THIS YEAR, Slovaks can enjoy two architecture festivals concurrently. The Days of Architecture and Design (DAAD) is an annual festival celebrating architecture, design, art and creativity. DAAD has become, as it has in many European countries, an annual look at contemporary architecture. The event will be celebrated in both Bratislava and Košice.
The festival will run from May 29 until June 3 and will feature many events, including exhibitions, galleries in Hviezdoslavovo Square, lectures, workshops, musical performances, an Urban Market in the courtyard of the Old Town Hall and the Primatial Palace, and more. The featured guest will be Italian architect and designer Fabio Novembre. In Košice the DAAD will take place between May 23 and May 27.
Another part of the DAAD is an architectural exhibition that will open on June 1 at 17:00 at the Faculty of Architecture of the Slovak University of Technology (STU), Námestie slobody 19. It is called the City of Creative Design and is organised by the French Cultural Institute. It features the French city of Saint-Étienne, which has been named a UNESCO City of Design for its continuing efforts to seek design solutions in four areas: health, mobility, experimentation and innovation. All the exhibitions and lectures at STU will be in French and run until June 8. More information (in Slovak) can be found at www.daad.sk.
Not to be confused with the DAAD, the Days of Architecture festival will focus on housing and, at least in part, on cycling. It is called Expedition Panelstory – On a Bicycle through the Abstract Landscape of Bratislava Housing Projects. Co-organised by the city’s cycling organisation, Cyklokoalícia (www.critical mass.sk), it opens on June 1 with a guided cycling route which will take participants down a make-believe boulevard in Petržalka while describing how some of the panel buildings that remain from communist times might be upgraded in ways that would make the district more attractive.
Later a Depo Party will be held at the unfinished train depot at Janíkov dvor to show how this structure could be completed in a way that would emphasise the industrial beauty of the site. A series of short films about Petržalka will follow.
On June 2 participants will explore the panel housing projects in the Karlova Ves and Dlhé Diely neighbourhoods of Bratislava as well as those in Ružinov, on Račianska Street and its vicinity, again on bicycles. Days of Architecture is staged in cooperation with the Company for Architecture, an Austrian organisation. The goal of the project is to promote discussion about architecture and urban planning among the wider public.
The guided tours in Bratislava will be in Slovak but English translations will be available for non-Slovak guests. However, reservations are recommended so that the materials can be prepared in advance. Henrieta Moravčíková and Peter Szalay are the curators for this year’s programme. More detailed information can be found at www.ustarch.sav.sk/ustarch/podujatia/dni-architektury-2012.html.