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A Sleek Renovation Turns Government Housing into Stylish Apartments

An innovative design firm is making it possible.

The phrases "government housing" and "stylish design" don't get mentioned in the same breath very often, and that goes double for the massive, prefabricated housing blocks of Eastern Europe. In Slovakia, the buildings, known as panelaks, are called "houses for rabbits" for the way they cram people together (one village of these monotonous towers in the capital of Bratislava houses 130,000 people). The architecture firm GutGut felt there was still some life within these structures, and figured out a cost-effective renovation that gave formerly bland, carbon-copy units some individuality and style. It's a model that can be applied to uninspired, institutional buildings anywhere.

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The building's facade before the renovation.

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Photos by Jakub Skokan and Martin Tůma.


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