This development of 61 houses and apartments sits in the grounds of the Kastiel Bernolákovo, near Bratislava, a grand baroque manor house built in the 1720s 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 client, a group of former architects, shares with Ash Sakula a mutual aspiration to create socially sustainable neighbourhoods with an imaginative mix of uses and convivial shared spaces.
Our plan retains the two most significant industrial sheds and adds homes, sensitively and imaginatively, that include two 4-storey tower houses, as well other new uses. Our design draws on the mat house typology, which allows us to build flexibility and connectivity into an urban form that is punctured with spaces, rather than forming streets with rigidly distinct backs and fronts. This typology enables the close proximity of homes without compromising privacy.
On a site that mixes eighteenth-century imperial bravura with 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. 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’s aptitude for creating generous, familial, shareable environments finds expression in the provision of gardens, shared growing spaces, public areas, playable landscapes on roofs and car-free communal space outside cafes.