Improvisation. The book presents the 1980s as an era of the architecture of persistence and the search for loopholes in the system

The publication by editors Petr Vorlik and Jan Zikmund from the Department of Theory and History of Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture of the CTU and their colleagues focuses on the characteristic approaches that architects used to cope with the shortcomings of centrally controlled socialist building production in the era of normalisation.

The 1980s in domestic architecture represent the imaginary peak of the contradiction between the ambitions of the creators and the real possibilities of construction. Apart from a small group of prominent buildings, architects and contractors had to put considerable personal effort into design and construction, take risks, and improvise. "Quantity was preferred over quality, and if an architect wanted to enforce his or her author's idea in the ailing economy and the normative timelessness, he or she could only achieve it by creatively reshaping everything available and bending the rules," says Petr Vorlík about the ability to refinedly make the most of the little.

In eleven chapters, the publication presents both the state of construction in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s and the specific architectural solutions that can be found in public space to this day. It describes the common architectural practice of the creative use of prefabricated building systems and their adaptation into unusual building layouts, the addition of interesting structural elements to facades, the attempt to involve artists and the partial return of craft details and a more human scale of architecture.

The book Improvisation was written as a critical catalogue of the exhibition of the same name and the fourth main output of the project Architecture of the 1980s in the Czech Republic in the National and Cultural Identity II programme of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. It is loosely based on the first book (a)type (2019) - (a)typ, which focuses mainly on selected characteristic phenomena and buildings at the end of normalisation, the second book unbuilt (2020) - nepostavená, describing unrealised, often utopian and provocative contemporary visions, and the third book interviews (2020) - rozhovory. A specialised map and database of 1980s architecture is being created in parallel at

The editors of the publication are Petr Vorlík and Jan Zikmund from the Department of Theory and History of Architecture, FA CTU. Texts were also contributed by Klára Brůhová, Jana Bukačová, Hubert Guzik, Lenka Kužvartová, Miroslav Petříček, Marcel Tomášek, Klára Ullmannová and Veronika Vicherková.

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