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Interwar modernist architecture has been drawing increasing attention for the last decades in Europe and the rest of the world. UNESCO world heritage list as well as the Tentative list already include several urban objects of this period. However, public awareness of modernists buildings value is still very low in Uzhhorod and in whole Ukraine. The status of UNESCO object will have a positive impact on cultural and touristic attractiveness of both – the city and the whole country – especially when we take historical and cultural uniqueness of this object within Ukraine into account. Introduction of a new Ukrainian object to World Heritage Tentative List may become a successful case of state foreign cultural policy. That is why this projects aims at Malyi Galagov quarter of Uzhhorod with its adjacent objects to receive the status of UNESCO monument as an integral representative example of urban planning art.
However, this goal is highly complicated as one of the main factors of cultural heritage object evaluation is its utmost authenticity and preservation. Every month or even every day, the city irreversibly loses historical doors, wooden windows or the whole object. This destructive process puts not only the UNESCO status at risk, but also harms general touristic attractiveness of the city.
Destruction of cultural and historical monuments often results from lack of legislative knowledge or sometimes from the downright disregard for the laws and developers’ ambitions. This is often the case with interwar modernist architecture.
This online project was created in order to draw attention to modernist architecture in Uzhhorod and help citizens to realize how and why these buildings should be preserved. That is why it includes not only research results of Uzhhorod modernist objects and their architects, but also aims at continuous feed of information about materials, techniques and preservation methods, and provide recommendations on building elements maintenance.
Architectural Guide includes the results of historical, architectural, bibliographic, and on-site research of main interwar modernist objects in Uzhhorod, representative scope of photographic documents, mapping materials, archive drawings and monument preserving documents. The database of these architectural objects may be used by respective organizations, researchers, students and other interested professionals. Due its user-friendly interactive map and mobile capabilities, the web-site may be easily used at a tourist guide.
After Podkarpatska Rus (Subcarpathian Ruthenia) became a part of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1919, Uzhhorod was made a capital city of the region. A large-scale construction boom was in full swing at that time as the newly established capital city was missing necessary infrastructure.
It was the first time in city history that a detailed urban analysis was made by a Doctor of Architecture Adolf Liebsсher who developed a partial general plan of the city. The governmental and residential quarter Maly Galagov was erected in record-breaking terms. The development of the territory was made with the use of the latest construction technologies and in accordance with European architectural style trends of that time. The uniqueness of the quarter project was that no old buildings from previous epochs were destroyed in order to build a new large-scaled city. Instead, the developers drained the swampy area and duly regulated the riverbed, and created the first embankment in city history.
Thus, in less than 20 years, Uzhhorod received all the necessary governmental institutions, residential buildings for relevant officers near their working place, schools and libraries, water supply and sewerage system, powerful and modern fully-equipped industrial objects, roads, pavements, parks and recreational objects like the city cinema, the swimming pool, etc. Besides, with the use of state, local and private investments, some other residential areas were developed and built using garden city principles: Mala Praha (Small Prague), Velyky Galagov, Svepomoc and others.
All these quarters are united by one epoch and one architectural movement, which is Modernism. It was the architecture of a new time that emerged with the establishment of Bauhaus School in Weimar Republic (nowadays – Germany) in 1919. That was a movement that clearly declared construction concepts: the function and purpose of the building is of utmost importance while the form and décor can be omitted. That is why practically all modernist buildings forms look laconic and clear while the facades and interiors are made of high-quality materials.
Uzhhorod Modernism is represented by practically all the styles that were being popular at the territory of the First Czechoslovak Republic: Art Deco, Rondocubism, Traditionalism, Purism, Expressionism, Neoclassicism and Functionalism. In Ukraine, some of these styles – Rondocubism, in particular – are present only in Transcarpathian region. The key projects for the city were developed by the leading architects of the Czechoslovak Republic with the world-known names: Josef Gočár, Adolf Liebscher, Aloise Dryák, František Krupka, Jan Gillar, Jaroslav Fragner, Jindřich Freiwald, Ľudovít Oelschläger, and others.