Echolocation as an inspiration for "Rezidencie na Bielej Púti."

Echolocation as an inspiration for “Rezidencie na Bielej Púti.”

Architecture gives me the opportunity to look at the world with different eyes and see the unseen. Thanks to it, I awaken in people the imagination and desire to discover beauty in things in which they may not have been looking for it and did not even realize it.

A number of caves are a part of the Demänovská valley, as well as the whole of Liptov.

My favorite is the Demänovská Ice Cave. The length of the measured parts of the cave is 2,445 m with a height difference of 57. It is remarkable for the occurrence of permanent ice filling, bizarre and massive shapes of underground spaces and rare cave fauna.

BatAn integral part of it is also a bat. So far, 9 species of bats have been found in the cave. The best known are: Myotis mystacinus, Plecotus austriacus, Eptesicus nilssoni, Barbastella barbastella and Blythii.

Many people don’t feel good when they look at this creature. And that is why I was interested in the bat’s hidden beauty. How to transform the emotion of fear, rejection and resistance, into the emotion of gentleness, tenderness, vulnerability to self-confidence and dominance in his territory.

DrawingI tried to transform his part, detail from it into architecture. I wanted to introduce people to the beauty I see. I was looking for a detail on this interesting creature, which I would materialize through architecture. His ears and echolocation, thanks to which he orients himself in the dark, became the inspiration for the design of the “Rezidencie na Bielej Púti”.

ArchitectureThe ears of the bat´s has different lengths, in some species very long. Bats are characterized by echolocation. In the dark, they orient themselves by reflecting the high-frequency sounds they emit. Sounds (so-called cranks) arise in the larynx, are transmitted through the nose or mouth and are directed or focused by the nasal leaf (if present). Echoes of sound are captured by the ears. The distance of the object is determined by the return time of this sound. 

architectureThe “Residencie na Bielej Púti” complex consists of a set of six apartment houses (batmans) and seven multifunctional buildings. The apartment houses have six above-ground and one underground floor. There are six apartments in each of them. A promenade with 7 bars and restaurants is designed between the apartments, which complements the recreation and nightlife of the visitors.

“When I am creating a design for more people, I look for a common element with which I can connect people and with whom they can identify. I give my uniqueness and character to the space created in this way, which people perceive through the emotions that this space evokes in them… ”

Photo of bat, source:

Slovak Art Center

Architect Jan Revaj was inspired by the High Tatras

Architect Jan Revaj was inspired by the High Tatras

Nature is an inspiration for many aspects of everyday life. Design is no exception. It is also true for a Slovak Art Center project of which the author is a talented architect and artist Jan Revaj. His vision of an art center for the capital city Bratislava refers to Slovak alps and points to climate change problems of our planet.

It is possible to connect people and nature also through architecture. Project engineers and constructors have under control our perception of buildings and cities. Through their designs, we can better perceive the nature, environment and change our connection with them. Today’s modern cities have a tendency to push back and hide the nature. However, this doesn’t have to always hold true. Our homes, places, and buildings that we visit can exist in harmony with nature and even be its reflection.

Gerlach peak

This applies also to the design of the Slovak Art Center by JANREVAJ architects. The design comes from an idea of the connection of nature with modern architecture. The author’s inspiration was the peak of the High Tatras and the whole Slovak Republic, Gerlach Peak. The climb to the height of 2 655 meters is not accessible for tourists. You have to be always accompanied by a certified mountain guide.

“Gerlach Peak is a place where a person tests the endurance of their body, but also the longevity of their dreams. It’s a place of inspiration and freedom where we let our spirit and ideas grow. This place frees us from a monotonous life.” said Jan Revaj for Green Magazine. The design of the Art Center for the Slovak capital comes from these ideas:

“I’m walking through a forest and the wind scatters the clouds. I can see the top of Gerlach Peak. I see the peak as if it’s not even touching the ground, only swims in the clouds. Nature created this beautiful art and the art will fill this amazing space.”

Each tree, flower, rock, and hill has its own story which can be told. We can understand it only if we start to be really aware of a space in which we find ourselves, without technology and smart devices, only in connection with nature. These stories leave us with emotions that Jan tried to transform into lines and forms. Not only the beauty of individual lines connects this design with nature.

The Art Center is designed as a space for cultural and social life development. It is situated in the most frequented part of Bratislava, which is surrounded by a shopping center and the longest river of the European Union – Danube.

Slovak Art Center

The Art Center will be surrounded by grassy hills and green boulevard designated for recreation and relaxation.  The green boulevard will create rain gardens, so-called ecozones, which are supposed to help to reduce the effect of climate change. These gardens are designated to collect rainwater from durable surfaces like the roof, sidewalk or parking lot and to support vegetation,” remarked architect Jan Revaj. We will successfully create a unique ecosystem which can be an aesthetic gem at the same time.

Let's not seek emotion only in data, let's seek it in people

Let’s not seek emotion only in data, let’s seek it in people

“I am fascinated by capturing emotions in drawings, abstracting them into lines and transforming them into villas. To create a space where people can experience the feeling of happiness as I experience it.”

He studied at the world-famous Zaha Hadid, worked on major projects around the world, and we could easily call him an artist who “builds” his paintings.

The timeless architect Jan Revaj builds his villas based on his paintings. Through his paintings he captures the emotions and he transmits these emotion to his buildings and concepts.

When we argued over the conversation by phone, you explicitly insisted on a personal meeting. Later, you admitted that if you were to make a phone call, you wouldn’t be interviewing. What did you mean by that? (smile)

There are things you can’t catch on the phone. These are the energies that arise between people when they meet. Often, when you call someone, you “disturb” them in the activity they are doing.

In order to speak to you, he has to interrupt her and part of her energy is being transferred to you. It can easily happen that the call ends up too quickly with an unwanted result, because the energy is not always on the same wave at that moment. Well, when two people meet in person, they create their own space and resonance.

When designing houses, you draw on drawings and paintings that you have created yourself before. This is quite unusual for an architect. Why did you choose such a procedure?

I have always been fascinated how paintings and drawings can capture emotions. Using colors or just the thickness of the line can change this emotion. The artist is like a wizard who has the power to create such a miracle, and that’s what I move into space.

I draw people. Interpersonal relationships. Man is still a mysterious, unexplored creature with incredible possibilities and potential. I believe in people. I try to capture those emotions that arise. Each has its own beauty. Are we able to put this emotion into shape? Does the present time need new forms, shapes, lines, or is it an experience? With each of these drawings or paintings, I wonder how this could be expressed in space.

Jan Revaj

In one of the internet discussions, someone commented on your work with words – Jan Revaj is probably a fan of Zaha Hadid. You even studied with her. What did you think when you first saw her work?

I went to Zaha Hadid mainly because of her paintings. At that time I drew a lot with Igor Rumanský, an excellent artist and a man. I was interested in the overlap from painting to space. Zaha Hadid has done a lot for this world to be more beautiful. I want to continue with that.

How do you remember your studies? What did Zaha Hadid give you?

Um, probably the atmosphere in the studio gave me the most. I finally met on one kick of people who wanted to make architecture 100 percent. People who like challenges, developments and are curious and want to take this world forward. I appreciate this feeling the most.

Why did you decide to return to Slovakia after years and how are you doing here?

“Baťa inspired me.” I thought people are walking „barefoot here“, so I will dress them. I’ll give them space with emotion. But over time, I realized that it was about Maslow and his pyramid of human values, rather than Baťa. At the top is self-realization and there are my clients. In Slovakia, however, there is still early capitalism, that is, the effort to earn as much as possible for itself and material values ​​are much stronger than the inner ones. As they say, whom you should meet, you will meet, and so I meet along my way people who understand my language of art, space and emotion. I do things like I feel natural. I put my energy into it and that makes me happy. What more can I wish for?

Harmony of love

Do Slovaks have the courage to use the compositions and shapes you propose?

It’s not just courage, but the realization that life is very short and we have a unique opportunity to create something incredible. In this case, it is the space that will fill us.

You probably need a great deal of spatial imagination for the architecture you create. And apparently a piece of anarchy and courage to “break down” the traditional image of buildings …

Rather, you have to be like a child, curious and asking a lot. Ask yourself. Observe, perceive, learn and develop their feelings. What you feel on the line on paper must be felt also in form and space. The idea of ​​traditional architecture and square meters is dead to me.

When you creating you avoid right angles. Why?

I wouldn’t say I’m avoiding. I have them also in each of my buildings, I only use them elsewhere and in a different proportion. There is not only black and white, there are many shades between these colors. Nor is there only a circle and a square. I take advantage of these amazing possibilities and shape the space. These intermediate steps help me create emotion and atmosphere. 

You call your houses “jewelry.” However, genuine jewelry is usually more expensive.

Jewelry is something for me to put on top of myself and it becomes part of me. We wear jewelry to make us feel nicer, better, more important. The house is a kind of self-satisfaction. What is the most important thing at the end of each day? Feeling good. And that’s what space is about.

Villa Octa

Isn’t money the reason why we prefer “classic” solutions?

These houses cost no more than other, cubic meters of concrete pour into each house for the same price, but with different results. But even an architect must love his work and not look at it through numbers and spend time over it. Everything that a person designs or realizes reflects him as a mirror. You can quickly see if he likes what he does or just makes a living. Whether one in a million others or unique in the world. I say that being unique is natural, you just have the courage to go your way.

You design houses with a clear goal – so that their inhabitants can find peace and develop internally. But each person is different, has a different nature, inner world, expectations. How can you deal with it?

Every person is like a radio. He can tune in. Well, I’m tuning the station. Every person is inherently good. I put the good side to the surface.

For example, when I create a family villa, I have to agree with the concrete person on what we want to achieve together. What feeling and emotion the space should have. This is how I think of a family villa: each of us needs a place where he can anchor, to create his own harbor where he can survive a storm, but at the same time enjoy the miracle of life. To find a place in which the present moment gives every thing uniqueness. Perceive peace as a gift and enjoy it with full sip. For me, it’s best to sit in a family circle at home, feel close to each other without words, just sit there and feel the presence of people who are all for you. Father, mom, children circle like magic comets creating cosmic energy. This is the goal for our villas. Create harmony. Then time stops for me and I feel happy. There is no one closer to us than our own self, which we see to grow through our genes in generations to come. I am fascinated by capturing these emotions in drawing, abstracting them into lines and transforming them into fairies. Creating a space where people can experience the same happiness as I experience it. You will guard such a place as your most precious gem.

But the villa does not have to be just family, then I look at it completely differently. The client is one thanks to which each villa gets unique uniqueness and authenticity.

Villa Octa

What do you think about the quality of contemporary architecture in Slovakia?

Architecture is a mirror of the company.

Since we still have early capitalism in which our own profits and the Excel spreadsheet are more than anything else, we are building. An architect in such an environment is just one of the items for the developer to make a profit. This means minimizing costs and maximizing profit. Then you can see that the creative is disappearing and everything is very similar. Only color and tiling are changed. And since society is in the same mood, it doesn’t even hinder it at the end of the day. Building and architecture have been turned into a routine, they are on the mainstream wave. I do not want to cut those square meters, it is not natural to me and it is not something that fills me. Therefore, I look mainly outside Slovakia. Since there are no borders (only those in our heads), I am looking for people in the world who look in the same direction.

What projects are you currently working on and what are your future plans and visions?

Let’s not seek emotion only in data, let’s seek it in people…

Technology and artificial intelligence are one of the ways in which architecture and the world can develop. I will. But there is a second way, and that is self-knowledge. I am tired of filling tables with data obtained by observing human behavior, analyzing them, and putting them in the hands of artificial intelligence, hoping to create a better future, a better world and a better space for life. I believe that being unique is natural, but somehow we forgot about it. Pablo Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real.” But I ask – where is our curiosity and space for us our own creativity? I am tired of this mediocrity and the limitation of reality with the hope that someone else will decide. That’s why I decided to go back to where I left 12 years ago – drawing and painting. The process by which I open new doors for my vision. I’m curious …

I am currently working on the White Gem Collection 22 concept. We are working on the concept of linking work with housing in the future. You can see the prototype in Malinov – project 3 Vody Malinovo. I am interested in sustainability and technology, so we are developing the idea of ​​levitating homes called Flying meadow. I look for spaces for further development and growth, such as the Winter Harbor – the new SiliconValley in the EU and many others. Like I said, I’m curious, so I look and find (smile).

Martina Macková – Milliard Sun