Two years ago, architect Petr Janda has transformed a series of vaults on the banks of the Vltava River in Prague into versatile public spaces as part of a project aimed at revitalizing the embankment.
The project’s completed first phase represents Prague’s largest investment in public spaces since the end of communist rule in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1989.
The project was shortlisted in a high-ranking competition announced by the European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation.
The competition runs every two years, and this is the first time Czech construction has made it to the final.
“We are extremely happy. Our transformation of the cubicles has advanced among the 40 best refurbishments in Europe. We thank the jury of the competition for recognizing our efforts, we appreciate the award very much. Let’s celebrate!” said Petr Janda.
“The interventions symbiotically merge with the original architecture of the riverside wall, into which they naturally fuse,” the architect pointed out. “By using the acupuncture strategy, they re-create a monumental whole,” he adds.
The American company Reynolds helped in the custom-made transformation. The glass used is rare and specially imported from Thailand, to make the hand-crafted lenses in the towers.
This competition had 532 entries, from a total of 41 countries that “highlight the opportunities and the trends of today’s architecture in the European territory”, focusing on Social Inclusion, Sustainability and Circularity, and Aesthetic Research.
Among the 40 projects, collective housing was the most represented program with 9 works, followed by 7 cultural functions, 6 mixed-use, 6 educational facilities, 4 urban planning works, 2 sports and recreation constructions, 1 commercial, 1 hospitality, 1 industrial, 1 landscape, 1 office, and 1 social welfare.
No other Czech building or construction has ever reached the finals before- making this a groundbreaking achievement for Czechia.