Competitions – Case study No. 5 – Town Hall – Atelier Bod Architekti – Czech Republic

Competition Culture in Europe 2013–2016: Prague 7 District New Town Hall, CZ, 2016
Case study No. 5
The question was how to use the existing structure to create a building that is able to maintain its dignity for 50 years or more

The A10 survey into Competition Culture in Europe 2013–2016, commissioned by Architectuur Lokaal, has made it clear that the word ‘competition’ does not mean the same thing in every country in Europe. Sometimes a competition refers to a design contest without any intention of realization, sometimes it refers to a full tender procedure, or anything in between. To gain a better insight in the nature of competitions in Europe, A10 correspondents collected 50 case studies from 17 countries. Combined they show the differences in topics, fees, procedures, scale, transparency, and clients.

A good example of an international design competition in two stages. The competition was conducted by the Centre for Central European Architecture.

Required was a design for the reconstruction and the interior of the building at U Průhonu 1338/38 for the seat of the Municipal Office of Prague 7 District. The question was how to use the existing structure to create a building that is representative, user-friendly, and above all able to age and maintain its dignity for 50 years or more. Its reconstruction had to include a complete rethinking of the building envelope and all the technology, and should lead to a durable building in the highest energy class with reasonable operating costs. The purpose and aim of the competition was to find and reward the most suitable and interesting solution to the subject of the competition (i.e., the most suitable competition design), which fulfils the requirements of the announcer as stated in the present competition conditions and assignment. The competition itself was organized in two stages. In the first stage, participants were asked for a design concept, A2 format poster, and portfolio (in English or Czech); in the second stage, around eight architects (teams) were selected with a secured fee to finalize their proposals in detail. This approach was applied in order to reduce the amount of unpaid work for dozens of participating architects. In the second stage, the first, second, and third prizes were distributed.

Atelier bod architekti (CZ) was invited to the negotiation procedures without public notification.

The application for the construction permit is in progress.

Competition culture in the Czech Republic was surveyed by A10 correspondent Osamu Okamura in Prague. This survey is the start of a four-year research project by Architectuur Lokaal and A10 new European architecture Cooperative. Copy editor: Dutton Hauhart. Images: Atelier bod architekti