When wealthy butcher Rudolf Manderla built an 11-floor, 44-metre tall building, known as Manderlák, on SNP Square in 1935, it was dubbed “the first Slovak skyscraper”. It retained the status of the highest building in the city until the 1970s when even taller buildings, including the Slovak Television tower, Hotel Kyjev, Presscentrum and others, were built. More followed after 1989.
Now Bratislava is experiencing another wave of high-rise building construction. Most of them are going up in the former industrial zone located between the Mlynské Nivy and Danube embankment. Developers would like to place high-rises also in the new zone Nové Lido on the Petržalka’s embankment that they plan to build between the Old and Apollo bridges.
As the Bratislava City Council perceives the progressive construction of high-rises as chaotic and lacking in concept, it wants to introduce new rules for future construction. In particular, it plans to regulate the height of new buildings via the updated city master plan.
The city council has already prepared an urban zoning study. It introduced it last October. The study offers three zoning variants. Within these it proposes various height levels for future buildings in individual parts of Bratislava, as well as setting maximum heights for buildings. These should not exceed 111 metres, the height of the current highest building in the city – the National Bank of Slovakia tower.
But the city council is still just assessing comments it has received from all the stakeholders to the study. Thus, the date the updated master plan containing height regulation becomes valid is still unknown. In general a change of the master plan takes years in Bratislava.
For now, there is no formal cap in the capital on building heights.
Already high-rises exceeding the proposed 111-metre cap have been built. Last year the J&T Real Estate (JTRE) completed the two Panorama City I and II towers with a triangle-shaped base near Eurovea. They are 112 metres high. And HB Reavis is building a 125-metre Nivy Tower that will be part of the brand new bus station. After completion it will have 30 storeys.
“At the very top there will be a unique rooftop restaurant accessible for everyone, with a view of Bratislava Castle, Kamzík television tower and the Koliba recreational resort,” said Martina Jamrichová, spokesperson of HB Reavis. She added that visitors will take a separate lift up into the restaurant. The developer also promises to equip this tower with the fastest lifts in Slovakia.
After Nivy Tower is complete, it will be the tallest building in Slovakia. But only until JTRE erects its 168-metre high tower in Eurovea’s extension towards the Apollo Bridge. This tower should meet the official criteria for a skyscraper. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) it is 150 metres at least. But the developer has not yet obtained all the permits it needs for its construction.
Other high-rises are being built in the Čulenova zone. Here Penta Investments is constructing the Sky Park project designed by the prominent Zaha Hadid Architects studio.
“This project was selected in an international tender from more than 90 proposals,” spokesperson of Penta Investments Gabriel Tóth told The Slovak Spectator.
Sky Park consists of three residential towers and two administrative buildings. The residential towers are already under construction. After completion, they will have 31 storeys and 104 m.
The smaller administrative building will have 19 storeys and 80 meters. The developer already holds all permits for its construction. The approval procedure is still not over for the second one.
“For now we can’t specify the specific height and number of storeys for the second one,” said Tóth. Based on so-far published information, it should be 116 metres high.
Penta has not yet specified when it plans launching the construction of the administrative buildings, but the plan is to do so next year.
JTRE is planning the construction of another high-rise at the site of the former Klingerka factory close to the Bratislava port on the Danube. Within the same-named project JTRE is building a residential tower with a lentil-shaped base here, planned at 115 metres.
Disclaimer: Penta financial group has a 45-percent share in Petit Press, the co-owner of The Slovak Spectator.