FORTY years ago construction of the biggest housing estate in Czechoslovakia was launched in Petržalka, a borough of Bratislava. Construction started on April 2, 1973, and required the demolition of family houses in the area, which were replaced by tall residential high rises assembled from pre-fabricated concrete panels, known to Slovaks as paneláks.
The original concept for Petržalka was to create the most up-to-date housing estate in the country, with a complex of facilities and services for its inhabitants, as well as its own transportation system, which would connect the borough with the rest of Bratislava. But these ideas, including plans to develop the open space around the paneláks, were soon abandoned, the SITA newswire wrote, quoting the book Kronika Slovenska 2 / Chronicle of Slovakia 2. The original designs were altered for economic reasons, and by the end of the 1970s, Petržalka was no different from any other housing estate built at that time.
An international tender to design the Bratislava-Petržalka city borough was announced at the end of the 1960s. The territory had an area of 1,806 hectares and it was bordered by the Danube and a planned drainage channel. The area was to feature a lot of green space, with gardens and forests.
The tender attracted considerable attention: 700 individuals from all over the world requested the terms of the competition. Officially, 310 participants from 28 countries registered for the competition, and before the deadline, 84 blueprints from 19 countries arrived.
The final form of Petržalka was designed by Jozef Chovanec and Stanislav Talaš, along with other collaborators, although Chovanec later resigned from the project. The demolition of the original settlement began in 1972 and the last remaining residential houses were torn down in 1977.
Petržalka is the Bratislava borough with the highest number of inhabitants: according to data from 2011, more than 105,000 inhabitants now live there.
22. Apr 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská