architecture : urban : visual culture

Social development and integration centre in Macedonia

Prilep is the 4th biggest city of North Macedonia. Along the borders of the city a new district called Trizla has been illegally established. Due to unregulated law and constructions now over 5000 people are forced to live in unworthy circumstances. There is a lack of modern conveniences and public utilities in the whole area. As a result of the involvement of Habitat for Humanity and the Government of Macedonia a gradual improvement can be expected in their circumstances, the legal status of those buildings that are fit for use will be settled and they will also be renovated. Those inhabitants whose houses were illegally constructed and are dangerous to live in will be moved to council flats. During my work I am planning to supplement this project with a building for public functions

 

 

The main objective is the integration and improvement of the circumstances of the inhabitants. In my opinion, the children are the key, they are the ones that are the most open to change and through them the parents and other family members may be included in developmental programs.

Most parents living in Trizla are uneducated. Children growing up in such families have little future prospects. The building designed by me would provide the necessary facilities for developmental programs which would support them and compensate for the lack of family support. As well as supporting the development of schoolchildren, it would also provide courses for younger children on improving neurological processes.


Site plan, Social development and integration centre – Prilep, Macedonia, Architect: Mikus László, University of Pécs, 2019.


Concetion, Social development and integration centre – Prilep, Macedonia, Architect: Mikus László, University of Pécs, 2019.

 

While children participate in the courses, there would be a chance to communicate and help their parents. The venue could also be used for adult education courses filling up the gaps in their primary education thus paving the way for further education. In this public building family and group events may also be organised. In this way, the designed building can bring the current family support and settlement programs to completion.


It is imperative to provide a venue which can house different courses, which are acceptable for and attractive to the community. It needs to offer the opportunity for the inhabitants of Trizla to break the chains of their current circumstances. The suspicion and distrust of the inhabitants needs to be diminished. The representatives of Roma SOS are currently going from door to door to establish a relationship and give support to the people; this building also functions as a base of operations for them. It is important that the building should not only be a venue for different services but should also promote community spirit; it should be a place where they enjoy being at and organising private functions.


Social development and integration centre – Prilep, Macedonia, Architect: Mikus László, University of Pécs, 2019.


Facades, Social development and integration centre – Prilep, Macedonia, Architect: Mikus László, University of Pécs, 2019.

 

What I believe is that a garden large enough for holding events would be the heart and soul of the building in order to make it more attractive and practical. The community is loyal, reserved and traditional; organising community events which provide the opportunity to connect with the locals is an important part of the program. The planned private and public functions can be centred around this garden.

Choosing location

Choosing the location is a crucial element of interference. The area is densely built in, the cityscape is disorganised. It would be logical to place the planned building in the centre of the village, however, it would only be possible by demolishing other houses due to crowdedness. It would be inadvisable to start the project with destruction as our intention is to instill in the community the sense of building the future. That is the reason why the location of the planned building was marked out in the periphery of the village.


Social development and integration centre – Prilep, Macedonia, Architect: Mikus László, University of Pécs, 2019.

 

This area can easily be linked to the centre and even the farthest point of the settlement is less than 1 km away from it, therefore there is no need for demolition, what’s more, there is room to expand.

The narrow and disorganised streets are unsuitable for private function; the area was marked out because there is a possibility to expand without demolition and it is suitably connected by public roads.


Location

Excellent location is an important tool of the acceptance of the new building. After closely examining the area, the following observations were made:

The area is built in a crammed and disorganised way, mostly with detached houses and other minor buildings. Therefore the designed building needs to comply with these detached houses and present an ’organised disorganisation’. Since public function requires greater mass and area of land, certain functions of the building will be separated and placed into smaller buildings.


Site plan, Social development and integration centre – Prilep, Macedonia, Architect: Mikus László, University of Pécs, 2019.

 

The area and space between the existing buildings has been analysed. An average space ratio defines the distance between the buildings which are being designed. Another important factor relating to this is that there are no private gardens which are fenced off, each area can be accessed from anywhere. This is the reason why the gardens of the designed houses follow the same principle; they are open and can be freely accessed thus making them more acceptable.

While finding the location, the main focus was on following the above mentioned space requirements and the character of the already existing detached houses. However, it was important for the buildings to form a cohesive group, only the size should remind us of the detached houses, as they need to serve a public function. Therefore the settlement is geometrically organised in its own system, however, certain items have been moved in accordance with the environment. Two dominant directions can be noted. One is defined by the direction of the street, the other by the mountains next to Prilep. Although location of the surrounding houses is random, a certain organisation appears due to the hillside.

 


Social development and integration centre – Prilep, Macedonia, Architect: Mikus László, University of Pécs, 2019.

 

Entrance zone

It was not possible to prepare a symbolic and monumental gateway because of the need to comply with the character of the surrounding area; furthermore, I also wished to ensure the accessibility of the group of buildings I designed. This area has several entrances formed by the buildings. However, one main entrance has been chosen, which is defined by the street line, the two perpendicular buildings and the shortened, funnel-like group of buildings.

 

Gymnasium

The gymnasium is the central point of the group of buildings both in function and in location. It does not host traditional P.E. lessons but physical therapy. The setup can be adjusted in accordance with the purpose. In case of large group sessions a large open space can be created. When having small group or private sessions, mobile walls may be used to divide up the space. Depending on the session, there is a possibility for a changing room. If there is no need for such thing, coats, shoes, etc. can be stored away in the wardrobes located in the hallway. Under the storage a sliding bench is located. If necessary, a traditional changing room is also available. The building may also be used for other events, the hallway can be opened into one space with the gymnasium, the external doors/windows can be fully opened thus allowing the garden and the interior to become one space.



Plan, Social development and integration centre – Prilep, Macedonia, Architect: Mikus László, University of Pécs, 2019.



Social development and integration centre – Prilep, Macedonia, Architect: Mikus László, University of Pécs, 2019.

 

Public function room

The public function room serves as the welcoming building of the group of buildings. This building is the main entrance, opens up to the street. It can serve various purposes, such as a waiting area for parents, a counselling room, a room for group or private therapies, family sessions or a venue for other events. Its standard function is being a library with open shelves. The books will not dominate the space, they will be placed mostly on lower shelves on the side thus making the space changeable and open. Stock will be continuously upgraded from the stock of the city library. The adjustability of the space can be preserved by furniture, which can serve open public function as well as creating private areas.

 

Mikus László

 

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