Place: Trade Fair Palace
It is possible that no Architecture Biennale has used extensive research and theory to shape national exhibitions to the same degree as the latest incarnation. Its authors, who applied the concept of chief curator/architect Rem Koolhaas, often arrived at surprising conclusions, which should not be forgotten. Thus, the National Gallery in Prague has re-staged the Czech-Slovak Biennale exhibition in the Veletržní Palace with an 85-member team of students, architects, philosophers and sociologists led by Martin Hejl of Kolmo.eu Studio. The project presents the development of housing complex designs realized in 1914–2014 in the former Czechoslovakia. The exhibition results from the team’s extensive research of the more than 200,000 square metres of housing built in the last century.
In six large-format billboards and a walkable map of Czechoslovakiaon a slightly raised platform, the authors unfold “several parallel stories that are intertwined and supplement one another. These stories are documented at three levels: the emergence, evolution and disappearance of prefabricated building panels as a building method in Czechoslovakia. The history of a design institute with 12,000 employees. The individual vs. the collective – the road from the Bata-style family house to collective housing schemes under communism and back to the family house”. The exhibition provides axonometric views of the factory town of Zlín, socialist Ostrava–Poruba, the new town of Most, Bratislava’s Petržalka quarter, the Velká Ohrada housing complex in Prague and the typical post-November 1989 satellite town ofJesenice, Prague’s fastest growing suburb. Apartment construction is documented by designs of the 56 largest Czech, Moravian and Slovak cities and towns presented in a walkable map of Czechoslovakia. Housing built in 1914–2014 is rendered in white, contrasting with the gray of older or functionally different buildings illustrating the extent of the past century’s apartment construction in the Czech and Slovak lands.
The most widespread types of apartment (mostly panel) houses can be seen on the Chart of the evolution of universal architecture in 1914–2014, spatially-rendered models of residential houses of groundbreaking design (both structurally and technologically). It consists of a typical Bata-style duplex and unit assembly prefabricated systems T11, G40, G57, T06B, T08B and VVÚ – ETA, which made it possible to speed up construction in the 1970s in a record manner, and the “catalogue” family house Alfa, a representative of the post-revolution trend – the return to family houses.
The eponymous book will provide more detailed information on the subject in accompanying texts as well as interviews with architects, town planners and technicians who were personally involved in creating the six largest residential complexes in Czechoslovakia. The texts are accompanied by original historical designs, photographs by Dušan Tománek and charts and drawings by Jan Šrámek and Alexey Klyuykov. Two globes from a typical children’s playground – a merry-go-round made of welded pipes and a climbing frame – are also part of the exhibition.
Entrance is free of charge.
Tram 6, 17 – Veletržní palác
Tram 1, 6, 8, 12, 17, 25, 26 – Strossmayerovo náměstí