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Prague’s riverfront came to new life

It could seem as if petrjanda/brainwork studio hardly changed anything during the renovation of the Prague section of the Vltava riverfront. In reality, however, it is a well-thought-out, complex, and, at the same time, quite minimalist project.

A 4-kilometer section of the Vltava riverfront was renovated in downtown Prague. In the course of the large-scale project spanning over 10 years, the embankment, which functioned as a parking area between 2002 and 2009 following a flood, was transformed both inside and out. The design project was assigned to Prague-based studio petrjanda/brainwork, who looked at the riverside as the backbone of the city – if made more flexible, the whole city will enjoy its benefits.

Photos: BOYSPLAYNICE

First, they opened the 20 vaults in the riverside wall towards the river. As the emphasis is on the word opening, they replaced the iron in the existing circle-shaped openings to glass. The impressive, 7.5 cm thick glass windows weighing 2.5 tons open vertically, via electric controls. The spaces behind them give home to cafés, clubs, galleries, a library, public restrooms and community spaces, where the community meetings of the district could also be held. 

In the course of designing the interiors, the architects’ aim was to leave as many room up to the fantasy of tenants and service providers moving in as possible. To that end, these spaces are dominated by simplicity: the walls and the ceiling are made of exposed concrete, the floors are molded concrete, and all this is complemented by impregnated black steel details.

The next phase of the project also promises to be exciting, as the custom-designed street furniture (benches, bins, drinking fountains) will be made during the same, and the architects also plan to involve the river more in the life of the city. To that end, we can expect several floating units: they would relieve the riverside with a floating ship station, and they plan to recall the tradition of bathing in the Vltava with a floating pool.

Photos: BOYSPLAYNICE

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