4) Michal Dvořák, Ivan Gogolák, Lukáš Grasse , Česká republika
Výškovice as a symbol
Where do we start? We have already started!
borders as a connection, not a trauma
First step is about overcoming the barriers. Those can be physical – state and district borders, mountains, distance etc., but they can also be historical, social and cultural. All of these are interconnected. To overcome them we need communication and coordination on all levels, from national to local, regardless of formal borders. It’s crucial to understand the economical interconnection of the crossborder municipalities and regions, since their future development is strongly influenced by the others. Several programs are oriented on this issue, for example Czech-German Fund for Future, Ziel 3 – Cíl 3, European Regional Development Fund, Endowment Fund Obnova Krušnohoří and others.
physical and virtual life of Výškovice
As the initiative of Recovering the place Výškovice started, so did the process of overcoming barriers. Through particular events and medialisation, Výškovice amongst a few others (e.g. Königsmühle, Popov etc.), should have position as a symbol of the issue of deserted borderland. To overcome and deal with the issue, medialisation and discussion is the first step. These initiatives need to be supported on different levels to address all the layers of society. From local events, through general and social media to political interest. We need to set straight certain stigmas from the past and untruths about actual relationship between Czech and German sides, which is more positive than is often presented. We need strong statement and strategy to develop future ideas.
The role of the symbol and place for possible events is now more important to the whole issue than the actual physical appearance of the place. We see the virtual potential of the place as a platform for discussion, events and communication. Recent events that took place in Výškovice during the international workshop represent a great example of this potential.
What lies ahead?
The big question for the future of the borderland area lies in form of inhabiting the places. For the sustainable development of the landscape, the lives of its inhabitants must be connected to the proper usage of the soil. Otherwise it would become only an exploitation of its values.
Our first panel shows the map of deserted places in the Czech Republic as the representation of the importance of the issue. The great amount of them also shows that all of those places must necessary have different potential for different future development.
morphology defines place
What type of place are we dealing with?
form and development potential of places are based on the landscape morphology
Výškovice is a place hidden in hilly area near Chodová Planá. We see its physical potential for the near future in enabling the access and creating the infrastructure for tourism and occasional events.
people create place
We recognize several groups that are significant for further development of the place. First group is actually the owners and their interests in the area. Second group represents local people. We see the easiest way to include them through local events that would offer them something in return for their interest, especially for children (school trips and workshops, cultural events). These events also work for the third group, people from the outside, who are interested in the place as a phenomenon through medialisation and other channels.
Výškovice in network
models as a relationship between time and nature
What is our role in the landscape?
visiting, staying and living – evidence of human impact in time as a part of the landscape character
In the first stage, we have established the concept that is based on the form and influence of human presence in the place with natural background. The concept as described in our proposal set three basic models for recovering landscape and place – visiting, staying and living. From our ongoing work on this issue during the workshop and after, we have made ourselves sure that the first model of visiting the place is the most appropriate in the near future.
We consider the return of the landscape to more natural settings to be one of the greatest values of the place at this time. In the dense network of places, villages and cities in our republic, there is actually not a lot of space left uninhabitated. We feel the phenomenon of an abandoned village as a value.
nature as a place to visit
Visitor is briefly passing through, his relationship to the place is through a short moment. The activities in the place are generated from the outside. This model is based on short-time recreation and also the phenomenon of hiking, derived from the tramping tradition strong in Czechia. Its main themes are protection, access and work with natural elements. Strong sense of history and genius loci are giving the main lead.
Connecting the place
place to pass through, place to enter
We consider Výškovice in its physical setting to be a part of a larger network of tourist attractions. We must remebemer, that the physical significance of the place is in its cultural-natural landscape, yet in this way it is one amongs a lot of others.
In order to put Výškovice on the map again, enabling new and restoring old connections is the task for today. Enhancing infrastructure for tourism and biking, emphasizing old and important path in the surroundings as a pilgrimage path to the Monastery of Teplá, or path the church and village of Pístov, the connection to St. Anna, church and cultural meeting point today.
Other inputs into the surroundings of Výškovice comes from wider connections. Those are short time events that take place, be it a part of Pilsen 2015 or others.
One of the important groups that are visiting the place on a yearly basis, are actually the former german families. We suppose, that their involvement into the Recovering of the Place Výškovice – Wischkovitz is really important.
How do we achieve the character?
The concept of visiting the place requires certain steps, that enable access and subtly points to the given phenomena of an abandoned village without being overly straightforward. So that every visitor can reveal the secrets of the place by himself. We define two basic steps:
unveiling the place, preserving values, strengthening character
This step is about a long-term interventions into the place. It works with current parts of the landscape and emphasizes them in a subtle way, so that a visitor or participant of an event may recognize and consider them.
It’s about clearing the specified locations of Heracleum in order to make the valuable points of interest visible (e.g. chapel, Goethe stone etc.) and also about cutting down particular trees that damage precious fruit trees, the reminiscence of the cultural landscape. The need to cut down valuable trees, those that cannot be restored, can be compensated in replanting them in order to keep the place living.
We are also talking about a water management of the brook in order to make the place more accessible (especially the roads in the valley and surroundings of the brook). To this is also connected the proposal of regeneration of former water pond in the center of the village, to create some more void space. This intervention should help with minimizing the surface for heracleum and also with water management.
Last but not least is repairing the roof of the chapel, which is necessary for its preservation.
adding a new layer
This step is about a new contribution to the place.
We have cleared the place and set some rules for its maintenance, but what to add, that would have some meaning for the place, for its visitors? What can be useful, but not monumental? And what to do with the trees that need to be cut down in order to keep the place living?
We propose the concept of reusage of the cut down trees in the way that it can help with infrastructure and also with events that can happen here. The principle uses wood material that comes from maintenance of the place, but not necessarily just Výškovice. It may be collected from wider surroundings as a concept of recycling while making a meaningful infrastructure as landscape intervention. It can be done by using the money for intervention while giving the material another meaning to say. Recycle the material as a lasting concept that creates short time interventions.
The meaning of this intervention is to connect physical and virtual life of Výškovice together. It consists of at least four possible interventions – a lookout, a circle of seats, a stage and a path. The rest is up to people, what else can be done with the proposed principle.
The trees are supposed to be cut into precise modules by 100 / 200 / 400 mm, so that they can be used for different purposes and can be easily assembled.
The need of trees and dimensions of modules are presented on the third panel.
This intervention is really simple. It actually just points and emphasize the viewpoints, to sit, to stand, to notice or not. It consist of one or several modules.
02_circle of seats
As we use more modules, the intervention becomes less individual. The circle presents the place to gather and communicate in more informal way.
The stage is a wooden platform that is assembled by adding differently thick pieces of 100 or 200 mm cut together (depends on the soil). This can be done by almost anyone, which is actually the point. The final visual is dependent on the people who are creating the pattern. It is a temporary object that primarily serves for numerous possible events. But it also can be used just to sit, lay down, relax.
It’s supposed to be built to serve the possible events connected to the project of Pilsen 2015 and similar. In this object is actually connected the virtual, symbolical and physical meaning of the place.
In the similar principle of additive pattern from different pieces is based the last object, the path. It is an intervention which uses subtle wooden assembled paving on the road which is currently mostly muddy and makes the place hard to access. It should enable better entrance and appoint that there is something going on here.
The path may contain subtle reminiscence on Goethe’s passage through the village in the poetry, burned into the wooden pieces, running along the way to the center of the village, and to the Goethe’s stone itself.
These objects should be built during several workshops done in cooperation with local people, most likely schools and interested groups (NGO). That’s why the wooden pieces are proposed in the way that they can be easily handled and worked with. The participation is key to attract locals to the place and to give them the opportunity to create something meaningful with which they can identify. We don’t want to create overdesigned monuments for ourselves or for past injustices.