A Storeys’ Tale at Petrzalka first prize
Natalia Petkova, Paula Petkova, Bernardo Robles Hidalgo – Slovakia / Slovakia / Spain

Architecture is a potent expression of ideology. But nowhere is this made more evident as when it outlives the ideology that conceived it. In such cases, the built environment is compelled to reconcile with new societal aspirations, or face its untimely demise, be it physical or spiritual.
Petrzalka, a prefabricated mass-housing estate, which flowered under the communist regime in 1970s Bratislava, is the densest of its peers in all of Central Europe, housing one third of the city’s population. The demolition of the estate after the Velvet Revolution of 1989 was therefore inconceivable. Instead, standing among the ashes of the regime that constructed it, the 150,000-strong community suffered substantial neglect and deprivation under the ‘turbo’ neo-liberalism that swept through Slovakia.
Our tale of life on the estate – a bricolage of reality and fiction – seeks to illustrate the uniquely human capacity to re-imagine and re-appropriate spaces, mobilizing their latent potential, and paving the way for regeneration. Against a background of concerns regarding urban sprawl, and the reality of the shrinking welfare state, we attempt to give sense to – and take advantage of – the existing ‘architecture of congestion’.