M C A
A T E L I E R
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Ing. arch. Miroslav Cikán
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Ing. arch. Pavla Melková
Dykova 1 I Prague 10 Vinohrady I 10100 I Czech republic
www.mca-atelier.com I e: [email protected] I T: 00420602251428
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Uncovering of the hidden potential of new life and the new function of historic structures, and
their embodiment through new architectural interventions.
Reaction to the current state of architectural work
What marks the contemporary age is a state of fragmentation, of a loss of
continuity and contextuality in both space and time. No less true is that architecture is increasingly losing its humanistic role, the embodiment of continuity, context
and the meaning of life for individuals and social values, a role that it always defended throughout history in its essence, and under the influence of technological
modernisation is becoming little more than an instrumental discipline. Architecture has begun to lose its dimension as the craft of formulating the human environment – and is even losing its relationship to its very own purpose. Now, the predominant ethos is of liberation from traditional values: overblown autonomy and
media-generated spectacles, architecture reduced to its fragmentary visual image.
Traditional structures of settlement, with their density, proportions, level of detail
and rich mixture of functions corresponding to the natural scale and needs of the
human being, are replaced with fragmentary, disjointed real estate.
Within the historic structures of cities, villages and landscapes, we find
neglect and a failure to use the large quantity of historical structures and localities, at the same time as new spatial needs are artificially met by new “megapolitan” objects or urban complexes with no ties to the original built fabric, often
mindlessly churning their compactness into the margins and at the same time unnecessarily slicing up what remains of open space. And yet historic structures still
contain, within a framework of reconstruction, revitalisation, and measured interventions, a deep potential for the insertion of new life and new functions, needing
only to be discovered and embodied by a corresponding architectural approach.
Uncovering of lost ties and connections, and development of points of resonance at the key
points of this spatial network, resonances with the place for which they are a perceptible
detail and shaper of the atmosphere.
Seeking a method for recycling extant built structures as conditions for the sustainable
development of cities and landscapes.
Connecting the past and the future through an architectonic embodiment, such that our own
era is evident in this line across the space-time continuum, and is a fully valid material imprint
of the moment of its creation as well as a linchpin in time and space.
Respecting context, place and purpose. Expressing humility towards the character of the site
and the value of extant historic structures, and simultaneously creating an openly contemporary
trace of modern architecture, which is a reflection of our society as it is today, no less so than
in the previous historic layers.
Restoring the humanistic and communicative role of architecture.
Reinstating the dimension of architecture as the craft of forming the human environment.
Returning to the long gestation period of creation, and the reflection and personal presence
of the architect-creator in the entire process, including the actual construction and reaching
down to the last detail.
Rather than building buildings – creating spaces that can become a firm component of cultures
and landscapes.
Architecture as an experience of being, immediate sensuousness, materiality as well as poetry.
Architecture as formal simplicity uncovering references to the context of memory, the character
of a place, tradition.
Architecture where the expressive force is not determined by passing fashion but is
always created anew, based on the context of the project.
The capability of recycled earlier construction to meet
the functional and qualitative demands of society today
Similarly to other area in the life of a society, one of the key principles for
the development of cities is the sustainable development of recycling.
The main reasons behind the construction of new buildings are, at the
present time, the increasing demand for square metres of built-up space per
inhabitant on the one hand, and on the other the rising and changing demands
for building functions. If we accept these demands as a premise – even though
part of the reflections according to the principle of sustainable development
must equally include the very justifiability of such demands – we can realised
their fulfilment either at the expense of covering still open space with new
construction, replacement of an earlier building with a new one without the
occupation of open space, or the recycling of an earlier building. Recycling earlier
buildings would appear, in terms of sustainability, the most evidently suitable
methods, and not only for questions of using the extant material substance or
the conservation of open space, but also for the preservation and strengthening
of wider social values.
The precondition for the recycling of extant buildings is their capability for
adaptation for new qualitative and functional demands, insofar as the apparent
‘incapacity’ for adaptation, which is usually the absence of imagination on the
part of the investor or architect, or a reaction to excessive regulatory principles,
is currently perhaps the more frequent cause for the variation of a new building
in previously open space, more so than the poor technical condition of the older
building.
In the following examples, we have supplied instances that prove
that original buildings can, on the basis of the appropriate alterations,
be capable of meeting current functional, social and technical demands
to the fully applicable extent, as much as any new construction.
Revitalisation of the “Crucifix Bastion”
Investor: District government of Prague 2
Realisation: 2010 - 2011
Locality: Prague 2, Nové Město – Karlov
Though itself of Baroque date, Bastion XXXI is a part of the
medieval fortifications of the New Town of Prague, founded in 1348
by Emperor Charles IV. Along with the fortress of Vyšehrad, another
significant monument of the city fortifications, the ramparts form a
significant defensive complex, yet one hidden beneath the later layers
of the contemporary built fabric of central Prague, now a UNESCO
heritage site. The impermeability of the area created an inner periphery,
a strip of inaccessible and unused greenery within the central city, in
certain points approaching the character of a „brownfield“.
The construction is part of a wider planned conception for
linking the green areas and public spaces of the university campus
at Albertov with the adjoining neighbourhoods of the New Town
(Nové Město) and Vinohrady. Our goal was the landscaping of the
public area, the addition of an open-air café and gallery on the site of
a ruined building of 19th-century date, and linking the spaces inside
and outside the medieval fortification line that has kept the area of
gardens and the university campus separate from the other sections
of the city.
Revitalisation was completed on the basis of the winning
entry in a public architectural competition, held by the district
government of Prague 2 in 2007. The new structure for public
facilities was designed as a building below ground, a hidden acropolis
attracting visitors with its contents and its form, not through mere
visibility. It is conceived as an autonomous, solid “seashell”, inserted
into the layerings of the archaeologically defined stratigraphic levels
of Baroque and modern terrain, while not disturbing the character of
the fortifications and the visual outline of the defensive walls. In its
formal vocabulary, the building is elementary, minimal, and grounded
in the material principles of fortification architecture: firmness. The
structure is available for varying uses: a universal hall for exhibitions,
social functions or a café, facilities for the public and for operation.
With its open front sliding-glass wall, turned towards the panorama of
Vyšehrad, the exterior becomes a fully valid component of the interior.
Included in the realization is the reconstruction of the wall chapel,
supplemented with a contemporary sculpture, “The Crucifixion” (Boží
muka).
Revitalisation of the Bastion is the first realized stage of a
much larger project intended to spur the process of revival in the
wider vicinity, leading local residents to visit the area, and attracting
public attention to allow for the continuation of further stages in the
project. Insertion of new recreational and cultural functions into the
structure of heritage objects makes possible their rescuing – not as
lifeless museum-objects, but as a natural, living part of the city. The
ensuing architectonic form is proof of the possibilities of connecting
the heritage approach to the restoration of historically valuable
structures, and the measured yet self-confident contemporary
implementation of new contextually aware architecture. In addition
to the contextual supplementing and the increasing of the potential
of the extant environment, the new buildings can also provide
the aesthetic experience of their architecture in itself. Complexly
layered volumes were created not through the mere accretion of
details, but instead through the placement of a layer of volumes
into the actual masses and space, volumes that accent, initiate or
even merely play host to the subtle impressions of the environment.
M o d e r n i s a t i o n a n d e n l a r g e m e n t o f t h e v i l l a N a L u žc i i n P ra g u e - Vo ko v i c e
Client: Private investor
Realisation: 2009
Locality: Prague 6
The building is part of a characteristic original patter of construction from the 1920s, with a
definite conception of an urban plan and a deliberately unified appearance of single-family houses,
forming a valuable component of the wider structure of the city, for which preservation should
be a clear priority. Wherever the original houses have been replaced with new structures, often
with a completely different urban character, the error of such a path is often evident. Recycling of
individual structures, in this case, is also a participation in the recycling of the larger whole.
The primary problem with the using of the original houses, however, is that in many
parameters they do not meet the requirements for the qualities of a modern residence: originally
planned as cheap residential housing, this requirement has shaped the structural, material, spatial
and organisational solution of the individual houses.
The goal for revitalisation of the house lay in the increase of the quality of the structure
for its full suitability with the contemporary lifestyle, while retaining the maximum of the original
built substance and equally the characteristic original values from the urban plan to the structural
details.
The central spatial interventions consisted in the creation of large-scaled, freely connected
spaces created through the opening of the original floor plan, and primarily the opening of the
living space to the garden through a newly added all-glass section. This addition allows for direct
physical as well as optical contact with the garden on a single level, which is generally lacking in
older houses adapted to the different living styles of an earlier era.
No less significant in the revitalisation was the adaptation of what was originally a
notably energy-inefficient structure for a completely different energy system. Generally, the
most significant basic measures were implemented for the reconstruction of historic buildings:
insulation of the horizontal structures, external façade insulation (while retaining the original
three-dimensional qualities of its surface), highly skilful renovation of the windows and the
use of hybrid heat sources – a combination of renewable energy sources, with a geothermal
boring and a water pump with a bivalent source, electric boiler and wood-burning stoves.
Reconstruction
Vinohrady
of
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Hussite
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Client: Czechoslovak Hussite Church
Location: Prague 10
Realisation: 1999 -2011
The importance of the reconstruction of the building can be
viewed on several levels.
In terms of the general scope, it is the lengthening of the life of an
exceptional instance of Functionalist architecture and thus the
preservation of its message for future generations.
At the same time, it is not merely the maintaining, but equally the
generation of new spaces in the original subordinate areas in the
building, for increasing its current social functions, of importance to
public activities of the larger surrounding locality of Vinohrady.
In the residential section, one necessary part of renovation
consisted in the adaptation of the structure to modern comfort; in
this case, primarily consisting of the improvement of the structural
and physical qualities of the environment. The insulation qualities
of the building were reinforced with an insulating system formed
through the combination of thick layers of coarse stucco and thickly
anchored thermo-insulation façade slabs. The goal was to find a
balance between the structural, economic, heritage and aesthetic
criteria, with a stress on the authenticity of the overall whole. From
our calculations, we arrived at a compromise of minimal insulation,
primarily for the reason of preserving the plasticity of the facades; an
automatic application of current standards could have had a greater
effect, yet at the cost of losing authenticity in those points where
the compositional and material essence is of central importance to
the experience of this exceptional Functionalist work. Adjustment
of the physical processes in the structure helped the building reach
stability in terms of heat insulation, materials, and construction; on
the economic level it brought about the effect of long-term balance
without heat stresses and thus without the need for frequent repairs.
In spatial terms, the original design by architect Pavel
Janák was found more or less to fulfil the greater part of
modern ideas of a good residence, which we can also regard in
turn as proof of the timelessness of good architectural design.
Atelier MCA is located in the Hussite Assembly in Prague-Vinohrady, in the ground space enclosed by the columbarium
and the intensive life of the park – between the past of the dead and the future of the living. If these two worlds
attempt to make contact, it takes place, quite probably, through this boundary, through the space in which we work,
perhaps even through us ourselves. And so perhaps the method and goal of our work, lying frequently in the formation
of a connecting link between the past and the future embodied by a new architectural contribution, is no accident.
Reconstruction of an apartment block, Mánesova ulice, Prague 2
Client: Private investor
Realisation: 1998
Locality: Prague 2
The greater part of the residential areas of central Prague
is formed by a fabric of traditional apartment blocks from the 19th
and early 20th centuries. In terms of space and social functions, the
original standards of these residential forms completely achieved,
in some circumstances even surpassed, current living requirements;
the reasons why such flats are now often regarded as unsuitable at
present are primarily their transformation in the second half of the
20th century, first being shamefully split up under nationalisation
into purely utilitarian and ill-thought smaller units, or later (during
the 1990s) rebuilt as offices or hotels. Structural-physical comfort
in these buildings is often, particularly in certain parameters
such as humidity and heat stability, essentially comparable with
the greater bulk of new construction, but for increasing energy
efficiency it is always necessary to make several basic changes.
In the listed examples of reconstruction of apartment
buildings, the most important features were the heat insulation
of horizontal structures, high-quality renovation of the windows,
and a change in the system of heating control. Also important for
lowering the energy demands was the replacement of separated
systems of central heating and their unification to a central boiler
with effective burning, measurement and regulation. Similarly,
an added benefit was the freeing up of the restored chimneys
for occasional heating with wood in stoves or fireplaces, i.e.
a return of the original (if now alternative) heating method.
The goal of the recycling of these structures was to restore
or re-create the social standard of the flats, created not only through
their size and the generosity of layout, but also the character of
the original details – their form, quantity, material standard and
above all the value they embodied, in which for the creation of an
adequate social environment it was no less important to apply these
very same principles to the shared public areas of the building.
Revitalisation of Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad, Prague-Vinohrady
Client: District Office of Prague 3
Locality: Prague-Vinohrady
1st prize in architectural competition 2002
Realisation of project: 2001, 2011
Anti-flood barrier of the Čertovka Stream
Client: City Council of Prague
Locality: Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter), Prague
Realisation: 2005
The area for situating the barriers for the flood-protection
system is situated within Prague’s most strictly protected
landmark district, at the point where the rivulet known as
the “Čertovka” (Devil’s Stream) enters into the Vltava, a
point exceptionally open to public view. The design for the
barrier is completely subordinated to these surroundings,
where the priority is not to disturb the spatial concavity of
the historical formation of the mouth of the Čertovka. The
importance of the architectonic and technical solution of the
new barrier lies in the near-invisibility of what is actually a
quite extensive utilitarian-technical structure. In other words,
it is a prototype of a newly developed original form of a
technical work, never before used in any other situation. At
times of high water, the river bed is closed off with a sliding
wall, which under ordinary conditions remains hidden, slid
into the existing embankment wall. The supporting structural
reinforcements, the staircase blocks and columns that form
a non-invasive and functional part of the embankment’s
public parterre, also help with ensuring the stability of the
flood-wall. The articulation and surfaces are derived from the
formal vocabulary of the contemporary elements along the
Vltava on Kampa Island, and thus make a natural contribution.
The aim was to revitalise the urban square containing the famed Church of
the Sacred Heart by Josip Plečnik. Plečnik situated the new church into a
newly created park, which was, however, never completed as he originally
planned. Indeed, the form of the site was degraded during the second
half of the 20th century by several utilitarian and ill-conceived additions
primarily linked to the construction of the metro station. The key question
behind the design of the new alterations is whether the space should
be a park or a square. Bearing in mind the current character of the site,
regarded and used by the residents as a park, and also aware of the visual
dominance of the church as well as the social and cultural significance of
the vicinity, we arrived at a solution that preserves the character of the
space as a city park with a high level of green yet also creates, in front of
the church, a smaller “square” that forms a dignified foregrounding of the
landmark and also a social area for assembling and communicating. An
imposing new line of plane trees forms a visual transition between the
monumental height of the church and the surrounding area of a much
smaller scale, and fulfils the general idea of monumental trees in the
vicinity of the church as captured in Plečnik’s original sketches.
The basic geometry of the design is orthogonal, with a firm diagonal
axis. On the dimension of height, the space is formed by three main
“floors” the pavement (grass), the “tree-floor” and the mass of the
church. The presence of the church, with its striking architecture,
determines the formal vocabulary of the supplementary architecture of
the square at ground level: we selected a simple, geometrical form with
a minimum of expressive methods and the use of traditional materials.
Single-family house in Prague-Jinonice
Client: Private investor
Locality: Jinonice (Prague)
Realisation: 2006
Considering the small plot of land (455m2) amid an extant setting of
earlier single-family houses, the necessary first step was to design
an object with highly efficient volume, which would have a generous
amount of space (197m2 of usable space) with a variable internal
layout, yet at the same time appear sufficiently imposing. Our goal was
to leave the maximum undisturbed area of the current garden with
its fruit trees, linked by a terrace above the below-ground sections of
the building. Additionally, though, it was necessary to ensure that the
house did not clash with the structure of the original grouping of houses.
Of crucial importance was variability of the living area, rather than
total floor area, an environmentally friendly and efficient heating
system, optimally simple and cheap construction methods that met all
requirements for structural solidity, heat-accumulation and insulation.
The result is an energy-efficient, visually light, spacious and highly liveable
house, with subtle natural materials, an alternative offering a restrained
balance of quality and the absence of over-designed luxury. It is a thoughtful
investment in the technologically balanced systems of the future, and
the permanent values of wise treatment of the natural environment.
Yet no less is it the creation of a new opportunity in contemporary
residential construction, as part of the directed thickening of the current
built-up area, and the improvement of the spatial value of the locality
through the new addition of high-quality contemporary architecture.
C o nvers i o n o f a fo r m e r fa c to r y, P ra g u e - Vyso čany – Zen Gard en
Client: Designblok
Locality: Kolbenova ulice, Prague-Vysočany
Realisation: 2006
The first step in the re-conversion of the former manufacturing hall in the Prague
industrial suburb of Vysočany is considering its use for cultural purposes, i.e.
the artistic installations and theatre performances in the “Zenová zahrada” (Zen
Garden). With the definitive end to the building’s original function, the deserted
factory – originally the symbol of deafening, all-encompassing activity – became its
opposite: a place of quiet, of meditation. The remnants of inoperable machinery,
the dead containers, were transformed into symbols of the now-lost activity. The
goal of the exhibitions and performances was to attempt to present to the view
his or her own limited space of existence in the infinite eternity of the universe.
This space of the present moment became the strip of the arid Japanese garden
formed only by well-tended sand, in the shape of waves in water. The visitor
became part of the “present moment” upon entering into the dry garden, where
it was possible to take part in the shaping of its surface using special rakes, which
can briefly give form to the surface of the “dry water”, until the next person arrives.
The dry garden is the outcome of the Zen Buddhist refinement of thought
through long hours of meditation, journeys without a destination, pilgrimages
in the spheres of silence and the relaxation of the spirit. They are an entirely
unique and unparalleled philosophical realisation on the aesthetic plane: not
striving to create inspiring atmospheres by means of rich quantities of beauty,
colours and shapes, but through means entirely reversed – implications
and the most refined simplicity. The forms of the Zen garden, installed in a
deserted factory and supplemented with the forms of sound, image and
movement in passing across the dried bed of a river, enter in this installation
into context with the other meditative space of industrial architecture.
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Client: Private investor
Locality: Horní náměstí, Opava
Design: 2011
The design is for a new building on Opava’s historic main square, on the site originally occupied by houses
destroyed by fire during World War II. Grounded in the starting points of history and context, the design
takes as its decisive point, in our view, the choice of the correct mass of the object: the overall size, the
proportions of individual masses and their articulation, the level of detail, and above all the choice of the
correct proportions from the detail up to the whole. Ideally, the aim is to bring together two “scales”: the
scale of the unified block (set by the current delineation of the now-unified sites and the assumed unified
function and operations of the building) and the scale of the original division of the land and its resulting visual
articulation of the original construction in its individual layers (the variegated roof outline, facade tectonics,
sculptural qualities, quantity of detail). Nonetheless, the method of drawing upon the chronological layerings
of the urban structure is not a QUOTATION, assuming the “surface features” from previous stylistic eras, but
rather an EVOCATION on the basis of understanding and using the principles of the environmental qualities
of a specific site in the course of its development through time.
The contiguous mass of the buildings on the level of the ground floor up to the next-to-last always manifested
itself on this site as a firm block with a monolithic facade unaltered by interior floor plans. The presence of
individual buildings was revealed primarily on the level of the final storey, with differing heights of cornices
forming a strikingly modelled “section of the horizon”. The new building is created on similar principles: the
final, height-differentiated floor is an evocation of the original articulation of the site into different buildings.
At the heart of the design is the principle: permeability. A “barrier-free space” is the function of the mass of
the building in the context of the surrounding urban environment. Maximum connection of the building with
the surroundings. Connection through open passageways, open spaces and narrowed masses on the level of
the parterre. Connection of human presence on the level of terraces arising in the gaps in the articulation of
masses on the roof level – the terraces become part of the parterre and form permeability (an “anti-barrier”)
between the square and the adjoining spaces. Optical connection – views “through” the mass on all height
levels, distant views of nearby structures. And no less, views outward – from the rooftop terraces through
the gaps.
The associative source is: content – container – wrapping. The building (its function is commercial, cultural
and social) is metaphorically a commodity – a “package” formed by the contents (goods – cultural spaces,
shops, restaurants, services), the container – the “box” formed by the internal solid curtain wall with the
windows, and the “wrapping paper” formed by the exterior uniform glass facade.
The “appearance” of the building is created through the use of a unifying secondary facade. Its exterior
envelope is formed by two layers: the inner structure of the “building with windows” delimiting the interior
space, and the exterior wrapper formed by opaque shaded glass of various degrees of transparency and
translucency, surrounding the building’s entire perimeter, as a kind of “curtain” between the structure and
the square (the surroundings) defining the level, possibility and method of communication between the
building and its environment. (At the same time, this curtain can be viewed as a boundary – the layer between
two “rooms” where even the square is seen as a kind of ceiling-less room, i.e. a space of equal value.)
As architects, you have undertaken excursions into many different fields:
tion can bear up under the excess weight; for a building as well you can
I don’t have to go there, walk through it, touch it. I can throw it out, erase
PM: It is identification with the surroundings, and through the surroun-
temporary installations, working with solid materials like sand as well as
feel that money has been spent on a certain mass that absolutely isn’t
it. And that really is somewhat dangerous, for it is easy. The cinema is
dings back to yourself and your own past. I see structure as a kind of con-
Jako architekti podnikáte výlety do jiných oborů, zabýváte se dočasnými
Pavla Melková
a Miroslav Cikán
instalacemi, pracujete v nich s hmotnými materiály, jako je písek, i ne-
PM: Je otázka, co je vlastně architektura ve virtuálním světě. Je to
imitace reálné architektury, anebo už je to samostatný obor? Jaký má
pomocí digitálního 3D skeneru. Co vám přinesla tahle zkušenost?
je její imitací? Nebo s ní nemá už nic společného a je to samostatná
tvorba v prostoru, tvorba samostatného světa? V architektuře teď exis-
nerem, vzniklo mračno několika miliard bodů, ve kterých potom bylo
of a highly complex sculpture by the Austrian artist Bruno Gironcoli with
for it to slip out, there is always something unnecessary that you over-
safe, I don’t put anything into it, don’t risk anything, don’t touch, don’t put
myself out on the open market. Everything else is a kind of risk, I have to
struction, or better a network that keeps certain elements of the environment together. As architects, we are continually within a context with the
tují vlastně dvě vizuálna a já tam cítím velký rozdíl. Jedna věc je reálná
je vizuální informace o architektuře, tzn. nikdy jsem ten dům neviděla,
nesáhla si na něj, ale dostávám o něm 2D virtuální informaci. Hodně
měřítko: z mračna bodů se vygenerovala krusta, z ní se vygenerovaly
necessary. This is very hard to manage in the virtual world, it is so easy
architektura, která působí na náš zrak jako vjem na sítnici, druhá věc
vovat, že se pohybuji nějakou nekonečnou kosmickou mlhou. A potom
se z toho mračna začal zpětně modelovat hmotný svět, zase to dostalo
křivky a z těch křivek pak plány celé sochy, navrstvené po deseti centi-
non-solid ones like light. You have participated in the creation of a copy
vizualizace vztah k architektuře, je nějakým jejím předstupněm, nebo
MC: Zajímavé bylo, v kolika různých světech jsme se při práci na té soše
pohybovali. Nejdřív tam byl svět, v němž jsme sochu osahávali skemožné se pohybovat. Socha v něm ztratila rozměr, mohl jsem si předsta-
MCA
zbytečnost, kterou člověk přehlédne, protože ve virtuálním světě nemá
možnost kontroly v reálném měřítku.
hmotnými, jako je barevné světlo. Podíleli jste se na vytvoření kopie
tvarově komplikované plastiky rakouského umělce Bruna Gironcoliho
se kritizuje vizuální zaměření dnešní architektury a kultury vůbec, ale
mně by ani nevadilo, kdyby byla hodně vizuální, pokud by něco sdělo-
metrech, takže byla zase možná orientace v měřítku. To byl jeden pro-
vala. Myslím, že je hlavní, aby architektura měla obsah, aby měla co
ces. Další proces spočíval ve sledování vlastního vnitřního konstrukč-
sdělit. A není tak důležité, jakými prostředky to sděluje. Zda převa-
ního řádu sochy, aby mohla vzdorovat ohybům a vlastní hmotnosti.
žuje hmatová, fyzická a materiálová stránka, zvuková nebo ta vizuální.
K tomu jsme potřebovali pohledy do konstrukce sochy zevnitř: nejdřív
Nejpodstatnější je, jestli má co říct. A jak to říká, to mi nepřipadá tak
jsme se tedy pohybovali v nekonečném virtuálním světě, pak jsme sochu
zásadní.
fotili zevnitř, poté přišel prožitek hmatový, když jsme porovnávali originál s kopií, kontrolovali průběh křivek a ostření. Sochu jsme osahávali
a vlastně se jí dotýkali podobně, jako se jí dotýkal pan profesor Giron-
Rozhovor
Nejde vlastně o vztah informace a prožitku? Nejde o to, jak je informace zažitá?
coli, když jí tvořil, když ten originál hnětl, a my se vlastně stejným způ-
PM. Přesně. Protože můžu mít s architekturou fyzický kontakt ve fyzic-
sobem chtěli dopátrat tvaru i v kopii. No a nakonec nás pochválil.
kém prostoru, nebo zprostředkovaný kontakt, a pak ještě kontakt s představami v hlavě. Nevidím ji ani fyzicky, ani jako abstraktní informaci,
Takže jste sochu, která je dílem lidské ruky, digitalizovali a znovu repro-
tolik nebála, vnímala bych to jako jeden z mnoha prostředků, jak něco
sdělit. Samozřejmě má svá úskalí: například zvyknou-li si studenti pra-
modely jedna ku padesáti, nebo pětadvaceti, které se potom naskenují
a vytvoří se z nich plány nebo pokyny pro výrobu. Ale v podstatě tu
Interview
ale mám to jenom v hlavě. Já bych se toho virtuálního vizuálního světa
dukovali 1:1...
MC: Je to podobný postup, jako používá Gehry, když dělá skutečné
covat nejdřív pouze v počítači, pak je otázka, přes jaký most přejdou
z virtuálního světa, na který si zvykli, do toho reálného. Pokud vůbec
budovu hněte vlastníma rukama, protože tím získá opravdu dokonalou
budou chtít přecházet.
kontrolu průběhu křivek. Když se člověk pohybuje jen ve virtuálním
MC: Určitý druh lidí dnes nejspíš váhá mezi tím, jestli má jít dělat
světě, prožívá pouze představu toho, jak by se v něm asi měl pohybovat,
film nebo architekturu, protože se to slévá. Při zpracování digitálních
chybí kontrola hmatem. Kontrola sochařského díla vždycky probíhala
modelů sochy jsme spolupracovali s filmovým studiem UPP, se kterým
hmatem a teď najednou by mělo vznikat sochařské dílo bez hmatové
jsme pracovali už dříve. V letech 1995 až 1998 jsme spolupracovali na
návrhu domu v Opletalově ulici, zpracovávali jsme virtuální model, ve
kontroly?
filmovém studiu se z toho sestříhal film, dodělaly se smyčky a záběry.
the aid of a digital 3D scanner. What have these experiences given you?
look, since in the virtual world there is no possibility of checking things
put a bit of myself into it. This is the basic difference.
structure of this built environment, wherever we make our designs, and we
Gironcoli.jpg
Jakým způsobem kontrolujete realizaci svých návrhů? Je pro vás důle-
Zhruba po pěti letech jsme přišli s prostorovými skeny originálu hotové
žité, aby byl návrh precizně definovaný předem a vyžadujete jeho dodr-
Gironcoliho sochy do téhož studia, domodelovali určité animace pro-
žení, nebo dodefinováváte věci v průběhu stavby?
MC: Pochopitelně se snažíme nakreslit barák co nejprecizněji a pak si
ném počítači podobná mračna, která potom byla vidět ve filmu Tmavomodrý svět. My jsme podle těch bodových mračen udělali architek-
na místě. Dost si dávám pozor na to, aby věc nebyla příliš hmotná.
socha nebo dům, jindy nemusí mít hmotný výstup, zůstává ve virtuální
podobě, a dostane za to Oskara!
Hagmüllerem, který mi říkal, že si vždycky nechá spočítat, kolik dům
MC: But even a film can have an effect on you, a psychological film can take
have to fit into it. What is important is to comprehend the principles of
which we found ourselves during work on that statue. First of all, there
PM: It is a question what architecture really is in the virtual world. Is it
you apart and leave you nothing of yourself. Architecture has its impact on
this structure, not simply to assume its superficial signs but to understand
was the world in which we went groping around the statue with the
the imitation of real architecture, or is it already its own profession? What
people in its presence, whether through climate or appearance. It seems to
what created it from within.
scanner, creating a cloud of several billion points in which it was then
relation do visualisations have to architecture; are they a kind of prefigu-
me that the virtual film world and the solid world of architecture are rivals;
MC: But this is true for the local environment. Then there is also the sub-
possible to move around. In it, the statue lost its dimensions; I could
ring or an imitation? Or do they no longer have anything in common and
even our clients are influenced by film and its digital scenes, and want the
global environment, where these things do not work.
imagine that I was passing through an endless nebula in outer space. And
are they independent creation of a separate world? In architecture today,
material world to be the image of the virtual one, even though it never has
PM: Do you mean that a bad structure is in fact no structure at all, that in
then, from out of this cloud, the tangible world started to form itself,
there are in fact two visualities, and I see a huge difference in them. One
to be built, never is confronted with structural realities.
such an instance you cannot speak of structure, if it’s been so disrupted?
once again it acquired scale; from the cloud of points a kind of crust was
thing is real architecture, which appears to our vision like a solid mass
PM: Jestli je na virtualitě něco nebezpečného, je to rychlost. Lidé jsou
naučení na hrozně rychlé a bezbolestné vnímání, nemusí vynaložit žádné
toho koriguje konstrukce, aby stavba byla i pocitově lehká – ale zas ne
úsilí na to, aby věci objevili – pohledová, vizuální informace je rychlá.
filigránská -, když se v ní člověk bude pohybovat. Podobně jako lidské
Nemusím tam dojít, projít tím, sáhnout si na to. Můžu to odfouknout,
tělo má určité proporce a pozná se, jestli je člověk hubený, přirozeně
out in a realistic scale.
turu nebo sochu, a oni z podobného mračna udělali film. Když zkrátka
vzniká nějaký prostorový útvar, může mít jednou hmotný výstup a je to
Aby nebyla příliš hmotná?
MC: Ano, to tedy nemám ze sebe, potkal jsme se ve Vídni s profesorem
váží a kolik váhy tedy má člověk „na ramenou“ v tom domě, a podle
MC: What was most interesting was the number of different worlds in
střednictvím počítače, a bylo to najednou ve filmovém pohybu. Chvilku
před průletem naším bodovým mračnem sochy zpracovávali ve stej-
uvolnit ruce k realizaci toho plánu. To je ideální stav, ale zatím máme
praxi takovou, že na stavbě korigujeme a domodelováváme určité věci
rostlý, nebo obézní, a jestli jeho vnitřní konstrukce zvládá tu nadváhu,
vymazat to. A je skutečně trochu nebezpečné, že ta cesta je tak snadná.
Kino je bezpečné, protože se do něj nijak nevkládám, nic neriskuju, nesa-
tak i na domě je cítit, že se tam utrácí peníze za určité materiály, za
hám, nejím, nedotýkám se, nenesu kůži na trh. Všechno ostatní už nějak
určitou hmotu, která tam vůbec nemusí být. To je velmi těžce kontrolo-
riskuju, už do toho vkládám kousek sebe. To je zásadní rozdíl.
vatelné ve virtuálním světě, hrozně snadno to ulítne, objeví se nějaká
MC: Ale i film může člověka napadnout, psychologický film tě může
82
Zenová zahrada / Zen garden
Architekt / Architect: Miroslav Cikán, Pavla Melková / MCA
Spolupráce / Collaboration: Pavel Šťastný, Plechárna
Místo / Location: tovární hala Praga Vysočany, Praha / Praga Factory, Prague
Klient / Client: Designblok / Profil Media
Projekt / Project: 2006
Realizace / Construction: 2006
Fotografie / Photography: Miroslav Cikán
MC: What we mean here is an ideal state when the structure has already
Opuštěná tovární hala, dříve symbol ohlušujícího, všepohlcujícího ruchu
Once all production has finally ceased, the deserted factory hall – formerly
se ve svém definitivním zastavení stala meditačním místem. Zbylé nepra-
the symbol of deafening noise and all-surrounding movement – has become
cující stroje, mrtvé schránky jako symboly původních dějů.
a place of meditation. All that remains of the past are scraps of disused
Suché zahrady jako výsledek zenového tříbení mysli dlouhými hodi-
machinery, the dead carapaces recalling the original activity.
nami meditace, cest bez cíle, putování ve sférách ticha a uvolnění ducha.
The art of the dry garden is the result of the Zen refinement of thought
Nesměřují k navození inspirující atmosféry prostřednictvím bohatého
objemu barev a tvarů, ale prostředky zcela opačnými: náznakem a vytří-
generated, from them appeared curves and from those curves plans of
in the retina, the second is visual information about architecture, i.e.
There is also one further danger. Digital technologies and telecommuni-
been grasped, and everyone is trying to idealise, to rework, to undo
create an inspiring atmosphere through a rich volume of colour and form,
but through means entirely the opposite: the subtle indication and refi-
a pohyb při překonávání suchého koryta řeky. Návštěvník se stal součástí
that I’ve never seen the building, never touched it, but I have received
cation allow for rapid and massive distribution of certain design instru-
was possible to orient ourselves with a scale. This was one process. Ano-
2D virtual information about it. There’s a lot of criticism of the visual
ments, technologies, or even actual structural components. This could
PM: And with a degree of humility, to become part of it and not crush it.
ther process was the observation of the statue’s own internal structural
orientation of today’s architecture and culture in general, but I wouldn’t
prove harmful for architecture in the long run, wouldn’t you agree?
MC: This is a problem, humility or arrogance. Every builder tries not to be
ordering, so that it could resist bending and its own weight. For this, we
be bothered by this if it were actually conveying something. I think that
PM: I remember how once I saw an entire development of single-family
humble, tries to put himself forward and be seen. This can be seen even on
needed views of the inner structuring of the sculpture; first of all we were
the main thing is for architecture to have content, that it have something
houses that must not have been done by an architect, but rather a builder
buildings in an urban environment. But it is part of every new action that
in the endless virtual world, then we photographed the sculpture from
to communicate. And it’s not quite as important what means are used.
intending a kind of wholesale deal. I had the impression that the creator
it will be surmounted by yet another new action. That they will be per-
within, then came the experience of touch, when we compared the origi-
Whether the main one is the kinaesthetic, physical and material side, the
was not a person but a program: that the person creating the design never
manently effaced and become illegible, and this illegibility of actions is
nal with the copy, checking the lines of the curves and edges all over the
auditory, or the visual. Most important is that is has something to say.
once thought about how something should look, but simply selected from
what in fact forms the urban environment. Excessive legibility of actions
sculpture, and in fact we touched it in much the same way as the artist
And how it says it – this doesn’t seem that important to me.
the things that were offered ready-made by the specific design program,
creates a sprawl, because what is lacking here is the long timeframe that
and completely threw out all ideas that the program couldn’t model. In
would smooth the edges of the individual actions.
“mistakes” in this environment.
ned simplicity.
„současnosti“ vstupem do zahrady, jejíž podobu mohl krátkodobě ovlivnit
A Zen garden installed in a deserted factory hall: sound, image and motion
čeřením suché hladiny speciálními hrably.
in crossing the dry bed of a river. The visitor becomes part of the “present”
V blízkosti zahrady se nacházely oblasti přenosu obrazu návštěvníka do
through entering the garden, whose form can briefly be shifted through
virtuálního světa promítáním do bílého písku na podlaze. Tak byla reali-
combing the dry surface with special rakes.
zována vnitřní skrytá touha mnohých současníků „být medializován“, být
Close to the garden was an area for transferring the image of the visitor
zobrazen jako nová konzumní forma pokleslého svatořečení, které jediné
the entire sculpture, layered over ten centimetres, so that once again it
through long hours of meditation, travelling without a goal, pilgrimages
in the spheres of silence and liberation of the soul. It makes no plans to
benou prostotou.
Zenová zahrada, instalovaná v opuštěné tovární hale: zvuk, obraz
into the virtual world, through projection onto the white sand on the
kdysi opravňovalo k tomu, být zobrazen a tudíž zvěčněn.
floor. Here came the realisation of the hidden inner desire of many people
Obraz byl posléze vysílán do éteru, aby se stal součástí nekonečna, ve
now alive to “become medialised”, to be depicted as a new consumerist
kterém se jako světlo šíří a dle intenzity mediální prezentace víceméně
form of profaned sanctification, the only medium that once allowed the
slavného jedince zaniká: objekt tak zůstává pro budoucnost v prostoru pří-
human to be depicted and thus immortalised.
tomen, ale nezobrazen. Nebo také nikým nepřijímán, protože není zrovna
The image was eventually broadcast into the ether, to become part of
„naladěn“ na správnou www adresu nebo vysílací pásmo.
the infinite, where it expands like light and according to the intensity of
V případě zmizení návštěvníka z objektivu kamery byl snímán detail ze
the media presentation of the more or less famous individual it disap-
zjizvené podlahy tovární haly jako otisk bývalého provozu továrny, který
pears: the object remains present for the future within the space, yet not
byl do zničení skutečně věčný v prostoru mimo zahradu…
depicted. Or alternatively, received by no one, because it is not presently
“tuned” to the correct www address or broadcasting frequency.
In the event that the visitor disappeared from the range of the camera lens,
a detail was taken from the scarred floor of the factory hall, as an imprint
of the former production activities of the factory, which until destruction
was truly eternal in the space outside the garden…
Rodinný dům Jinonice / House in Jinonice
Architekt / Architect: Miroslav Cikán, Pavla Melková / MCA
Místo / Location: Praha 5 – Jinonice
Klient / Client: soukromá osoba / withheld
Projekt / Project: 2004
Realizace / Construction: 2005
Fotografie / Photography: Miroslav Cikán
when he was creating it, when he smoothed and formed the original, and
Vzhledem k malé parcele (455m2) bylo nutné navrhnout dům objemově
Bearing in mind the small dimensions of the land (455m2), it was neces-
úsporný, ale vnitřním uspořádáním prostorově velkorysý (užitná plocha
sary to design a house of economical volume but with an internal arran-
197m2) a navíc reprezentativní. Cílem bylo ponechat maximálně ucelenou
gement allowing for generous space (total living area of 197m2) of a luxu-
obytnou plochu stávající zahrady s ovocnými stromy, provázanou s tera-
rious appearance. The goal was to leave as much as possible of the unified
sou nad podzemní částí domu. Zároveň bylo třeba zasadit novostavbu do
space of the earlier garden with fruit trees, continuing into the terrace
struktury původní zástavby rodinných domů.
above the underground part of the house. At the same time, it was neces-
Na prvním místě byl variabilní obytný prostor, ekologické a úsporné
the surrounding private homes.
sary visually to integrate the new building into the original structure of
we actually wanted to find the form in the copy in the same way. And in
Isn’t it really a question of the relation between information and the
several of the houses it was incredibly clear, so much so that if you knew
PM: And precisely this illegibility allows for fitting in. But it is illegibility
the end, he was full of praise.
experience? Isn’t it about how information is experienced?
the design program saw exactly the round curves, roof pitch, shape of bay
only at the very first glance. In the moment when something becomes part
topení, optimální jednoduchá a levná konstrukce, splňující požadavky konstrukční, tepelně-akumulační a izolační. Výsledkem je nízkoenergetický,
Most important were a variable living space, environmentally friendly and
pocitově lehký, prostorný a dobře obyvatelný dům s jemnými původními
economical heating, an optimally simple and cheap construction plan that
povrchy jako možná alternativa pokorné vyváženosti kvality a absence
met all requirements for load bearing, heat accumulation and insulation.
designového luxusu. Je pokornou investicí do technologicky vyváženého
systému budoucnosti a trvalých hodnot šetrnosti k životnímu prostředí.
The result is a house that uses little energy, appears light and spacious,
and is good for inhabiting, with delicate original surfaces as a possible
alternative to the modest balancing of quality and the absence of designer
luxury. Instead, it is a humble investment into a technologically balanced
system for the future, and the permanent values of respect for the natural
environment.
PM. Precisely. Because I can have physical contact in physical space with
windows, railings precisely as the program created them.
of its environment, it is at first glance illegible. The ordinary builder has
So you were able to take this sculpture, the work of a human hand, digi-
architecture, or mediated contact, and then once again contact with the
MC: For large office buildings, they select the actual structural elements
the ambition of being seen immediately, but we think that what is more
talise it and reproduce it on a scale of 1:1...
ideas in my head. Not something that I see either physically or as abs-
from which the building will be constructed, which is much more sophisti-
important is the second glance. At the first glance, the object is part of its
vstupní patro / ground floor
1. patro / 1st floor
rozebrat tak, že z tebe nic nezbyde. Architektura člověka také napadá tím,
v kontextu se strukturou toho prostředí, kam navrhujeme, a musíme do
ní zapadnout. Důležité je pochopit princip té struktury, nejenom přebírat
i klienti jsou ovlivnění filmem s jeho digitálními scénami a požadují, aby
povrchní znaky, ale pochopit, co jí tvoří zevnitř.
hmotný svět byl obrazem toho virtuálního, který se ale nikdy nemusí stavět,
MC: To ale platí pro lokální prostředí. Pak je tady ještě subglobální
nikdy není konfrontovaný se statickou realitou.
tract information, but something that is only in the head. I wouldn’t be
cated. If I am selecting real elements that are part of construction systems,
environment, no one notices it, but at the second glance you do, because
so afraid of the virtual visual world, I'd see it as one of many ways of com-
then it’s all right, but what I am speaking about is the state and limitations
it is legible and thus communicable.
MC: My tady mluvíme o ideálním stavu, kdy už je struktura uchopená
a všichni se snaží to prostředí idealizovat, obrábět, vypouštět „chyby“.
důsledku pro architekturu zhoubné, nemyslíte?
municating something. Of course, it has its own dangers: for example, if
of the program that cannot sketch a more complex form, or conversely can-
PM: A s určitou pokorou se stávat jeho součástí a neválcovat ho.
PM: Vzpomínám si, jak jsem viděla nějaké sídliště rodinných domků, které
MC: To je problém, pokora nebo nepokora. Každý stavebník se snaží být
asi nedělal architekt, ale spíš stavitel na prodej ve velkém. Měla jsem dojem,
nepokorný, snaží se prosadit a být vidět. To je vidět i na strukturách
že tvůrcem nebyl architekt, ale program: že ten, kdo to kreslil, vůbec nepře-
v urbánním prostředí. Ale každý nový počin má zaděláno na to, že ho pře-
mýšlel, jak by mělo co vypadat, pouze vybíral z toho, co se mu nabízelo
kryje další nový počin. Že bude permanentně rozmývaný a stane se neči-
hotového v příslušném modelovacím programu a představy, které program
telným, a ta nečitelnost počinů vlastně vytváří urbánní prostředí. Přílišná
neumí vymodelovat, rovnou vyřadil. Na některých domech je to strašně
čitelnost počinů vytváří sprawl, protože tam chybí ta doba, která by jed-
poznat, dokonce natolik, že ten, kdo ty programy zná, tak přesně vidí zaob-
notlivému počinu zahladila hrany.
lení, sklon střechy, tvar vikýřku, zábradlí přesně tak, jak ho tvoří program.
PM: A právě ta nečitelnost umožňuje zapadnutí. Je to ale nečitelnost
strukční prvky, ze kterých se budova skládá, což je mnohem sofistikovanější.
jenom na první pohled. Ve chvíli, kdy věc se stane součástí prostředí, je na
první pohled nečitelná. Běžný stavitel má ambici být hned vidět, ale my
Když vybírám reálné prvky, které jsou v konstrukčních systémech, tak je to
si myslíme, že je důležitý druhý pohled. Na první pohled je věc součástí
v pořádku, ale to, o čem mluvíme, je stav a omezení programu, který neumí
prostředí, nikdo si jí nevšimne, ale na druhý pohled ano, protože je čitelná,
nakreslit složitější tvar anebo naopak neumí nakreslit tvar jednodušší, pro-
a tudíž sdělná.
tože ho ve své škále nemá. A architekt nebo projektant to akceptuje, protože nemá sílu nebo dovednost to přeprogramovat.
Sdělnost je důležitá proto, aby se lidé dokázali s prostředím ztotožnit, aby
byli schopni tam prožívat svůj život. Můžete zkusit upřesnit, v čem to zto-
Mirku, ve svých textech nebo přednáškách používáš pojem struktura jako
tožnění spočívá?
jakýsi abstraktní model, který je v zastavěném prostředí fyzicky viditelný.
PM: Prožívání života v budově, to jsou vlastně jednoduché úkony. Když se
Můžeš ho blíže vysvětlit?
facturing instructions. But in essence, you have to stroke the building
v takovém případě nedá mluvit o struktuře, substanci, jak to je potrhané?
ňují neobyčejně rychlé a masové šíření určitých nástrojů navrhování,
technologií nebo přímo stavebních komponent. To může být v konečném
MC: Na velkých administrativních budovách se vybírají skutečné kon-
models in 1:50 or 1:25 scale, which he then scans and reworks into manu-
prostředí, kde tyhle věci nefungují.
PM: Máš na mysli to, že špatná struktura není vlastně žádná struktura, že se
Je tu ještě jedno nebezpečí. Digitální technologie a telekomunikace umož-
MC: It’s a similar approach to the one used by Gehry when he makes actual
2. patro / 2nd floor
která drží určité prvky prostředí pohromadě. Jako architekti jsme pořád
jak na něj působí, ať už klimatem nebo vzhledem. Mně se zdá, že tyhle dva
světy, virtuální filmový svět a hmotný svět architektury, spolu soupeří;
člověk zamyslí, jak dům užívá, tak zjistí, že je tam jen několik oblastí, které
MC: Struktura je určitá hustota informací: množství informací, které drží
člověk potřebuje. Potřebuje si sednout někde s rodinou a povídat si. Potře-
na ploše nebo v objemu různého charakteru v různém měřítku. Struktura je
buju místo, kde se posadím a čtu si knížku, těch míst není moc. Identifikuji
buď nositelem informace, nebo je informačně chudá.
Například u městského prostoru nejde o to, jestli je přeplácaný informa-
se třeba s pohledem z okna, protože tam už sedím po stopadesáté a dělám
tam totéž, napadají mě tam pořád ty samé myšlenky, a když si k tomu oknu
cemi všeho druhu, ale jestli mi dává podněty k tomu, abych se choval lidsky,
sednu, tak mi to naváže nit na myšlenky, který mě napadly dříve.
abych tam nacházel všechno, co člověk potřebuje. Když jdu blíž, tak vidím
MC: Myslím, že teď žijeme naše životy vlastně ve dvou světech. Jeden je
struktury povrchů a materiálů, které v sobě nesou určitou informaci, někdo
stálý, toho se musíme dotýkat, jako se sami sebe musíme dotýkat. A na
mi sděluje, že se tam něco událo, někde tam pro nás byla zasuta informace,
druhé straně je ta „neexistence“, která má formu rychlých přechodů a změn,
kterou můžeme objevit, máme k ní klíč.
jako v hudebním klipu. Člověk začíná v sobě ukládat tenhle zmatek a nějakým způsobem si ho buď třídí, nebo netřídí. Buď v něm ten zmatek zůstává,
with your own hands, since only this way can you find perfect control
students become used to working only on the computer, then what bridge
not sketch a simpler form because it’s not been included in its range. And
Communicability is important for people to be able to identify with the
over the lines of the curves. If you spend time only in the virtual world, all
they will find out of the virtual world that they know into this real one.
the architect or designer accepts it, because he doesn’t have the energy or
built environment, for them to be able to live their lives within it. Could
that you have is a sense of how to move in it, you lack any tactile control.
That is, if they will ever want to cross over.
the skills to re-program it.
you try to clarify what this identification should be?
Takže struktura je pro tebe něco, co jde napříč atomy a bity, co prostřed-
nebo dochází k utřídění. A dojde-li k utřídění všech těchto vjemů a jejich
nictvím hmoty a jejích konfigurací propojuje lidi a události před dvěma sty
vyhodnocení, potom člověk začne chápat znovu svou hmotnou existenci
lety s těmi dnešními?
a začne pátrat po tom hmotném světě, kam se vlastně poděl.
MC: Němci tomu říkají substance, Bausubstanz. Když řeknu substance, tak
všichni tady vidí magistra Kellyho a nějaké okultní alchymisty...
PM: Je to identifikace s prostředím a přes prostředí zpátky sám se sebou
S Pavlou Melkovou a Miroslavem Cikánem hovořily Jana Tichá a Irena
a svojí minulostí. Vnímám strukturu jako jakousi konstrukci, nebo lépe síť,
Fialová
bruno gironcoli, grosse skulptur, projekt a realizace kopie / copy project and realization, mca 2004
As architects, you have undertaken excursions into many different fields:
PM: Experiencing life in a building is a series of simple tasks. When you
MC: A certain type of personality today is likely wavering between whether to do film or architecture, since the two are becoming blurred. In
In your texts you talk about structure as an abstract model which is physi-
think about how a building is used, then you find out that there are only
dings back to yourself and your own past. I see structure as a kind of construction, or better a network that keeps certain elements of the environ-
a few areas of life that you need. You need somewhere to sit with your
dio UPP, whom we’d already worked with before. From 1995 to 1998 we
MC: Structure is a certain thickness of information: the quantity of infor-
family and talk, a place to sit and read a book, but these places are few.
generated, from them appeared curves and from those curves plans of
were working on the design of a building in Opletalova street, preparing
mation that is held within the surface or volume of different character
I can identify, say, with the view from the window, because I am sitting
insist on it, or do you re-define things while building is going on?
a virtual model, editing a film from it in the studio, completing the cross-
within a different scale. Structure is either an information bearer, or is
there for the hundred and fiftieth time and doing the same thing, and
MC: Understandably, we try to draw the building as precisely as we can,
-cutting and the different shots. Around five years later, we arrived with
informationally poor. For example, in the cityscape it is not a question of
having the same thoughts. And when I sit down by the window, I am
and then free our hands for the realisation of the plan. This is the ideal
our spatial scans of the original Gironcoli sculpture in this same studio,
whether it is filled up with information of all sorts, but whether it gives
brought back to the thoughts that I had earlier.
situation, but as of now, our practice is to correct things on the building
did the final modelling of a bit of animation using the computer, and all
me inspiration to behave in a human manner, for me to find everything that
MC: I believe that now we live our lives in two worlds. One is the perma-
site and even model certain elements during construction. We pay a lot
at once it was in cinematic motion. Just a bit before the flight through
a person needs. If I come closer, then I see the structures of surfaces and
nent one, the one that we have to touch, just as we have to touch our own
of attention to making sure our buildings are not too material.
our point-cloud of the sculpture, they were using the same computer to
materials, which contain a certain information, tell me that something has
bodies. And then there is the “non-existence” that takes the form of rapid
create similar cloud formations that were then used in the film Dark Blue
happened, somewhere information has been set aside for us that we can
transitions and shifts, like in a music video. People start to save this con-
That your buildings aren’t too material?
World. We used these data clouds to make architecture or sculpture, and
discover if we have the key.
fusion within themselves and either classify it or they don’t. And if there
MC: Yes, this isn’t really my own idea. In Vienna, we met with Professor
they turned such clouds into a film. In short, whenever there appears any
Hagmüller, who told me that he always does a calculation of how much
spatial formation, you can on the one hand have a physical output and it’s
So structure for you is something, that is greater than the atoms and the
once again to understand your material existence and to search for that
a building weighs and how much weight people “carry on their shoul-
a sculpture or a building, or else it doesn’t have to have a physical output,
bytes, something that using matter and its configurations connects people
material world, wherever it has gone.
ders” in this building, and then he adjusts the structure to make sure that
it remains in virtual form and you win an Oscar for it!
and events from two hundred years ago with those today?
it feels light – but not overly delicate – when people are inside. Just like
PM: If there is something dangerous in virtuality, it’s speed. People are
MC: The Germans talk of this as substance, Bausubstanz. If I use the word
the human body, a building has a definite proportion and you can see if
taught a quick and painless form of seeing, they don’t have to put any
substance in Czech, then everyone starts to think of Master Kelly and occul-
The interview was conducted by Jana Tichá and Irena Fialová
someone is thin, naturally muscular, obese, and if his internal construc-
energy into discovering things – imagistic, visual information is quick.
tish alchemists...
Translated by Martin Tharp
in the retina, the second is visual information about architecture, i.e.
PM: Do you mean that a bad structure is in fact no structure at all, that in
such an instance you cannot speak of structure, if it’s been so disrupted?
MC: What we mean here is an ideal state when the structure has already
There is also one further danger. Digital technologies and telecommuni-
been grasped, and everyone is trying to idealise, to rework, to undo
the entire sculpture, layered over ten centimetres, so that once again it
that I’ve never seen the building, never touched it, but I have received
cation allow for rapid and massive distribution of certain design instru-
“mistakes” in this environment.
was possible to orient ourselves with a scale. This was one process. Ano-
2D virtual information about it. There’s a lot of criticism of the visual
ments, technologies, or even actual structural components. This could
PM: And with a degree of humility, to become part of it and not crush it.
ther process was the observation of the statue’s own internal structural
ordering, so that it could resist bending and its own weight. For this, we
orientation of today’s architecture and culture in general, but I wouldn’t
be bothered by this if it were actually conveying something. I think that
prove harmful for architecture in the long run, wouldn’t you agree?
PM: I remember how once I saw an entire development of single-family
MC: This is a problem, humility or arrogance. Every builder tries not to be
humble, tries to put himself forward and be seen. This can be seen even on
needed views of the inner structuring of the sculpture; first of all we were
the main thing is for architecture to have content, that it have something
houses that must not have been done by an architect, but rather a builder
buildings in an urban environment. But it is part of every new action that
in the endless virtual world, then we photographed the sculpture from
to communicate. And it’s not quite as important what means are used.
intending a kind of wholesale deal. I had the impression that the creator
it will be surmounted by yet another new action. That they will be per-
Whether the main one is the kinaesthetic, physical and material side, the
was not a person but a program: that the person creating the design never
manently effaced and become illegible, and this illegibility of actions is
nal with the copy, checking the lines of the curves and edges all over the
auditory, or the visual. Most important is that is has something to say.
once thought about how something should look, but simply selected from
what in fact forms the urban environment. Excessive legibility of actions
sculpture, and in fact we touched it in much the same way as the artist
And how it says it – this doesn’t seem that important to me.
the things that were offered ready-made by the specific design program,
creates a sprawl, because what is lacking here is the long timeframe that
and completely threw out all ideas that the program couldn’t model. In
when he was creating it, when he smoothed and formed the original, and
would smooth the edges of the individual actions.
we actually wanted to find the form in the copy in the same way. And in
Isn’t it really a question of the relation between information and the
several of the houses it was incredibly clear, so much so that if you knew
PM: And precisely this illegibility allows for fitting in. But it is illegibility
the end, he was full of praise.
experience? Isn’t it about how information is experienced?
the design program saw exactly the round curves, roof pitch, shape of bay
only at the very first glance. In the moment when something becomes part
PM. Precisely. Because I can have physical contact in physical space with
windows, railings precisely as the program created them.
of its environment, it is at first glance illegible. The ordinary builder has
So you were able to take this sculpture, the work of a human hand, digi-
architecture, or mediated contact, and then once again contact with the
MC: For large office buildings, they select the actual structural elements
the ambition of being seen immediately, but we think that what is more
talise it and reproduce it on a scale of 1:1...
ideas in my head. Not something that I see either physically or as abs-
from which the building will be constructed, which is much more sophisti-
important is the second glance. At the first glance, the object is part of its
tract information, but something that is only in the head. I wouldn’t be
so afraid of the virtual visual world, I'd see it as one of many ways of com-
cated. If I am selecting real elements that are part of construction systems,
then it’s all right, but what I am speaking about is the state and limitations
facturing instructions. But in essence, you have to stroke the building
municating something. Of course, it has its own dangers: for example, if
of the program that cannot sketch a more complex form, or conversely can-
with your own hands, since only this way can you find perfect control
students become used to working only on the computer, then what bridge
not sketch a simpler form because it’s not been included in its range. And
they will find out of the virtual world that they know into this real one.
the architect or designer accepts it, because he doesn’t have the energy or
that you have is a sense of how to move in it, you lack any tactile control.
That is, if they will ever want to cross over.
the skills to re-program it.
A work of sculpture has always been controlled through touch, and now
MC: A certain type of personality today is likely wavering between whe-
over the lines of the curves. If you spend time only in the virtual world, all
environment, no one notices it, but at the second glance you do, because
it is legible and thus communicable.
Communicability is important for people to be able to identify with the
built environment, for them to be able to live their lives within it. Could
you try to clarify what this identification should be?
PM: Experiencing life in a building is a series of simple tasks. When you
In your texts you talk about structure as an abstract model which is physi-
there is supposed to be a sculptural work without tactile control?
ther to do film or architecture, since the two are becoming blurred. In
processing the digital models of sculptures, we worked with the film stu-
cally visible in the built environment. Can you explain this further?
a few areas of life that you need. You need somewhere to sit with your
In what way do you keep an eye on the realisation of your designs? Is it
dio UPP, whom we’d already worked with before. From 1995 to 1998 we
MC: Structure is a certain thickness of information: the quantity of infor-
family and talk, a place to sit and read a book, but these places are few.
were working on the design of a building in Opletalova street, preparing
mation that is held within the surface or volume of different character
think about how a building is used, then you find out that there are only
I can identify, say, with the view from the window, because I am sitting
insist on it, or do you re-define things while building is going on?
a virtual model, editing a film from it in the studio, completing the cross-
within a different scale. Structure is either an information bearer, or is
there for the hundred and fiftieth time and doing the same thing, and
MC: Understandably, we try to draw the building as precisely as we can,
-cutting and the different shots. Around five years later, we arrived with
informationally poor. For example, in the cityscape it is not a question of
having the same thoughts. And when I sit down by the window, I am
and then free our hands for the realisation of the plan. This is the ideal
situation, but as of now, our practice is to correct things on the building
our spatial scans of the original Gironcoli sculpture in this same studio,
did the final modelling of a bit of animation using the computer, and all
whether it is filled up with information of all sorts, but whether it gives
me inspiration to behave in a human manner, for me to find everything that
brought back to the thoughts that I had earlier.
MC: I believe that now we live our lives in two worlds. One is the perma-
site and even model certain elements during construction. We pay a lot
at once it was in cinematic motion. Just a bit before the flight through
a person needs. If I come closer, then I see the structures of surfaces and
nent one, the one that we have to touch, just as we have to touch our own
of attention to making sure our buildings are not too material.
our point-cloud of the sculpture, they were using the same computer to
materials, which contain a certain information, tell me that something has
bodies. And then there is the “non-existence” that takes the form of rapid
create similar cloud formations that were then used in the film Dark Blue
happened, somewhere information has been set aside for us that we can
That your buildings aren’t too material?
World. We used these data clouds to make architecture or sculpture, and
discover if we have the key.
MC: Yes, this isn’t really my own idea. In Vienna, we met with Professor
they turned such clouds into a film. In short, whenever there appears any
Hagmüller, who told me that he always does a calculation of how much
important for you to have the design precisely defined in advance and to
what created it from within.
MC: But this is true for the local environment. Then there is also the subglobal environment, where these things do not work.
material world to be the image of the virtual one, even though it never has
to be built, never is confronted with structural realities.
important for you to have the design precisely defined in advance and to
In what way do you keep an eye on the realisation of your designs? Is it
ment together. As architects, we are continually within a context with the
structure of this built environment, wherever we make our designs, and we
have to fit into it. What is important is to comprehend the principles of
this structure, not simply to assume its superficial signs but to understand
people in its presence, whether through climate or appearance. It seems to
me that the virtual film world and the solid world of architecture are rivals;
even our clients are influenced by film and its digital scenes, and want the
are they independent creation of a separate world? In architecture today,
there are in fact two visualities, and I see a huge difference in them. One
thing is real architecture, which appears to our vision like a solid mass
MC: It’s a similar approach to the one used by Gehry when he makes actual
cally visible in the built environment. Can you explain this further?
myself out on the open market. Everything else is a kind of risk, I have to
put a bit of myself into it. This is the basic difference.
MC: But even a film can have an effect on you, a psychological film can take
you apart and leave you nothing of yourself. Architecture has its impact on
the imitation of real architecture, or is it already its own profession? What
relation do visualisations have to architecture; are they a kind of prefiguring or an imitation? Or do they no longer have anything in common and
then, from out of this cloud, the tangible world started to form itself,
once again it acquired scale; from the cloud of points a kind of crust was
models in 1:50 or 1:25 scale, which he then scans and reworks into manu-
processing the digital models of sculptures, we worked with the film stu-
PM: It is identification with the surroundings, and through the surroun-
it. And that really is somewhat dangerous, for it is easy. The cinema is
safe, I don’t put anything into it, don’t risk anything, don’t touch, don’t put
for it to slip out, there is always something unnecessary that you overlook, since in the virtual world there is no possibility of checking things
out in a realistic scale.
PM: It is a question what architecture really is in the virtual world. Is it
was the world in which we went groping around the statue with the
scanner, creating a cloud of several billion points in which it was then
possible to move around. In it, the statue lost its dimensions; I could
within, then came the experience of touch, when we compared the origi-
there is supposed to be a sculptural work without tactile control?
I don’t have to go there, walk through it, touch it. I can throw it out, erase
feel that money has been spent on a certain mass that absolutely isn’t
necessary. This is very hard to manage in the virtual world, it is so easy
of a highly complex sculpture by the Austrian artist Bruno Gironcoli with
the aid of a digital 3D scanner. What have these experiences given you?
MC: What was most interesting was the number of different worlds in
which we found ourselves during work on that statue. First of all, there
imagine that I was passing through an endless nebula in outer space. And
A work of sculpture has always been controlled through touch, and now
tion can bear up under the excess weight; for a building as well you can
temporary installations, working with solid materials like sand as well as
non-solid ones like light. You have participated in the creation of a copy
spatial formation, you can on the one hand have a physical output and it’s
transitions and shifts, like in a music video. People start to save this confusion within themselves and either classify it or they don’t. And if there
is a sorting of all of these impressions and their evaluation then you start
So structure for you is something, that is greater than the atoms and the
once again to understand your material existence and to search for that
a building weighs and how much weight people “carry on their shoul-
a sculpture or a building, or else it doesn’t have to have a physical output,
bytes, something that using matter and its configurations connects people
material world, wherever it has gone.
ders” in this building, and then he adjusts the structure to make sure that
it remains in virtual form and you win an Oscar for it!
and events from two hundred years ago with those today?
it feels light – but not overly delicate – when people are inside. Just like
PM: If there is something dangerous in virtuality, it’s speed. People are
MC: The Germans talk of this as substance, Bausubstanz. If I use the word
the human body, a building has a definite proportion and you can see if
taught a quick and painless form of seeing, they don’t have to put any
substance in Czech, then everyone starts to think of Master Kelly and occul-
The interview was conducted by Jana Tichá and Irena Fialová
someone is thin, naturally muscular, obese, and if his internal construc-
energy into discovering things – imagistic, visual information is quick.
tish alchemists...
Translated by Martin Tharp
is a sorting of all of these impressions and their evaluation then you start
Architecture for all the senses I The interview Miroslav Cikán and Pavla Melková
Zlatý řez 30/ 2008
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