The Sacred Species

GUBAHÁMORI + Filip + László Demeter [Hungary]
The Sacred Species

The Sacred Species

GUBAHÁMORI + Filip + László Demeter [Hungary]

Who has more of a right to shape a territory — humans with their activities, or the forces of nature? In the Sacred Species project, the existing relationship between humans and the surrounding nature is being radically changed. People are treated on an equal footing with other species of animals and plants, and the forest, as a common good, becomes an object of a kind of worship, care and attention. The model of the interior of a typical home, randomly overgrown with crystal, symbolises nature taking over the human-made environment.

Commentary by PROLOG +1

[…]

It was my grandmother who built our house, as I recall; she loved the sunshine, couldn’t live in the dark down there. We are five metres above the crowns, and it takes one hundred and twelve steps to climb every day — a good workout it is! Living up here seems dangerous, it definitely does, but the Woods protect us. After father died, it was just the two of us up here for a long time.

Then Paweł was one of the first ones who left when we started losing the roads at the valley. He moved somewhere around Kielce. Twelve hundred people live over there, I heard, and although they pray to the Trees, they don’t fear them as much as we do here in the South. They are also losing spaces of production and backyards as we have been, but they have built the village centre more concentrated and more vertically sophisticated to keep the forces outside the settlement at bay. Trees grow through houses or fall on roofs once in a while, but that’s fine, Paweł says — it’s inspiring how those people adapt to such new situations.

I sometimes feel our life is driven by this constant threat of losing spaces. The Trees take away our roads, our urban spaces, backyards, cemeteries, and crops. Exploitation, I heard the other day. There’s no stop here, the Sacred Forest of Silesia moves so aggressively. God help me, but it all seems to me like an uncontrolled chemical reaction that metabolises all formerly existing structures.

Read more in the catalogue, page 180

Appendix

Appendix is an expansion of the Trouble in Paradise exhibition presented at the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021. It is the result of discussions with members of the six architectural teams invited to work on the project, which took place between March and April 2021. A year of waiting for the opening of the Biennale, postponed by the pandemic, prompted the participants of the exhibition to ask themselves to what extent the themes and solutions proposed in their projects are still relevant in the new reality. In the first episode we listen to the conversation with Sándor Guba, Peter Hámori (GUBAHÁMORI), Panni Bodonyi, Budha Tamás (Filip) and László Demeter, authors of The Sacred Species project.

This podcast contains the conversation which took place in March 2021 between Sándor Guba, Peter Hámori, Panni Bodonyi, László Demeter and Rafał Śliwa of the PROLOG +1. In the conversation we touch upon aspects of the formative background of the participating team, project in the exhibition, the process behind the idea, broader context which relates to the project, visual representation and post pandemic reflections.

The transcript can be found under the link here.

Trouble in Paradise – Appendix, The Sacred Species, 2021

EURECA: EU Climate Resistance Agency

Traumnovelle [Belgium]
EURECA: EU Climate Resistance Agency

EURECA: EU Climate Resistance Agency

Traumnovelle [Belgium]

Traumnovelle treats the countryside as an area exposed to various types of disasters — natural disasters or wars — but also shaped by them. In the EURECA project, Poland becomes the testing ground for a defence infrastructure pilot programme. Various types of facilities are deployed on its territory to protect existing buildings, including dams, flood control platforms, a whale farm and canals. Their purpose is to maintain order and protect people from the inevitable consequences of a climate disaster. Common goods are understood here as practices of resistance to a common threat.

Commentary by PROLOG +1

Dear European Citizens,

[...]

For these reasons, my first action as Prime Minister of the European Union is the creation of EURECA: the EU Climate Resistance Agency. I have named our most valued scientists and engineers to lead it. EURECA will be working hard in the next weeks, months and years, in full collaboration with the regional and national governments of Europe.

EURECA will set up a plan of climate-resistant infrastructure on a continental scale. It will address specific threats such as the rise of sea levels, drought and wildfires, as well as anticipate and counter future hazards by expanding forest coverage and CO2 absorption.
EURECA will increase civilian resilience by empowering localities. EURECA will deploy actions akin to those of a benevolent father on behalf of his children.

The Polish region has been selected for the implementation of a pilot project due to its widespread population and medium density, its strong community-building involvement and its historical economic ties with the EU, making it homogeneously developed. It is also afflicted with low-intensity occurrences of the climate catastrophes which burden the entire territory, making it ideal for measurement and trial-testing. For all of these reasons, Poland will serve as a prototype for the infrastructural defence system of the EU.

Dear citizens, we are at war, but we have hope. We have each other. We have EURECA. We will prevail!

Read more in the catalogue, page 190

Appendix

Appendix is an expansion of the Trouble in Paradise exhibition presented at the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021. It is the result of discussions with members of the six architectural teams invited to work on the project, which took place between March and April 2021. A year of waiting for the opening of the Biennale, postponed by the pandemic, prompted the participants of the exhibition to ask themselves to what extent the themes and solutions proposed in their projects are still relevant in the new reality. In the second episode we listen to the conversation with Johnny Leya of Traumnovelle, authors of EURECA: EU Climate Resistance Agency project.

This podcast contains the conversation which took place in March 2021 between Johnny Leya of Traumnovelle and Rafał Śliwa of the PROLOG +1. In the conversation we touch upon aspects of the formative background of the participating team, project in the exhibition, the process behind the idea, broader context which relates to the project, visual representation and post pandemic reflections.

The transcript can be found under the link here.

Trouble in Paradise – Appendix, EURECA: EU Climate Resistance Agency, 2021

Village Commons

Atelier Fanelsa [Germany]
Village Commons

Village Commons

Atelier Fanelsa [Germany]

Atelier Fanelsa calls attention to the Polish-German border, especially the city of Szczecin, whose suburbs increasingly take up areas on the German side. The aim of the project was to create a model for a housing development that would not expand unchecked into the surrounding areas. By planning a central communal space that facilitates social integration in a limited area, the artists have successfully created a proposal for a model of community that provides space for a multitude of settlers.

Commentary by PROLOG +1

[...]

This speculative project proposes a new settlement typology for the Polish countryside based on the careful observation on the current condition of migration in the German-Polish border region. An existing village is transformed and becomes a prototype for an ecological, sufficient and holistic lifestyle based around the idea of commoning.

The EU policy making and further funding opportunities encourage a non-urban landscape stretching across borders. On a territorial scale of the Stettin metropolitan area, the result is an on-going migration of young families, the elderly and professionals looking for affordable land. This migration allows the existing villages to organically transition into a contemporary state. Currently this phenomenon, similar to the Stettin context, can be observed in other regions of Poland and Europe.

The settlement with a community of approximately 300 inhabitants features three distinct areas: the central common village green, the individual parcels and the outer fields and pastures. The village green with a meadow and pond is used for annual festivities and markets. This core also has common facilities like a community centre, a guest house and co-op kiosk. The shared energy production is situated in a tall tower. An elegant pergola structure surrounds the buildings and outdoor spaces forming one spatial entity.

Read more in the catalogue, page 200

Appendix

Appendix is an expansion of the Trouble in Paradise exhibition presented at the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021. It is the result of discussions with members of the six architectural teams invited to work on the project, which took place between March and April 2021. A year of waiting for the opening of the Biennale, postponed by the pandemic, prompted the participants of the exhibition to ask themselves to what extent the themes and solutions proposed in their projects are still relevant in the new reality. In the second episode we listen to the conversation with Niklas Fanelsa of Atelier Fanelsa, authors of the Village Commons project.

This podcast contains the conversation which took place in March 2021 between Niklas Fanelsa of Atelier Fanelsa and Rafał Śliwa of PROLOG +1. In the conversation we touch upon aspects of the formative background of the participating team, project in the exhibition, the process behind the idea, broader context which relates to the project, visual representation and post pandemic reflections.

The transcript can be found under the link here.

Trouble in Paradise – Appendix, Village Commons, 2021

Countryspine

KOSMOS Architects [Russia, Switzerland, Austria]
Countryspine

Countryspine

KOSMOS Architects [Russia, Switzerland, Austria]

The countryside is now becoming the territory most transformed by humanity. Human activities in this area have an inevitable tendency to consume more and more land, leading to a paradoxical situation where the most ‘natural’ piece of nature can be found in an urban park. In searching for a sustainable way to organise rural areas, KOSMOS uses the existing infrastructure including roads, high-voltage power lines and heating pipelines. Along these lines, it develops a linear housing development that links production and reproduction functions, where agriculture becomes a subordinate function that accompanies community life. This strategy makes it possible to limit the exploitation of undeveloped space and leave picturesque fragments of nature as common land. Thus, the project preserves and nurtures what is natural.

Commentary by PROLOG +1

[...]

We propose to construct three-level structures on top of the roads. The first level will feature the road itself, where the cars, trucks and any other transport of the future can freely circulate from city to city, from settlement to settlement. Above it is the residential layer, hosting housing for people. It will be built as a simple shell and core structure, allowing occupation of it step-by-step, and free customised housing units. Above it is the third level: greenhouses, occupied by agriculture and human public activity, the main space for common functions. Here traditional functions of the agricultural greenhouse, such as growing vegetables, crops, fruits, are combined with shared public facilities like common kitchens, playgrounds, sport facilities, and units of private business like stores and services of all kinds, as well as offices and places for leisure and relaxation.

The project is a self-sustainable system based on circular economy and local production where people live, produce and grow the food in the direct proximity, while having opportunity of immediate transportation and direct access to the real, untouched nature. Using the existing roads gives a very compact footprint and keeps free land, whereas cross-programming of the greenhouses and different regimes of use create a very active countryside settlement model. This type of settlement can be an alternative spatial, economical, ecological social model to the traditional city or suburban models.

Read more in the catalogue, page 210

Appendix

Appendix is an expansion of the Trouble in Paradise exhibition presented at the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021. It is the result of discussions with members of the six architectural teams invited to work on the project, which took place between March and April 2021. A year of waiting for the opening of the Biennale, postponed by the pandemic, prompted the participants of the exhibition to ask themselves to what extent the themes and solutions proposed in their projects are still relevant in the new reality. In the second episode we listen to the conversation with Artem Kitayev and Leonid Slonimsky of Kosmos Architects, authors of the Countryspine project.

This podcast contains the conversation which took place in March 2021 between Artem Kitayev and Leonid Slonimsky of Kosmos Architects and Rafał Śliwa of PROLOG +1. In the conversation we touch upon aspects of the formative background of the participating team, project in the exhibition, the process behind the idea, broader context which relates to the project, visual representation and post pandemic reflections.

The transcript can be found under the link here.

Trouble in Paradise – Appendix, Countryspine, 2021

Społem

Rural Office for Architecture [United Kingdom]
Społem

Społem

Rural Office for Architecture [United Kingdom]

The Społem project was preceded by detailed research about Polish culture (rural and more), complemented by observations about contemporary life in the countryside, collected by the architects from the ROA team in their everyday work. Their proposal is based on the idea of ‘togetherness totems’, expressed in the space as the cores of individual houses. These are places for keeping the home hearth alive — essential elements found in every dwelling, such as the stove, the stairwell or the kitchen. The project of a rigid grid of free-standing ‘cores’ comprises the basic infrastructure and the only element of spatial control. This is where the plan ends. This model gives residents the ability to adapt the space to their needs and preferences, which may evolve with social changes. The community is here shaped by self-agency, based on the sharing of knowledge, tools and processes.

Commentary by PROLOG +1

[...]

We believe in the notion of togetherness; the spirit of working and living together, collaborating and sharing. Drawing on Poland’s rich history of collective society we examine how we can live together in this current rural context. This project draws on two key references, Oskar Hansen’s Open Form, published in 1959, and Władysław Matlakowski’s survey of the vernacular condition in Zakopane, published in 1892.

These two references hold close semblance and this is how the project is conceived, with Hansen and Matlakowski combined: a black space core provisioning a hearth, kitchen and bathroom that literally and figuratively supports the white space for everyday life. The black space hosts the perfunctory; the white space accommodates living, experiment and expansion.

The project therefore seeks a balance between these individual black and white desires and the importance of the common, in-between, grey spaces. The clustering of dwellings creates liminal unclaimed territory: small pieces of land left to be wild or to be cultivated. This sharing and enjoying of common land is integral to Polish cultural identity: the spirit of działkowanie* is thus integral to the project. The in-between addresses the balance of individualism and collectivism: the necessity for an individual piece of world and the value of the void.

*the art of cultivating and relaxing on a small piece of land — an allotment

Read more in the catalogue, page 220

Appendix

Appendix is an expansion of the Trouble in Paradise exhibition presented at the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021. It is the result of discussions with members of the six architectural teams invited to work on the project, which took place between March and April 2021. A year of waiting for the opening of the Biennale, postponed by the pandemic, prompted the participants of the exhibition to ask themselves to what extent the themes and solutions proposed in their projects are still relevant in the new reality. In the second episode we listen to the conversation with Niall Maxwell of Rural Office, authors of the Społem project.

The transcript can be found under the link here.

Trouble in Paradise – Appendix, Społem, 2021

Social Infrastructure

RZUT [Poland]
Social Infrastructure

Social Infrastructure

RZUT [Poland]

RZUT exploits the dormant potential of the remnants of privatised State Farms.* In its project, it transforms and adapts a former State Farm housing estate to contemporary challenges. An energy cooperative is established, combining the functions of a power station with a residential building. On the ground floor, fused with the power plant, there are shared spaces requiring direct power supply — kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and TV lounges. On the upper level, there are private living spaces, passively heated from the ground floor, which do not require a power supply. The top level, on the other hand, has been completely freed up for a private terrace, used only in the warm months. In this way, the house is divided into zones — from the public downstairs to the private upstairs. A community is created in which both labour and the resources it produces are a common good.

*During the communist period in Poland, land was taken away from the peasants and handed over to state departments in order to increase agricultural production but also to show the superiority of the state over individual property. After the transformation of the political system in the 1990s, most of this land was sold and leased. As a result, mass numbers of former State Farm employees lost their jobs.

Commentary by PROLOG +1

[...]

Rural areas can be a large, green power plant.

Minister of Agriculture Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, 2020

One day, the countryside was transformed into a power plant. The old structures of post-socialist agricultural conglomerates, tired of the capitalist reality, were linked by a ribbon of infrastructure producing green energy.

The residents quickly realised that this new element in the familiar landscape not only brought them profits, but also promoted directness of relations. This was the birth of the energy cooperative, which soon replaced the morally outdated model of extra-city production.

People quickly discovered how to take advantage of the surplus energy. Those who wanted to earn more began to drastically reduce consumption in their own homes. The rooms that required a power supply were moved to the ground floor, which became a collective tool for minimising consumption and shared generation of heat. The upper floors were turned into luxurious enclaves of privacy, and the top floors were stripped of their roofs, so the residents could once again enjoy all times of day and the changing seasons. Nothing else was needed — the countryside finally allowed people to live and die in the same place. Infrastructure became a tool of transformation, a new shelter for civilisation.

Read more in the catalogue, page 230