City of Ústí nad Labem and the hamlet of Manešovice on the map of architecture
During the summer term 2013, students of architecture at Technical University of Liberec, under the leadership of a1architects, initiated and carried out small architecture on the village square and in the park. By their own action, students have improved public areas chosen deliberately for the bad condition after the discussion with local residents.
Architecture can create unique places that are the background of our lives, can offer new possibilities and spark communication, architecture has an amazing ability to influence the quality of the environment. On the other hand the effects are often opposite - creating unwanted barriers, closing or dividing society or causing misunderstanding...
During the whole summer term two teams of the six students directed their attention to the phenomenon of meeting people with environment and vice versa. Discussion with local residents and last but not least negotiations with the administration, were part of the dialogue. Building workshops in Manešovice and Ústí were on the programme at the end of the term. Individual approach was needed with regard to the context of town life and village life including related topics.
Buňka Gallery in Ústí nad Labem
In collaboration with active local civil associations and citizens, the project "window gallery" was established. This project relates to existing operation of the Buňka Gallery in old building of "unimobuňka" (temporary units for workers) after which was Buňka named. The aim of the window gallery in Ústí n. Labem is to link exhibitions and artists with public area in the centre of the town park in front of the County Court in Střekov. Thanks to its position Buňka have been captured on photographs in media during the recent floods in Střekov. The Art Opening of the first exhibition was planned on the 3.6. 2013, at the time of biggest concerns and evacuation of Střekov residents. Authors in collaboration with artist Richard Loskot responded promptly and the first installation in the gallery were sandbags protecting Buňka from flooding Elbe River. Fortunately, new gallery was saved when the river stopped just a few inches from it.
Students built the wooden object of gallery in 14 days. Black prism covered with beautiful black gloss pine boards protecting building from the weather, opens with large format glazing into pure white gallery. Daily light permeates through the skylight so the gallery operates even without the electricity. The window to the gallery is oriented to the park road that leads from the trolley bus stop. The gallery begins with the "sitting corner", functioning as a bench, the roof and a small podium. At the same time the side walls function as sun protection from reflecting glass, which could deteriorate the transparency. You can sit comfortably next to the art pieces during the Art Openings or while waiting for the bus.
Residents of Ústí n. Labem and local art scene can now enjoy new Black Pearl of public space.
Bus stop in Manešovice
Seemingly simple design of existing bus stop in the middle of the village can be a challenge for architects.How to emphasize community village life? About 50 residents live in Manešovice which makes the village of almost semi-private character where everyone knows about everything, or has own key from a bus stop. Neighbourly relations directly form everyday life in the village, whether in a good or bad way.
Students have learnt that bus stop serves also as a stop for shop on wheels, lunch purchasing place or as information point with city council notice board and information about cultural events in the area. This all was taking place at old sad looking rough cast bus stop from 80's.
The aim of the project is to link mentioned activities and even elevate them and open new opportunities. The roof underwent reconstruction, the walls were repainted and in addition students built wooden terrace surrounding two lindens growing in front of the bus stop. Table and bench with the view on Manešovice pond were installed on the terrace. The bus stop was painted in white with blue details, which were deliberately used on frontage rather than interior. The interior is blue with wooden roof frame. The roof is made of crates with growing plants.
Most of the residents not only from Manešovice but also from surroundings helped during the process, someone brought lunch or pastry, others helped with an excavator or ladle. The process of construction resulted in new meetings and brought the village to life. In occasion of passing keys from bus stop, local residents toghether with students throw a celebration at the end of June. This will be long remembered in Manešovice.