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sněžka apartment house

conversion of the shopping centre to an apartment house and services

The objective of the two-round competition for invited architects organised by the investor was to design conversion of the existing shopping centre from the 1970s and add apartments to it. Our design draws from the current distinctive longitudinal and rather robust mass of the shopping centre as a characteristic landmark of the place. A new analogical form was thus added to the linear main building. We increased the depth of the mass establishing an awning above the shopping promenade on the streetscape level as a peculiar urban space more

We consider the distinctly horizontal and relatively low mass of the existing shopping centre as positive. That is why we are ever since the beginning of our work on the project that this quality should be preserved in the new volumetric design. We propose adding two more stories above the shopping centre on the south side and three on the north side. We deal with the layout – which is too deep for living – by making it even deeper. Though ironically, this arrangement will allow grouping the addition in two parallel rows of flats oriented to the south clustered around a grand-scale internal atrium – a common terrace. The addition is optically clad by a unifying envelope of timber boards. We can say that since the character of the mass will remain unchanged after the conversion and because we do not intend to increase the number of stories in the new building, the effect of the original volume will not change from the perspective of a passer-by. The open atrium is the centre of the layout of the top residential floors. The addition is allocated for smaller units that can be efficiently serviced by a horizontal corridor. Despite its length, this corridor can be a pleasing environment because it is perfectly daylighted. Logically, for we do not increase the current volume too much, the remaining necessary capacity must be located somewhere. That is why a separate extension is added. It is proposed on the west side of the site instead of the current dead-end service road. Contrary to the added volume, we design a high, slender volume here contrasting with the long ´log´. It is shaped as a simple quadratic form transformed by breaking and cutting to establish a logical entry into the compound and so that the new building would block as little sunlight to the addition built on the original centre as possible. A formation with a ´ridged roof´ is established this way – traditionally, the ridge is parallel to the contour line: a building – monolith that does not distinguish between a wall and a roof – simply a ´rock´. The addition is intentionally higher than the ´log´; the buildings are in a sort of juxtaposition. The original morphology of the slope is ´restored´ by covering the actual cut (supply yard) by a green roof from the north. For the addition, we work with a transposed metaphor of a compact mass – a log that sort of ´landed´ on the pedestal formed by the original renovated ground-floor building. That is also why we selected wood as an adequate natural element for the outer cladding material. Using timber logs (ca 10 cm in diameter) allows working with variable density of this covering grating (it almost disappears above the common terrace, for example); yet the unifying function of this layer is vital as soon as you realise that the roof is the fifth facade in our case. This way conceived element establishes a soffit, a balustrade, or a pergola or a shading jalousie here and there, depending on the position along the envelope. This approach strictly distinguishes between the principle of a rougher light surface skin and the contrast internal mass (apartments) which is smooth and dark on the surface of the cut. The crucial element of materialising is some complementarity of the concept of the new building and the extension. While the extension has wood on the surface and the dark surface inside, the new building has it the other way around. It is covered by a unified dark material forming the surface of the wall and the roof (e.g. Eternit (fibre-cement) shingles, fine sheet metal, and similar), white the cuts in this mass in the form of recessed loggias are clad in wood.

  • addressObchodní centrum Sněžka
    Pec pod Sněžkou
  • year2012
  • investorKubík a.s.
  • design teamPetr Burian, Jana Buzková, Dalibor Dzurilla, Ondrej Pleidel, Jan Veisser
  • collaborationfalse
  • photographs/visualizationsDalibor Dzurilla
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