štěpánská 47

refurbishment and addition to the office building

The corner building is an example of a rather good modernistic piece of architecture from the turn of the 1960s. By its conversion, the client of owner – Council of Prague 1 – had to get a public building accommodating state and local administration. A large room for Council’s meetings was planned on the top storey providing breathtaking views to the roofscape of the historic city. more

The outside of the building will be preserved just restored (side parts of balconies, the dark bottom plinth, and the stepped-back masonry part). With our designed façade, we respond to the old scheme; we complete it re-melting it through these added modern parts into an abstracted form. That means that we transform both the vertical articulation of the curtain wall and the horizontality of the west part of the façade facing V Jámě into a pattern of irregularly installed shading aluminium lamellas. This layer of a rainscreen defines the shape – envelope; the rest happens behind it – windows, sills, terraces. The building will not lose the original tectonics this way and will gain an unambiguous modern new layer at the same time. The shaping of the addition, inserting it among the preserved volumes of vertical circulation spaces, helps make the building visually lighter. Screening the envelope out by a vertical aluminium system contrasting with the dark underlay of glazing and subsill panels makes it less substantial. The new envelope is a counterweight to the fixed façade. The new façade’s vertical shading extends up in front of the Council Hall. The modern look of the façade presents a new type of authority – an image of simplicity, transparency, its communication with clients. The extent to which the top storey is made higher (that is where we position the Council’s meeting room) is closely linked to the internal layout. The benefit this innovatively arranged roofing and layout brings is a space without interior supports, higher clearance, and a central skylight. Also, the rational shape of the two-storied addition above the west part of the building will allow effective using of the interior areas and convenient arrangement of the layout. The top storey allocated for meeting rooms and the larger part of both stories in the west addition offer beautiful views of Prague and Prague Castle. We understand the exterior of the gallery on the top storey (visually and materially composed the same as the interior) as another dimension of the building’s interior. The study preserves the original structure of the circulation areas with a stately staircase and large daylighted lobbies for they perfectly fit the new function of a public Council House. Corridors with departmental offices will be accessed from them. This arrangement contributes to an easy orientation of visitors in the building. We put emphasis on letting daylight deep into the layout. This quality will naturally help develop a public, open, and legible character of the authority. A central place of communicating with the public is the information lobby that will occupy the larger part of the ground floor from Štěpánská. This grand-scale airy open space takes a visitor readily through the ´counter lobby´ to the staircase and lifts. The whole concept of practical utilisation of the building is divided into three sections: the public front lobby on the ground floor, a block of departmental offices on upper stories, and the Council meeting area (including back-of-the-house facilities) and the part with separate smaller meeting rooms on the top storey. Due to the position and height of the building, the new City Hall will symbolically offer a panoramic view over roofs of Prague 1.

  • addressŠtěpánská 47
    Praha 1 - Nové Město
  • year2011
  • investorMěstská část Praha 1
  • design teamPetr Burian, Pavel Uttendorfský
  • collaborationfalse
  • photographs/visualizationsNeovisual
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