town, you'll see the following sight in the distance: on the left looms the spire of St. Martin's Cathedral, coronation church of the kings and queens of Hungary for 250 years. On the right is the stately Bratislava Castle. Between the two
  14. 14. landmarks a strange object floats like a flying saucer out of a 50s movie. It's the centrepiece café atop the highest support beams of the New Bridge, built in the same 1970s-era functionalist frenzy that saw the creation of Petržalka. Indeed, the new bridge was built specifically to link Petržalka to the rest of Bratislava. The location of the bridge required the destruction of 226 buildings in the Old Town, including one of the city's two synagogues. The four-lane road that feeds from it is squeezed right between the castle and the cathedral; and vibrations from it are steadily damaging the latter, one of Slovakia's Gothic treasures. There's a point when functionalism becomes its opposite: dysfunctionalism. If the criterion is whether it succeeds in creating aspace that people want to call home or not, then Petržalka doesn't work. The New Bridge, the construction of which sliced the Old Town needlessly in two, was a permanent blunder, an immortal testament to the arroganceand blindness of unchecked power. Yet not every piece of post-war architecture in Slovakia is worthy of scorn. The train station in Poprad, for example, comes in for a lot of abuse. Chris Togneri, writing in last year's Spectacular, calls it quot;a behemoth ... an ominous, rusty structure hovering beside and above the tracks.quot; After having travelled through Slovakia for a week by train, however, I had a different impression. The train station works. You know where you are when you arrive; you walk out onto a street, and you know in which direction the town centre lies. And if you have to wait for a train, the sunny, glass-walled overpass provides a pleasant setting overlooking the tracks. In the Poprad train station, functional and unadorned though it is, you feel like you are Somewhere. The train station in Prešov, by contrast, is a study in dysfunctionalism. The train tracks lie at street level, yet the station's designers saw fit to herd arriving passengers downstairs, into a dim, labyrinthine arcade that connects the train station to the bus station beneath a busy street. For the disabled or those carrying heavy luggage, being forced to go up and downstairs even when the tracks are at street level is an insult. Several exits from the maze are marked, yet it's impossible to tell which one will put you closest to the path to the town centre. quot;Where am I?quot; you ask yourself as you muddle through the crowds and the shops. The answer is the same in all the world's functionalism-gone-awry spaces: I am Nowhere.