The Panelák

Talk about Czech customs, traditions, holidays, books, and the Czech way of life.

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wissy
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Postby wissy » 21-Nov-05 18:56

Very true Sova.
When I was in Prague during August I was privileged to be invited into three local properties all of which were dreadful externally and in the communal entrance areas. However, inside all were immaculate and beautifully furnished. I certainly came away under the impression that Czechs will spend a high proportion of their income on their properties. Am I right :?:
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Postby Qcumber » 21-Nov-05 20:56

Yes, Evian, it's a declared war against Christians and Buddhists. :cry:
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Postby Qcumber » 21-Nov-05 21:03

I agree with you, Evian, that esthetics plays an important part in life, and there is no doubt the architects who designed the panelaks in Tchecoslovaquia, the HLMs in France or the council tenements in Great Britain didn't care much about esthetics.
The new HLMs starting from about a decade ago, are a lot more appealing, there are even some designed by great architects (e.g. Ricardo BOFIL), but there again, if the inhabitants are dirty, they quickly turn into slums.
Last edited by Qcumber on 24-Nov-05 0:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Qcumber » 21-Nov-05 21:18

Viktor, you must be right, but I think modular building, as we know it in the West, was discovered by the end of the 19th century by the American Edward S. MORSE after he visited Japan, and took down ideas from what he observed there.
His book "Japanese homes and their surroundings" (1886) - a masterpiece - is full of technical details that inspired post-classic architects in the US before WWII, and in Europe after WWII.
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Postby Zeisig » 22-Nov-05 13:45

More interesting than the panel houses is the so-called Koldům (= collective house) built by the Chemical Works in Litvínov (Nothern Bohemia) in 1947-1958.

Brief description: an excellent architecture (Václav Hilský and Evžen Linhart) inspired by the functionalism of the French architect Le Corbusier, using the latest technologies: steel frame and poured concrete frame - cannot be easily destroyed by a gas explosion like panel houses, underfloor heating (now replaced by common wall radiators), etc. The floor of the halls and corridors was covered by cork (polished daily, now replaced by PVC). The flats (numbering about 353) were relatively small, but there were: refectory, restaurant with dance-hall, clubs, shops, friseur, barber, laundry, kinder garten, etc.

Idea: the house represented, at its times, a new socialistic style of living of the industrial workers. It is without saying that all inhabitants (employees of the chemical factory) were loyal to the new regime.

The main disadvantage (beside the small floorage of the flats, but it can be easily changed) of this experiment: the cost. The building and its maintaining was (and still is) too expensive, thus not suitable for common workers.

Now the Koldům is a municipal property partially changed into hotel.

http://www.crt-most.cz/pic/turistika/koldum2.jpg
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Postby Qcumber » 24-Nov-05 0:11

The Koldům has a superb environment, and the general design is good.
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Eva2
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Postby Eva2 » 27-Nov-05 6:48

Come on, Qcumber, are your standards so low that you'd call this a generally good design? Good design was killed by Le Corbusier and his likes - may they burn in hell! Cities and lanscapes have been destroyed by brutal, depressing modernism and future generations will damn us for these crimes. Other styles mellow with age but 20th century architecture will never age well.
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GlennInFlorida
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Postby GlennInFlorida » 27-Nov-05 13:42

Although my primary work focus these days is computer related design and graphics, I have been a registered architect since 1981 and I tend to disagree. "Modern" architecture, well executed, can make the spirit sing. The problem lies not with its basic precepts, but rather with execution. Too many "examples" of modern architecture are just dull buildings that cling to the genre as an excuse instead of a definition.
Following the original line of the thread, panalaky are not inherently bad but the issue of social housing has always been troublesome. Anytime people are warehoused and deprived of a real sense of place, the result is a "slum". Socio-economic disparities only exacerbate the problem. The solution is not easy, in fact history suggests that there is no real solution. There is no Utopia, probably never will be but, that doesn't mean we should stop trying to achieve it. Good architecture, in all of its manifestations (including "modern"), is a part of that effort.
evian
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Postby evian » 27-Nov-05 14:12

Eva2 wrote:Other styles mellow with age but 20th century architecture will never age well.


Oh..I must disagree!
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Postby magan » 27-Nov-05 14:14

Saddest thing is that there "panelaky" were dream homes of young couples as there was no other way to find place to live. Most common solution was to move with parents on one side or other (depending who had bigger place to live) and live with them "forewer".

Only LUCKY COUPLES/ not singles!!!, who would "qualify", could put money down and wait up to 12 years (adding some labour to participate in building) to finally move it. These panelaky are original CONDOS!!!

Fifteen years ago, friends, who are both medical doctors told me that if it wouldn't be for their parents savings, they would never be able to afford it. These housings had central heating, hot water, separate apartments (not bathroom shared with neighbours), elevators.............it was "modern living" way back. Most couples with children did not have that luxury and were living in one room in small apartment of their parents/parents in-law.

Unfortunately, Czechs disrespect for common property, n place to dry laundry, horrible design, low quality contributed to result that it looks like a slums. Nice people live inside...........they just don't know any better, because they only care for inside of their apartments.

Under new "privatization law" occupants of these apartments have first right to buy it (bno other place to live in) and management groups are formed to take care of the buildings, it is beginning to look better.

Now, when people do have a chance to travel out of the country and see how other people live and they are not brain-washed about the priviledge of living in these apartments, they do want changes.........Renovations of buildings is hapenning and grey is being replaced with colour.

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