Your neighbours are watching it, your children are playing in front of it, visitors and tourists are looking at it. It’s your neighbourhood, and it should look good.
The borough of Ružinov contains one of the best architecturally devised housing estates in Bratislava. It was planned as a community in which each apartment building forms part of a block. At the time of its construction, the architects didn’t have the opportunity to address the colour of the façades; had they done so, it would certainly have been addressed comprehensively, in relation to the wider surroundings.
Visual inconsistency in the built environment is quite a characteristic in all post-communist countries. Personal ownership, the absence of land-use regulations, and the loss of community life in housing estates have led to façades being dealt with individually. These house fronts have undergone various cosmetic changes in recent decades for several reasons, but have never been designed in relation to blocks of houses, neighbourhoods, or the entire city. It so happens that each façade of the same house-type is completely different, with every entrance having its own colour treatment. As a result, the community character of the housing estate is completely lost.
This problem can be solved through legislation, but it is very complicated, starting with the owners. For example, the neighbour in the house opposite sees your façade; you are looking from your house into your garden or across the street... Project façades was created to reflect this visual violence and, working together with the Ružinov municipality, find a creative and functional solution for the inhabitants.
Before the web page was built, certain things needed to happen: an analysis of the current condition, a mapping of Ružinov, meetings with experts, and a workshop. Regarding the workshop, the designers managed to invite one of the architects of the Ružinov housing development, Ilja Skoček, to come and talk with us.
The website contains a short explanation of the project, the research status in this district, recommendations for the inhabitants and apartment building managers, as well as proposals for specific situations and colour solutions. It shows how necessary it is to maintain the quality of the housing and, at the same time, take into account the surrounding area and individual character of each entrance.
The ambition of Project façades is to initiate the first steps toward achieving functional legislation that could help regulate the borough’s façades of the future. Although the website was promoted by several local and national mainstream media and people also continue to contact the authors to ask them for advice, there have, unfortunately, not yet been any changes in the legislation.
Workshop participants: Katarína Balážiková, Branislav Škopek, Martin Uhrík, Hana Hudáková, Veronika Melicherová, Juraj Pecho