CHYBIK + KRISTOF to Bring Gregor Mendel’s Historic Greenhouse to Life

 

On the 200th anniversary of Gregor Mendel’s birth, CHYBIK + KRISTOF will bring the historic St. Augustin Abbey greenhouse to life in Brno. As the location where the notorious scientist and father of modern genetics conducted his pioneering experiments, the greenhouse is located in the 14th-century Augustinian monastery’s gardens. After the original building was swept away by a storm in the 1870s, the team aims to return the significant site to Brno’s old city in 2022.

 

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As the team explains, the greenhouse location is sited in the heart of the town, and St. Augustin Abbey houses the remains of the greenhouse where Gregor Mendel spent eight seasons, from 1856 to 1863, cultivating and breeding pea plants in his endeavor to uncover the biological mechanism through which physical traits are passed down from one generation to the next. “Built with the support of the abbot, Cyrill Napp, who sought to establish his monastery as a leading center for scientific research, the greenhouse was erected as an extension of the monk’s outdoor laboratory.” The experiments conducted there, although acknowledged only after Mendel’s passing in 1884, are now widely recognized as the foundation stone of modern genetics.

Drawing on the history, scientific legacy and archival materials of the site, and following the original ground plan, CHYBIK + KRISTOF have created a design reminiscent of the original building. “Integrated in the structure and left visible, the preserved foundations are at the basis of the architects’ reinterpretation – echoing the orientation, shape and distinct roof of the greenhouse. While the trapezoidal volume is identical to the original edifice, the reimagined supporting steel structure seeks inspiration from Mendel’s three laws of inheritance – and the drawings of his resulting heredity system.” Likewise, the pitched roof, consisting of an outer glass surface, reflects his law of segregation and the distribution of inherited traits.

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Courtesy of CHYBIK + KRISTOF Architects

Architect and founder Ondřej Chybík explains, “The concept of the redesigned greenhouse is deeply rooted in the work of Gregor Mendel. The nodes and branches constituting the steel supportive framing are in direct dialogue with his laws of inheritance, in particular that of hereditary segregation. Building on this notion as well as Mendel’s original drawings, the resulting, highly complex structure pays homage to his legacy. Laid bare by the transparency of the glass roof, the edifice both embodies and exposes his undeniable contribution to modern science.”

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With the aim of attracting local and international visitors as well as a professional public essential to preserving the monastery’s legacy, the revived structure acts as a versatile space celebrating Mendel’s work and contributions to modern genetics. The revived Mendel Greenhouse is due to be completed in 2022, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Gregor Mendel’s birth.

News via CHYBIK + KRISTOF Architects & Urban Designers

 

Inspireli Announces Winning Designs for Czech Embassy in Ethiopia

 

Courtesy of Inspireli Awards

The Inspireli Awards have announced the winners of the student competition for the Czech Embassy in Addis Ababa. The fourth year of the competition offered students a unique opportunity to design in Ethiopia. This special competition category was announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in cooperation with the Faculty of Civil Engineering CTU in Prague, Department of Architecture.

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Students were able to register the competition projects by June 12, with a total of 474 students from 38 countries with 281 projects. The organizer of INSPIRELI AWARDS is Inspireli, an international online platform for architects, co-organizers are CTU and the Faculty of Civil Engineering CTU in Prague. LEGO company is also participating in the competition, giving the winner a unique model of the design.

1st Place: Kristína Boháčová, Jana Hájková

Courtesy of Inspireli Awards

“Main idea for the design of embassy was promotion of wall as security element to something more. We did not think about it as a barriere and neccesary evil, but a tool for creating different types of space. This pricipe re-fused to a grid, supported by alleys of trees and water areas. In the sense of sustainabilityy we used local materials, shading techniques and passive ventilation in the form typical fo Africa, “windcatcher”, in other words aa chimney catching wind and distributing it to various areas of building. Also we designed small product gardens for everybody to be a little bit closer to sustaining ourselves.”

2nd Place: Anna Mierzyńska, Andrzej Chuchra

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Courtesy of Inspireli Awards

“It is greatly challenging to exhibit the particle of one culture to another. Main thought of the Embassy in Addis Abeba finds its inspiration in architecture we have discovered during our tour in Czech Republic while respecting the adjacent urban context. The design takes it source form the best modern architecture left by one of the most famous architect of our time – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Moreover, one of the ispirations was the national symbol of Czech Rebuplic – leaf of linden.”

3rd Place: Marvin Schmidt

Courtesy of Inspireli Awards

“The idea of the design was to take up the structures of the environment and let them flow into the design. Due to the climate with lots of sun and rain I quickly came to the conclusion that it is difficult to move, dry and in the shade between the buildings. So I put a roof over the structure. In order to keep the monolithic structure of the buildings, a joint was made around the building. At the entrances to the individual cubes, the distance is only 20 cm in order to get as dry as possible into the buildings. On the other sides the distance is 1 m. This distance is necessary to get as much light as possible into the lower floor. Due to the support position of the roof, which is arranged on a 5 m x 5 m grid, high ventilation of the building is possible. Inner courtyards with water areas and trees cool the terrain. The roof is presented in the same grid outside the buildings with trees. This creates a flowing transition between the building roof and nature.”

Honorable mention – Markus Schiemann, Jasper Eck

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Courtesy of Inspireli Awards

“Ethiopia and especially Addis Ababa are places of great change. Rapid urbanisation makes Addis Ababa one of the fastest growing cities on the planet, tenfolding its population since 1950. But at the same time building materials are scarce, almost everything from concrete to steel has to be imported. Ethiopia’s forests have been cut down by around 70% in the last century and people are desperately trying to save the remains. All these factors make construction by standard western means – e.g. reinforced concrete structures with chemical insulation – unsuitable, expensive and ecologically problematic. But still, almost all of the current building projects in Addis Ababa are build in that way. The potential architectural answer to these problems is deeply rooted in Ethiopian culture and far from innovative: earth.”

The submitted designs were evaluated by architects from around the world and representatives of the competition organizer – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Twenty-five works went to the second round of the competition in the category of the Czech Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They are students from three continents, 17 universities and 12 nationalities. The INSPIRELI AWARDS competition was founded in 2015 by designer prof. Bořek Šípek together with Karel Smejkal from the Faculty of Civil Engineering CTU. The chairman of the competition committee is prof. Otto Dvořák, architect, theorist, graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, USA. The work is evaluated by experts from world-renowned architects as anonymous, which ensures the objectivity of the competition.