Architects: Chybik+Kristof and BKK-3
Location: Graz, Austria
The cooperation of the Brno-based architectural studio Chybik+Kristof Associated Architects and the Viennese office BKK-3 has borne fruit. The architects participated in an architectural and urbanistic competition to project 700 apartments in the planned housing complex called GreenCity in Graz, Austria. Their project based on repeating the same three objects and interlinking them through a common yard ranked among three best projects.
The main topic of the architectural competition for housing development, which touches the Styrian bio-corridor in the west, was to “live in the green”. The whole concept of the proposed project known under the name of the Green City Graz is to create a clear hierarchy of public and semipublic spaces by means of simple volumes of apartment buildings. The project is grounded on the logical continuity of various types of green spaces: whether it is the above-mentioned bio-corridor, the central park, smaller green square or the yard – a social terrace shared by several households. In this project, the architects tried to apply sustainable aspects of creating the environment.
The question of sustainability does not concern only the problems of upkeep and maintenance of the spaces, but also the problems with accessing the expensive ground and plots. It is indeed possible to add value to public and semipublic spaces, or rather improve their quality, even without big additional investments. The spaces can be differentiated without having to be surrounded by fences or walls and this can be done by suitably combining the volumes of houses which create the outer area.
Creating the social sustainability within the project is understood as a way of forming the spaces so they can be used by a large number of inhabitants. Over the past 50 years we could see the development of the housing landscape, starting with anonymous housing estates of prefab concrete buildings, which often lacked the human gauge, and ending with networks of minimal plots concealed behind high walls, which complete the picturesque architecture of satellite towns. Not one of these had the potential to become the fertile ground for developing of functional social bonds among the inhabitants, and this was after all one of the principal causes of the decay of the whole area.
Both ecology and environment in places meant for living have several layers, and it is crucial to take account of the sustainability of inner as well as of outer spaces. It is worth mentioning that low-energy solutions of buildings produce zero emissions of carbon dioxide, and also that it is very profitable to use construction material made out of recycled or renewable sources. It is also essential to take into consideration the nature of the climate during all four seasons. By turning the facades of the houses to one another we can achieve sufficient sun exposure without overheating them. Such a composition of houses would allow a natural flow of air without having to use forced and energetically demanding cooling. Similar requirements must be applied to the outer spaces. To achieve positive results, one needs to find complex solutions. Therefore, we endeavor to develop approaches of public areas while focusing on acting economically with rainwater, renewable sources of energy, sewage etc.