Runner-up: AJ111 – Ajka Transforum

Christina LENART, architect; Ernst GRUBER, architect; Michael KLEIN, architect-urbanist (Wien, Austria)

Ajka Transforum: inner square

Ajka Transforum: inner square

What if you enter a competition for a modernist city in times of financial crisis? How to tie people’s urge for individual expression and private property to a city centre that has been born out of the idea of collectivisation? DIY-urbanism instead of waiting for the one to come!

Yet the city is now experiencing the wellproven habits of “the market” – facing city-life sucking vampires that carry names like Tesco. Just as anywhere else, society is increasingly individualising and the wish for private property outrules the sense for community, amplified by the repetitive housing slabs, a result of the former housing policy. People commute between their single-family houses and the shopping malls on the outskirts, passing through the city centre at 50 km/h.

Ajka Transforum: site plan of the inner square

Ajka Transforum: site plan of the inner square

In a response to these phenomena, the “Ajka Transforum” is a strategy that follows a series of small and rather cheap interventions that aim to re-activate the city centre as a place where people would want to live, meet, hang out and at the same time leave their marks of individuality. The outcome is expected to be an ever-evolving image of the city’s character, not a representation of Ajka through one homogenous façade. The single core identity does not exist, therefore a structure that itself has no content but strongly encourages an interaction to take place within itself becomes the image of the multi-personality of the city.

This open framework – the Ajka Wrap - stimulates interaction, negotiation and the appropriation of territory. Tectonically it can hold up wall or floor elements. It can become an element in itself, a shelf, a thick wall, an arcade, a passage or an offset of the façade behind it. When set afront a commercial space it becomes an offer for the shopowner to interpret it as a displaying structure, as a covered shelter for goods displayed on the outside, for advertising. And when left untouched it is space for the public disposition.

/complete writing can be read in issue No.17./

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.