Inside Out: Re-imagining Petržalka 

48-410 C: Epiflows
Professor Dana Cupkova
Fourth Year, Spring 2015

Epiflows: Towards Resiliency of Post-Soviet City Networks

The Epiflows Studio focused on examining the architectural and urban conditions produced by prefabricated construction in an Eastern-European context. Petržalka is the largest and most densely populated "living city” in the city of Bratislava, in central Europe, which was constructed as a socialist parallel to the modernist model of a "functional" city. Petržalka is built entirely from panelized reinforced concrete systems. The linear logic of this programmatically segregated living ‘suburban’ zone and the compositional principals of urbanism historically disregarded the specific local environmental, social and cultural conditions of the site in favor of an optimistic utopian ideology that claimed to create an environment in which everyone is equal. "Inside Out" emerged out of extensive digital modeling, simulation, and scripting. Throughout the iterative process the relationships between sustainability, human experience, and system design were interrogated relative to digital and parametric workflows. 

 

Context and Comparison:

The scalar implications of Petržalka's enormous interior courtyards produce a sense of territorial ambiguity between public and private space. Side-by-side comparisons between the old city and the Soviet housing compounds illustrates the lack of spatial definition and locatablility within the site. 

 

Hyperscalar Ambiguity:

Developing a sense of neighborhood identity through shared spatial, programmatic, or experiential assets is impossible within the featureless courtyards and corridors of Petržalka , especially when compared to the scale of functionally similar spaces in the old city. Petržalka’s urban fabric is relentless in scale, devoid of identifying landmarks, and lacks a clear plan for circulation or hierarchy of spaces. 

 

Microclimatic Disruption:

Developing a sense of neighborhood identity through shared spatial, programmatic, or experiential assets is impossible within the featureless courtyards and corridors of Petržalka, especially when compared to the scale of functionally similar spaces in the old city. Petržalka’s urban fabric is relentless in scale, devoid of identifying landmarks, and lacks a clear plan for circulation or hierarchy of spaces. 

 

Territorialization by Transit:

Developing a pattern of territories and regions around transit nodes begins to illustrate the potential for subdividing and redefining Petržalka’s shared spaces. In this case, territorializing a region is completely independent of the existing housing infrastructure or its density.

 

Territorialization by Unit Density:

Developing a pattern of territories and regions around entrance and exit spaces based on density begins to illustrate the potential for subdividing and redefining Petržalka’s shared spaces. In this case, territorializing a region is tied to the patterns and organizational logic of existing housing infrastructures and their density.

 

Composite Territorialization:

Overlaying territories and generating a multi-node system of subdivision allows each cell or territory to respond to multiple different contextual constraints including climate, sun exposure, transportation nodes, and unit density. 

 

System Overlay:

“Inside Out” superimposes a new organizing logic across the site based on the territorialization of Petržalka’s vast interior and exterior courtyards and promenades. Subdividing the site based on unit density, proximity to existing core transportation networks, year-round solar radiation, average wind exposure, and optimized wastewater management allow each unit type compound to link to the next in plan. Ground units lost to the resulting terraforming and landscaping are transformed into indoor parking structures with additional units constructed on top. Runoff from the site is collected and pumped to the top of the tower in large holding takes for year-round irrigation and greywater use. 

 

Dynamic Section:

In order to introduce further variation within the experience of the site, massive Shukhovian steel diagrid curtains are suspended from dynamic arms. Covered in a Translucent fabric scrim, the curtain adds additional insulation and wind buffering in the winter and shade in the summer. In large storm events the fabric scrim collects and retains water to reduce the velocity and volume of runoff on the site. As the skrim becomes heavy with water or displaced by wind, the arms themselves move up and down to create a dynamic, playful, and ever-changing second skin that humanizes and animates the static, regular panelized housing towers.

 

Flow Lines:

Vector paths of water runoff were used to fine tune the transformed landscape around the towers to optimize wastewater management and compose a more humanized, park-like landscape.