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Waiting for the Tram, Functionally Speaking



I go by this tram stop (Obilní trh) almost every day and, from the looks of it, most of the city has forgotten about it. Though in disrepair it is still an attractive bit of modernist architecture. I may get into functionalism in a later post (sorry I don't have more details about it at hand for the moment), but here are two things that make this tram stop "functionalist": 1) it is basically designed with an "open plan," and 2) it has attached restrooms (below the waiting area). The simple pipe railings are also characteristic.

These may seem like odd criteria. If, in response to the first criteria, you are thinking, "But tram stops not built on the open plan model and with lots of obstructions are hardly worth building even in other architectural styles," then I can only answer, "Yes, but this one is still functionalist." And it is hard to appreciate the implications of the second criteria if you have not visited the Czech Republic (or Europe). However, the importance of toilets and large bathrooms were valued by the functionalists - they encouraged personal and urban hygiene. And if you have ever used Czech toilets (at least in most buildings built before the last five years or so), then you know that toilets and bathing areas were not given as much space as is usually taken for granted in North America.

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Comments:

Blogger Karla said . . .

It looks a lot more interesting from the side than it did from the front. At least from the side there's a curved aspect to lend visual interest.    

8:08 PM, October 31, 2005


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