Inventing urbanity in Ajka

Competiton site and its problems

by SZABÓ Árpád

1. - The city center of Ajka

The site of the Hungarian competition of Europan 10 was the commercial and administrative centre of Ajka, where besides restructuring the existing spatial system, the task was to create an architectural and environmental character, that fulfills the expectations of the 21st century, but at the same time re-evaluates the elements of the architecture of the 1970s. [...]

The new city center built from the 1960s satisfied the functional requirements and even today works - in a strict functional sense - acceptably. The commercial functions located here are in use, there are hardly any empty premises. Nevertheless today the heart of a city deserves much more functionality. [...]

Ajka E10: A tervezési terület

Ajka E10: A tervezési terület

The biggest problem of the existing city centre is the lack of public spaces and public functions, although more than 60% of the population lives in a 15 minutes walking distance from the city centre. In the centre there are no spaces providing possibilities for public urban activities, although this could be the role, which would provide the extra attractiveness compared to the out-of-town shopping centers. The city centre should be the location for the flea-markets, the street- and children festivals and the wedding processions. [...]

2. - The relation of the Hungarian site to the Europan 10 theme

According to the classification of sites in Europan 10 centre of Ajka belongs to the group of sites: Revitalization: Magnetic Pole. The general task of the competitors working on the Hungarian site is to find architectural and urban design solutions to enhance the attractiveness of the centre. Answers should be given to the following question: what are the conditions in this specific location - change and reinforcement of uses, increasing of public and private dynamics, etc. - to provide a system of public spaces that not only attracts citizens into the area but is able to intensify its urban life.

/full article can be read in issue No.17/

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