RESEARCH PORTFOLIO 2018
Regina Balla PhD candidate M.Sc. Architecture Budapest University of Technology and Economics Csonka Pál Doctorand School / 2016
My name is Regina Balla, I am in the fourth semester of my architecture PhD at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and my research focuses on urban planning and development. I graduated from the BME in 2016. During my M.Sc. studies I worked as a junior architect in different architectural offices and thanks to international scholarships I spent some months in an architecture studio in Madrid, Ruiz-Larrea & Asociados. Since 2013 I have participated in various scientific student conferences and competitions, where my returning topic was the architecture of prefabricated housing blocks. Accordingly in my PhD I examine the sustainability of urban blocks, especially prefabricated mass housing estates, a very problematic and wide-spread topic across Eastern Europe. I am interested in the possibilities of balancing sustainability and the quality of life, and, if it exists, how urban planning can help to merge these issues for a likable future city. These issues are much more relevant in the post-war urban heritage which is in bad condition and has uncertain perspectives for rehabilitation. I am also acting in other areas related to sustainable development, at the present I’m working for a EU-funded project for a transnational community development across the Danube and I teach at the Technical University in the field of housing developments in future cities.
National Scientific Student Conference - Urbanism Ground floor of block of flats - Special Award
17ème rencontres du Réseau des écoles d’architecture françaises d’Europe centrale et orientale (RéA) - Budapest,Hungary/Grenoble,France - Pongrátz Gergely Square, Revitalization of block of flats - national I. Prize - international III. Prize
Scientific Student Conference-BUTE (BME)- Urbanism - Ground floor of block of flats - I. Prize
Budapest University of Technology and Economics Field Of Study / Master of Science (M.Sc.), Architecture and Civil Engineering GRADUATION
Quantity surveyor Company / ELŐ-SZER Kft. Dates Employed / Jul 2015 – Aug 2016 Employment Duration / 1 yr 2 mos Location / Hungary, Kiskunfélegyháza
BME Csonka Pál Doktoral School, Faculty of Architecture Field Of Study / Sustainability and urban forms State Scholarship Dates attended or expected graduation / 2016 – 2020 Department of Urban Planning and Design
Trainee Company Name / Ruiz-Larrea & Asociados Dates Employed / Jun 2014 – Sep 2014 Employment Duration / 4 mos Location / Madrid, Spain Erasmus Practise
Communication Manager at DANUrB Project Company Name / Department of Urban Planning and Design, Budapest University of Technology and Economics Dates Employed / Jan 2017 – Present Location / Budapest, Hungary
Campus Mundi Short Study Trip Scholarship Delft University of Technology Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment March 2018 Location / Delft, Netherlands
PhD research >Research proposal >List of publication Teaching & education > Subjects >Exhibitions and publications Participation in projects >Management 3pn
Field of PhD research
SUSTAINABILITY AND URBAN FORMS Territorial characterisation of mass housing estates in Hungarian cities Supervisor: Dr. habil BENKĹ? Melinda PhD Csonka PĂĄl Doctoral School, Faculty of Architecture, Budapest University of Technology and Economics Introduction - Mass housing estates in Hungary The conditions of mass housing estates in post-Communist countries have long been of concern for their inhabitants, while they have also begun to generate research interest among scholars. Some authors advocate the upgrading and renewal of these buildings; yet, others see them as a mass of aesthetic and socioeconomic burden reminiscent of the past, as remnants of the centrally planned economy, and therefore propose gentrification and/or urban regeneration to replace them. However, economic realities often dictate the social housing policy of the day. While in most Western European countries mass housing constructed from prefabricated building elements represents about 8-10% of the housing stock, in Central and Eastern European cities this ratio varies between 15 and 80%. This is the consequence of a complex social, economic and environmental legacy of the previous political system. Through my case studies I focus on exploring the conflicts between micro and macro scale development of prefab housing estates and how they are influenced by the criteria of liveable urban environment.
The focus of the research - Territorial characterisation of mass housing estates While in practice the rehabilitation of prefabricated housing estates mostly covered renovation of buildings, increasingly an action space conception becomes apparent, which is able to revalorize this problematic building stock. The action space specific, holistic proposal demands interdisciplinary approach, based on urban planning principles of SUN (sustainable urban neighbourhoods), that is able to re-discover housing units in the scale of a neighbourhood unit. To redefine housing estates as neighbourhoods it is important to understand the development of its concept from the past through the present to the future. While this urban theory is today defined by sustainable indicators and accepted social values, in the case of housing estates it has gained space when people were just numbers, as were their neighbours, they were a set of numbers in the pre-planned unit. The effects of this place management can be also observed in the territorial relation system of housing estates. The outside and inside isolation of housing units make limits not just to the organisation of social activities, but they also cause spatial and legal boundaries to future changes. In all of the analysed housing estates, a housing unit typically has an individual structure within the settlement, and it has also an independent name. The housing estate is also a territorially defined unit that is contained in the official land use plan. The territorial administrative boundaries of the housing estates can be redrawn temporarily by agreement or in long term through a legal proceeding. In this way the diversity of structure unit will be changed, the territorial unit – housing estate – can become increasingly less isolated in the urban grid and is able to assimilate to the neighbouring urban fabric. This territorial modification can give an opportunity for the constantly deteriorating housing estates to a sustainable future.
Scientific Journal papers
List of publications
Balla, R. (2016.) “Housing estates in towns: Bökényalj in Csongrád.” régi-új Magyar Építőművészet, Utóirat, 2016(3), pp. 72-74. Benkő, M., Balla, R. (2016.) ”Fundamentum - A paneles lakóépületek földszintje.” (“Fundamentum-The ground floor of prefabricated block of flats.”) Építés – Építészettudomány, 44(3–4) Benkő, M., Balla, R., Hory, G. (2018.) ” Participatory Placemaking in the Renewal of Post-Communist Large Prefabricated Housing Estates: Újpalota Case Study.” Journal of Place Management and Development, 11(3) Balla, R. (2018.) „A sustainable urban concept for housing estates: plot, patch, part” Periodica Polytechnica Architecture, 2018 (2)
Scientific Conference proceedings Balla, R., Benkő, M., and Durasaiye, I. O. (2017.) ”Mass Housing Estate Location in Relation to its Livability: Budapest case study.” In: Cities, Communities and Homes: Is the Urban Future Livable? Conference, Derby, United Kingdom, pp. 192-203. [Online] Available from: http://architecturemps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/AMPS-Proceedings-10-Cities-Communities-Homes-Is-the-Urban-Futire-Livable-1.pdf [Accessed: 02.10.2017.] Balla, R. (2018.) „Alternative territorial changes of housing estates towards a sustainable conception” In: 5th International Academic Conference on Places and Technologies Conference, Belgrade, Serbia, 793-803 pp.
Scientific Conference Presentations/Abstracts Balla, Regina. „The Impact of Post-War Housing Development on Morphological Changes in Paks.” Presented at Doconf2017 conference, Budapest, October 6-7, 2017 Online] Available from: http://www.urbanisztika.bme.hu/doconf2017/
Content of important publications Balla, R. (2016.) “Housing estates in towns: Bökényalj in Csongrád.” régi-új Magyar Építőművészet, Utóirat, 2016(3), pp. 72-74. Abstract: Located in the Great Hungarian Plain, Csongrád has a population of 16 564 people and covers an area of 174 square kilometres. More than one fourth of its towndwellers live on the housing estate named Bökényalj which was built back in the 1970s. The ambitions of local urban development and rehabilitation could be realized thanks to the regulations of the waterways in the past century. The 1960s saw the start of industrialization in this town. Thanks to the boom of industries here and thinking in terms of the supposedly dynamic development, a 45 per cent growth rate of the population had been calculated by 1980. To suit this, flats of appropriate quality and quantity were needed for the community developing at this projected rate and scale. By 1967, the scale of population growth and the geographical issues of their settlement were outlined realistically. For this purpose an area of 1,572 hectares were allocated to be developed in the quarter named Bökény. The scheme of the housing estate was to include 1,572 flats to house 5,500 dwellers. However, only a total of 557 units were actually built. Today the blocks of flats in Bökény need extensive and intensive reconstructions and updating. Lots standing unused without an owner and the cultivated pieces of land directly linked to them reflect the unfinished nature of the housing estate. As a result, the inhabited zone is unable to operate as an integral urban unit. As it is, the most burning issue today seems to be to create a new image for the housing estate. However, in a town-scale it could be also extended to the context of this development. Direct links of the next-door neighbourhood actually counteract the architectural monotony of the cubes of the housing estate, and as a result, the various parts of the town interacting with each other tend to be less isolated. The housing estate has an exceptional position within this system: on the one hand, it is directly linked to the town centre, whilst on the other hand it is part of a unique natural landscape. [Online] Available from: https://meonline.hu/en/archivum/kisvarosi-lakotelepeink/ Benkő, M., Balla, R. (2016.) ”Fundamentum - A paneles lakóépületek földszintje.” (“Fundamentum-The ground floor of prefabricated block of flats.”) Építés – Építészettudomány, 44(3–4) Abstarct: The research hypothesis is that housing estate renewal demands a complex approach on the urban scale, a design which focuses on the ground floor area and the relation between interior and exterior space. The study analyses the stock of Hungarian tower blocks to create a typology — first, in terms of space limits (closed, translucent, transparent); and second, in terms of openings at the ground-floor level (entrance, window, balcony, gate, display window, technical installation opening, passage). The ground floor is a fundamental space layer, important for inhabitants and visitors alike. Nevertheless, it was neglected both at the time of construction and during the contemporary reconstruction process. Most technical and aesthetic solutions do not affect the ground floor; thus, the typical problems (space usage, poor subjective sense of security, and avoidance of common spaces) still remain. The paper summarizes the inherited architecture at the ground floor level of tower blocks, describes usage problems, and draws attention to the importance of the ground-floor area in the renewal of large prefabricated housing estates. [Online] Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/096.2016.44.3-4.5
Benkő, M., Balla, R., Hory, G. (2018.) ” Participatory Placemaking in the Renewal of Post-Communist Large Prefabricated Housing Estates: Újpalota Case Study.” Journal of Place Management and Development, 11(3) http://dx.doi. org/10.1108/JPMD-06-2017-0050 Abstract: Purpose The purpose of this paper is to introduce a Central-European perspective into the international discussion of the participatory place-making. The research focuses on the renewal of the large prefabricated housing estates, dominant type of urban housing in the area where after the privatisation process resident-owners own only a so-called floating plot under their block. In total, 80 per cent of the land of the whole neighbourhood remains public. The question is how participatory place-making works in this specific urban, social and cultural situation? Design/methodology/approach By introducing the topic from a theoretical point of view, the study is based on research conducted in Budapest’s Újpalota Housing Estate. Fieldwork, project analysis and interviews uncover the complexity of this Hungarian case where appropriation of residents, municipality and European social regeneration projects are simultaneously present with different types of participatory methods. Findings The majority of real changes in Újpalota – as well as in housing estates of post-Communist countries in general – are led by individual or common appropriation that sometimes becomes convincing participation. This informal transformation of the built or natural environment can create a small sense of place everywhere. At the same time, it can work against the architectural and urban character of a neighbourhood or a building, rendering a feeling of disorder. Originality/value The paper based on this Hungarian case shows that the real culture of participatory place-making is still missing in post-Communist context, and despite some good examples, the majority of people are inactive, waiting for changes to be made by leaders. [Online] Available from: https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JPMD-06-2017-0050 Balla, R. (2018.) „A sustainable urban concept for housing estates: plot, patch, part” Periodica Polytechnica Architecture, 2018 (2) Abstarct: While in practice the rehabilitation of prefabricated housing estates has mostly focused on the buildings, a comprehensive concept which is able to revalorize this problematic housing stock has become increasingly relevant. The specific, holistic proposal of the revalorization demands interdisciplinary approach, based on urban planning principles of SUN (sustainable urban neighbourhoods), that can reconceptualize housing units on different scales: as plot, patch and part of a city or town. To find proper methodology this paper attempts to adopt an approved evaluation tool that used in the field of property development. The property development strongly adheres to various certification systems. These apply not only to buildings, but on the urban scale neighbourhoods can also achieve good qualification in systems like LEED Neighbourhood. This study argues that requirements of LEED Neighbourhood can be adequately applied in the case of existing housing estates, as a result of which they could become less isolated and could be more easily integrated into the neighbouring urban network as sustainable parts of cities and towns.
Teaching & Education
urb/bme.hu DEPARTMENT OF URBAN PLANNING AND DESIGN FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE BUDAPEST UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND ECONOMICS 1111 Budapest, Muegyetem rkp. 3. K. II/93 tel.: +361 463 1319 e-mail: email@example.com
Teaching: Februry - June 2018 University lecturer experience: resposible lecturer: Housing in cities – for BA and M.S.Arch. Hungarian students Department of Urban Planning and Design, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary http://www.urbanisztika.bme.hu/lakas-a-varosban/ September 2017 - January 2018 University consultant experiences: Interdisciplinary, Project Based Design – for BA and M.S.Arch. Erasmus students Department of Urban Planning and Design, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2Q8SimLNpv-X3JCLWstRWZURG8/view?usp=sharing February - June 2017 University consultant experiences: UUrban architecture 2 – for BA and M.S.Arch. Hungarian students Department of Urban Planning and Design, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary http://www.urbanisztika.bme.hu/varos-2-kozos-vazlatterv-2017/
Urban Heritage Lab: Researcher in Prefab Mass Housing Group
8Teaching & Education
Participation in projects DANUrB project 2017-2019
http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/danurb Status: communication manager Contact with partners and stakeholders, activity management at local events, exhibitions (funded through the EU’S INTERREG Danube Transnational Programme) About the project: DANUrB - a regional network building through tourism and education to strengthen the “Danube” cultural identity and solidarity. Cultural network aims to strengthen the Danube regional cultural identity and to create a common brand by fostering transnational cultural ties between the settlements along the Danube, and by exploring the unused or hidden cultural and social capital resources for a better economic and cultural return.
Participating in projects9pn
e-mail.: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com tel.: +36308280172 10
Regina Balla PhD candidate Budapest University of Technology and Economics