The first impression after going for a walk with the mayor has a somewhat bitter aftertaste. This village is just like any other – beautiful scenery, rough landscape… We notice, however, a large number of complaints about the coexistence of the local citizens, mutual rancor, calumny and envy. As architects, we do not see any point in trying to engage in complex construction activities. We rather want to unite the people and cheer up the mayor. The only solution seems to be a shared activity, collective building and collective results. We propose to plant benches all over the village to provide meeting points. The idea is to have the benches built collectively by the locals for very little money, place them wherever agreed and test the popularity. If the idea is met with enthusiasm, the mayor does not need to hesitate to invest in a longer-lasting solution. The proposal is welcomed carefully. The mayor has the task to gather all necessary material and promote the event. At the end of the holidays, we return for the last pre-school weekend to host the workshop here. Men have built eight benches and ladies spend the afternoon bending over a giant map, trying to agree on where to place the benches and further plant young trees. Children sketch their ideas on the nearby pavement with chalk. In the evening, everyone gathers in the square to celebrate the day by a bonfire. Together – apparently for the first time ever. Someone from the crowd suggests screening of a children´s fairytale on a wall of a nearby house. The kids love it. It was a magical time on the eve of the upcoming school year. We had a garden goodbye lunch with the mayor the next day. Thank you very much!
Under the auspices of the Mobile Architectural Office (further MAK), a rather unusual event was to be held on Saturday, August 30, 2014, in front of the firehouse. It was a project of young architects who had already addressed several municipalities around the country with the objective of improving public spaces of towns and villages. Based on a positive response of our community, the residents were invited to gather on the agreed day. Handy participants were able to assemble a whole bench, or at least give a helping hand and assist with the installation of the total of eight delivered benches. MAK provided the project and the local authorities secured all necessary components – planks, screws as well as the aerial photograph of the village to plot the appropriate location for the assembled benches. The Straka, Rochsa, Kopolovic, Stec, Zemlicka, Hanus and Vranek families helped willingly, assisted by moms, dads and little ones in assembling all the items. Mr. Jiri Klich subsequently distributed the benches to all designated locations. The overall intent of MAK was to encourage communality where informal meetings and chats can help strengthen the relations among neighbors. The benches were designed to be completely mobile, so that they can be relocated to a more convenient spot any time. The morning manual activities were then enriched with an evening causal event of grilling sausages by the local pond, right where the May pole is erected and bonfire made every year. The event was co-financed by a grant from the Ministry of Culture. The lovely day was concluded by screening of a popular Czech film called Pelíšky, organized by the architects. It was a truly relaxed event which Adam Wlazel and Kateřina Vídenová from MAK were not to miss out on. None of the other visitors felt like leaving either.
text: zápis v kronice obce Ctiboř, Ctiboř chronicle note
Hello, Miss Kateřina, I have been approached by Mrs. Žemličková, the mayor of our village, to share with you a little story of the assembling of benches for the public spaces of Ctiboř, proposed to us last year on August 30. Attached you will find the record I have prepared to be inserted in our chronicles of last year´s events. I am also enclosing a couple of snap shots. Please excuse the lack of group photos. We are generally not big fans of picture taking but everyone likes to find him or herself in a photo at the end of the day. Being the chronicler, I can only confirm that…Moreover, the composition of the participants was continuously changing. When you look at the snapshot, I‘m the man wearing the green T-shirt and sunglasses, holding the drill. Our family truly enjoyed this event. Even my two daughters were eager to help. The younger one rushed from her dance class to make it in time and to give a helping hand. She fortunately managed all and we were glad to see that “our” bench made it all the way to the front of our house. Kids have grown fond of the benches, using their services for resting during games, bike rides or roller skating. Our elderly neighbors enjoy taking a break there from their evening strolls. I myself am always tempted to have my moment of peace on the bench, relaxing after everything is done for the day. As the sun begins to hide behind the horizon, I sit there with my relatives or my cuddly cat. The way the benches are being enjoyed by the local teenagers is a whole different topic. They love to sit on the backrest while resting the legs on the seat or the plungers. Such treatment bears its toll on the equipment, of course, and cracks have started appearing. I doubt, however, that using iron benches or similar would help prevent damages caused by groups of the local teenagers. I have also noticed that our benches are a popular resting spot for tourists and bikers passing through. It is the ideal place to refresh and continue on their journey. Nevertheless, I do believe that the benches will last to entertain decent visitors for many years to come. Kind regards
text: Pavel Rosocha, kronikář obce Ctiboř, chronicler of Ctiboř