This development of 61 houses and apartments sits in the grounds of the Kastiel Bernolákovo, near Bratislava, Slovakia, a grand baroque manor house built in the 1720s for the Esterhazy family by the leading architect of the day, Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach.

Industrial workshops, sheds and factories were added to the estate in the twentieth century. The project proses to demolish most of these and create a small new residential community in their place. Two of the largest factory buildings will be retained and become apartment buildings.

The client, a group of former architects, shares with Ash Sakula a mutual aspiration to create a socially sustainable neighbourhood with an imaginative mix of uses and convivial shared spaces.

Aerial concept sketch of Ash Sakula Residential Bernalakovo von Erlach

Our plan retains the two most significant industrial sheds and adds homes, sensitively and imaginatively, that include terraces, 'mat-houses', 'village houses' and two 4-storey tower houses, as well other new uses.

These typologies allow us to build flexibility and connectivity into an urban form that is fluid and permeable, rather than forming streets with rigidly distinct backs and fronts. They also enable the close proximity of homes without compromising privacy.

On a site that mixes eighteenth-century imperial bravura with a communist-era industrial facility, we are enjoying finding meaningful contemporary responses to this tangled historical context. Retained buildings are being converted into apartments, exposing their muscular structure and incorporating old machinery and hoists in the design of lobbies and staircases. The larger of the two buildings has a publicly accessible roof terrace with views of the Kastiel, the Danube valley and distant Bratislava.

Concept sketch for Ash Sakula Residential development Slovakia

In the centre of the project a new tower house nestles under a grove of existing trees and fronts an existing workshop building turned into apartments.

Ground level changes, a relic of former industrial loading docks, are incorporated within an inclined central square that slopes down to a café.

Ash Sakula concept sketch showing low mews terraces

At the entrance to the site, adjacent to the castle gates, low mews terraces create an axial view to the Kastiel beyond.

The scheme lays itself out around a number of precious existing trees and some fragments of the original estate wall, and supplements them with careful new landscaping.

Ground floor plan of Residential development in Bernolákovo Slovakia by Ash Sakula Architects

A range of residential typologies enable meaningful spaces to be created all across the site. Particularity is preferred to repetition.

Site section through this residential development

The layout exploits the existing changes of level across the site which at one time enabled trucks to serve both floors of the retained central workshop building.

Aerial view of residential development

The scheme on the edge of the Kastiel estate, between it and the village of Bernolákovo.

Ash Sakula drawings photos
Ash Sakula drawings photos
Ash Sakula drawings photos
Ash Sakula drawings photos

Client: Imagine

Accommodation: 61 houses and apartments

Aerial view of existing site of Residential development in Bernolákovo Slovakia by Ash Sakula Architects

Aerial view of the existing site.

Elevation drawings

Elevations of the workshop building appointments.

Existing factory building interior on site of residential development in Bernolákovo Slovakia by Ash Sakula Architects

The larger retained factory building interior, with magnificent Soviet-era concrete detailing.

Mew house elevation drawings for residential development in Bernolákovo Slovakia by Ash Sakula Architects

Elevations of the mews houses.

Early design sketch

Early design explorations