architecture : urban : visual culture

How to make example of Jozsef Attila housing district?

"Our aim is to avoid commerce, mediocre solutions and use an architectural thinking that can make a housing district exemplary again." This is the idea behind the award winning project of Erzsébet Szeréna Zoltán, János Gyergyák, Bence Gál and Anett Gál-Mózes Anett

General principles

  1. Preservation and activation of the existing green surface:
    Preservation of the repeatedly emphasized main value - the woody, green spaces – of the area and adding new land system and community functions to the area – „delimitation” of the external boundless spaces.

  2. Creation of a multi layered community area system – Creation of active community life:
    Strengthening the relations among neighborhoods with multiple levels of space use: staircase community - block community (a temporary area - external community space – which is given by the local government, and maintained by the new „block” communities) and urban space (area of the district community, maintained by local government)

  3. Creation of the missing or under-utilized housing functions:
    Creation of cultural (community house + knowledge center), recreational and commercial (market) surfaces for the housing estate (about 20,000 people) and establish a larger, peripheral green space

  4. Development of the public transport system and the quality of its nodes, stations and stops:
    Development of the public and shared traffic system and the intermodal local nodes and the infrastructure of pedestrians and bicycles, in order to reduce car dependence on the housing estate.

  5. Protection of the private property, and ensuring the unified possibilities for extensions of the existing buildings:
    Respect of private property, preparation of possible extensions later, which can be achieved by the agreement of the local community (protection of the private property), along with the uniform image of the housing estate.

  6. Creation of a contemporary, high quality, sustainable residential area:
    At the time of the construction of the housing estate (1956-1963) it was a sample project (installation, interior spaces, new structures, new materials), which has been obsoleted in the last 50 years. Our goal is to use architectural thinking instead of the commercial, mediocre solutions that can make the housing estate a new model and increase their value.

Concept of the community area

The main issue of the development in this town scaled housing estate, is the way to strengthen the local identity and the establishment of a community building as a further step. In our concept the program was broadly interpreted in the center of the housing estate, in the form of a "paved" and a "green" community space.

While the "paved" community spaces serve local needs, the "green" development can appeal in a broader sense - on district or city (recreational) level.

Concept of the refurbishment of the green surfaces

The primary value of the housing estate was the preservation of woody, grassy green areas. As the size of the green area is extremely significant, its condition is outdated, the maintenance can be a heavy burden on the local government.
A multilevel division of the existing green space system was designed and should be maintained by local residents, working together as a "block community" or owners of the "residential community" garden, based on the landscape architectural and archaic principles adopted by the housing estate (community planning and intensive involvement of residents and communities).

Refurbishment and extension of the building blocks

As for the refurbishment, our primary focus was set on the analysis of the existing outdated layouts of the condominiums. We investigated the possibilities for extensions both horizontally and vertically. Two design programs were offered conceptually. In the vertical scheme, the extension is built directly on the roof as a one or two-level unit and also provides some community functions there, according to the needs of the housing block. The horizontal extension is more like an addition, a skeleton structure, which provides the small 1 to 2 room apartments with some more living space or if there is no need for that it can be used as balcony.

Renewal concept of the pavilions

The pavilions’ image plays an important role in the overall design of the neighborhood. The existing ones need to be transformed into easily maintainable units with a fresh and modern architectural character and a possibly flexible layout for the function. Two different basic layouts were offered (linear and a Y-shaped) including covered decks, which provide transitional spaces for the commercial functions.

Transportation, parking, noise protection and other developments

The issues of transportation, parking and noise protection were handled in a complex manner. The area is easily approachable, but future sustainability requires more pedestrian, bicycle and community traffic developments.

For the development of pedestrian zones, new links were designed among the major public transport hubs, commercial and service units and "attractions". Pedestrian traffic can be most efficiently reinforced by smaller distances between the pavilions (active space, active environment). Cycling lanes were recommended on existing carparks, as well as the safety separation of car and bicycle traffic.

Community transport can be more functional if some stops are moved to new, structurally important and accessible locations. We also recommend converting priority hubs (metro, tram line and "enclosed" and "green" central areas) into multimodal nodes, where pedestrian, metro / tram / bus, parking and bicycle storage / rental surfaces are developed simultaneously.

In order to solve the parking problems in the area, 6 new parking spaces were designed for the inhabitants (underground garage, parking garage or surface parking) and 5 P + R parking lots were assigned to the existing metro stops, proposed new tram stops and planned traffic roadside development.

Erzsébet Szeréna Zoltán, János Gyergyák, Bence Gál, Anett Gál-Mózes Anett


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