March 15, 2006

Panel houses

Panel houses (prefabs) are a very common type of living in the Czech Republic. They are made of big concrete panels, they have about ten storeys and usually many entries - one prefab contains in fact more prefabs, each with its own address and entry.

Prefabs were built at the communist times, because there was (and today still is) a big lack of flats and houses. Many prefabs were built in one place and so big housing estates in the suburbs were created. But prefabs are not very comfortable type of living:
  • They have very small kitchens and bathrooms.
  • There are just few windows in the prefab flat, because the prefabs are very big and contain a lot of flats.
  • In the winter, it is very hot there, because people in all the flats heat very much and the prefab behaves like a big oven. Similar situation dawns in the summer, when the sun heats the prefabs.
  • The panels don't keep sound very good, so you often hear, what your neighbour talks about.
  • The surrounding of the prefabs is usually terrible - there are few parks, few green areas, everything looks old and dirty, there are very few cultural opportunities (even in Prague, for the culture you usually have to go the centre of the city). You just see big concrete monsters everywhere.
A big problem of the prefab housing estates is, that people in fact don't live there - in the morning they go to work to the centre, then they shop there, go to a cinema and come back to the housing estate in the evening. They just sleep in the prefab, nothing more.

What to do with the prefabs? I don't know, because in the Czech Republic they are the only chance for many people - they can't afford any other (better) type of living. And so, the prefabs will stay with us until the level of living improves and until the developers build better and more affordable houses.


Anonymous nitro said...

You could have published some photos of these concrete monsters...

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prefabs provides one big advantage we shouldn´t forget, they´re saving space.

(sorry about my poor english)

7:30 AM  

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