This article is part of our weekly series “Plattenbaul stories”, introducing the topic of plattenbau districts in Europe and the world. ONE ARCHITECTURE WEEK 2016 will be held in Trakiya, a plattenbau districts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from September 30th until October 9th. The main focus of the festival is the topic of “citizen participation in the creation of the urban environment”.
Is it possible for these prefab giants to have a new role in today’s city, different than their usual one? Leap’s DIY Adventure project shows that any structure and building can become a playground, as long as we have the courage to transform it.
Created as part of the socialistic ideology of togetherness and equality, these structures need to find their place in a reality, no longer fit for them. DIY Adventure: Chapter II Soviet blocks demonstrates how they can literally and figuratively serve as a trampoline to catch the wind of change.
Actually Dan Osman is the considered creator of this extreme sport, called “rope jump” or “rope swing”. He began with jumps from cliffs and mountain tops, his last jump executed in Yosemite National Park (USA) in the year 1998.
Today this extreme sport has become very popular with the former Eastern Bloc youth, the only difference being that they do their daredevil stunts in urban areas. Namely Russians made this sport popular again via viral videos of young people, jumping or being thrown off rooftops of plattenbau buildings. This led to the establishment of extreme sport clubs, mostly in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Krasnoyarsk and other cities in Siberia. In an interview Timofei Zuev, one of the most active rope-jumpers from Nizhny Novgorod, explains that this sport requires serious preparations and the jumper needs to be secured with three correctly placed and fastened ropes.
Although rope jumping is not forbidden by law, the authorities frown upon it and the adrenaline junkies that practice it.
ONE ARCHITECTURE WEEK 2016 does not advise you to jump off rooftops, but we hope you might dive with us into the plattenbau reality.