Malacky is a medium-sized town in Slovakia, thirty kilometres north of Bratislava on the E65 autoroute to Brno and Prague.Near the town is an important cement works, whose trucks currently have to pass through the town to reach the motorway. To avoid this, a new motorway junction is proposed, opening the opportunity for a new neighbourhood for the town on the far side of the E65. Ash Sakula is developing key design concepts for the emerging masterplan, and helping, through a co-design process with multiple stakeholders, to imagine and envision likely scenarios for the new quarter. It will be called Na Mayeri, a play on the name of a former inhabitant and the Slovak word for farmstead. Work is at an early stage, but the outlines of the new settlement are emerging. It will be a place for living, playing and working: more than just a dormitory suburb. There will be a central square with shops, cafés and restaurants. There will be workplaces, including a flexible buffer building along the motorway.

It will use green construction technologies and encourage sustainable lifestyles. It will aim to encourage walking and cycling, so as to minimise private car use in a culture still deeply wedded to the automobile, making it safer, greener and more convivial.

It will be an attractive place to live and bringup children, with forest walks and open countryside on three sides. It will be well connected across the E65 with Malacky by means of an existing vehicular bridge and a new cycle and pedestrian bridge.

We hope that our embedding of certain important themes into the emerging plans for Na Mayeri will guide its development, and help it to become an exemplary 21st century settlement and a lovely place to live.

Client: Imagine, Bratislava

Location: Malacky, Slovakia

Accommodation: 2,000 new homes

Not one place but many concept sketches
Key Concept 1

Not one place but many

The site is too big for a single unified design approach. There is a need for separate places of differing character, linked by a neutral movement network of "ordinary streets." As soon as possible these different places - and the streets connecting them - should be named.

Street places concept diagram sketch for Na Mayeri masterplan development, Slovakia
Key Concept 2

Streets are places, not corridors

Street design and furniture should be "ordinary." Each street has a different characters:

  • Some short, some long
  • Some narrow, some wide
  • Some through roads, some dead ends
  • Some straight, some curving
  • Some bellied, widening out to make a more static space at their centre
  • Some with trees, some without
  • All with names that have something to do with their history, or geography, or culture
Cars park on the streets and under trees concept sketch
Key Concept 3

Cars park on streets, not on plots

Where there is not enough length of kerb, streets widen and cars park in clusters under trees.

Smaller blocks mean more road space for driving and parking.

Avoiding crossovers where possible allows for safer continuous footpaths and pavements.

Road routes concept sketch
Key Concept 4

A cat's cradle of formal and informal routes

For pedestrians

For cyclists

For cars

For delivery, service and emergency vehicles

For children as well as adults

Key Concept 5

A wide range of house and apartment types

Most of the site to comprise repetitive, simple-to-build and pleasant-to-live-in homes.

Generally terraced houses are cheaper more efficient and more sustainable.

Apartment blocks cluster where a denser urbanism is needed

Older people's housing can be at key points, while special types help to create a sense of place.

Key Concept 6

Convivial development

As much as possible, jobs, shops, schools, clinics should be a walk or a cycle ride away.

The more that people get out of their homes and out of their car and into the public realm the beter. Chance encounter turn neighbours into friends.

The square can have a day and evening culture of restaurants, cafes and bars - some run on a shoestring by volunteers, even. Outsiders will then visit it just for the scene.