Ajka Transforum, Europan 10

Europan 10 Wettbewerb
runner-up prize
mit Christina Lenart und Michael Klein

Multi-functionality above single-purposeness
Translation into Transformation
The term Transforum encompasses the central aspect of a forum as a place for public situations and negotiations (both cultural and commercial) as well as the act of appropriation that leads to a constant change of uses and appearances. In order to achieve this, measurements in different areas are being implemented.

Auto-Development: Ajka’s Do-It-Yourself Mentality
When visiting Ajka’s growing areas, one notices that these low density-fringes with detached houses seem to be almost entirely developed and built out of self-initiative, in a handyman approach in neighbourly mutual help,
– D.I.Y.-W.Y.N. (do-it-yourself-with-your neighbours). Everyone seems to know something – neighbour Milo is a
bricklayer, cousin Bela knows how to sew curtains, auntie Ilka how to weld, and your sister Ronja how to set up
a glass house. Ajka’s private construction sector, probably the fastest growing one, is based on local microeconomies of neighbourhood, friendship and family.

The reason for such a development in Ajka is the same as elsewhere: An increasingly individualising society
paired up with a determining wish for property. Such phenomena are even amplified by the former housing policy that led to repetitive housing slabs, inherently undermining individual appropriation through the applied
idea of collectivisation.

City-Life and Commerce
Thrust westwards into a European Community populated by generations grown up and trained in the economical and spatial mechanisms of capitalism, the city of Ajka is now experiencing the well-proven habits of “the market” – facing city-life sucking vampires that carry names like Tesco. The teenage community are the first to fall victim.

Functional Separation
The current situation of the centre is one of an island amidst more or less heavy trafficed roads, itself following
a strict separation of functions with the car being the predominant occupier of space. Pedestrianised streets
that have an orginial flair are surrounded by supplementary spaces such as delivery or access roads. Other activities can hardly be imagined to take place there – the spaces are single-themed, appear dictated and determined. Space and use are predetermined and rigid, its inflexibility being the biggest threat to the future of the centre’s liveability. By strategically stimulating improvisation and imagination, a gradual transformation is achieved.