The Berlage

Session Room K

The Emergence of Metropolitan Palaces

Yvette Vasourkova

In the selection of a theme, I have reacted to the current situation of important urban buildings, which tend to be marked by an excessively generic design approach. The lecture will focus on the research of Prague’s metropolitan palaces from the first half of the twentieth century and examines the sustainability of their concept and contemporary applications. In connection to the redefinition of the investigated typology, the principles are stated that the metropolitan palace provides for the contemporary city. Parallel to the search for a sustainable model of urban architectural form for the 21st century, it is unavoidable to devote attention as well to the economic aspects of construction and the related themes such as the roles and ambitions of investors, as well as the future social demands for the use of the city. Investigations of the question of sustainable development tend, at present, to be reduced all too often to the adherence to empirical values – energy balance, normative data, used materials etc., i.e. what are termed ‘hard’ criteria. From this standpoint, sustainable architecture primarily means a technological architecture. On the contrary, I search for a permanent urban architectonic form that would be minimally dependent on technologies and capable of absorbing a previously set framework of urban activities. I intend through my research to find an answer to the following questions: What is the source of the unique qualities of the modern urban palace after over a century of this typology’s existence? What are the conditions for the realization of urban palaces? How are the sustainable principles of the urban palace usable for contemporary sustainable construction? It is the aim of the present work to evaluate the urban-palace typologies as forms of sustainable architecture.

Yvette Vašourková (*1976, Brno, Czechoslovakia) studied architecture and urban design at the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands as well as at Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague, where she completed her PhD with a theses title: The Importance of a Metropolitan Palace for Sustainable City. She is co-founder of Centre for Central European Architecture (CCEA) a non-profit organization and with Igor Kovačević she founded the architecture firm MOBA studio. She was nominated as Architect of the Year 2016 by Czech Chamber of Architects. She is active as architect, curator and initiator of urban transformations. Recently she is involved in projects:  Active Public Space (In collaboration with IAAC - Barcelona and Die Angewandte - Vienna) and Negrelli Viaduct - The Opportunity for Creative City, which was awarded by Czech Architecture Award in 2017. She is involved in teaching as guest critique at Archip Prague, ETH Zurich and TU Berlin. She was member of jury for LafargeHolcim Award for Sustainable Construction Europe 2017. Besides other activities CCEA MOBA focuses on organization of architectural competition in Czech republic to explore the quality of development for public as well as private clients.

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