The urban regeneration project starts from the history of a very central site and the artistic character of Prague. It intervenes in the heart of Prague: at the intersection of Karoliny Světlé street and Konviktská street, it is not far from the Vltava river and the Charles bridge, the central train station and the Old Town Square, the most important museums and the National Theatre. The project refurbishes precious and stratified old residential buildings and creates new architecture around a rehabilitated court that opens to the public new functions.
It confronts a small but important national monument, the kostel svatého Kříže Menšího, fixing in its solid round stone walls the ideal starting point of the renovation process. Taking inspiration from the concept of this peculiar part of Prague, the project: creates a new design court with showrooms, galleries, and a bistro, re-organizes the existing buildings maintaining their function, and envisions two new contemporary volumes in dialogue with historic parts.
The proposed transformation creates a new urban oasis represented by an exceptional mix of art and history, a public pedestrian court with a new garden, high-end retail space for selected activities, and new and unique spaces for living.
Inside the complex, an open courtyard is accessible by the existing passage on Karoliny Světlé street. A hexagonal pattern underlined by different materials, from stone to white marble, with patches of greenery in between, creates a hexagonal grid that seems to tailor the space.
The retail space is organized inside the new and revitalized old premises and occupies the ground floor, facing the new-opened internal court and streets outside. The proposal envisions a place for a design: high-end showrooms and temporary exhibitions in the court that could be placed side by side with design boutiques, art galleries, and creative micro businesses.
Two new volumes for retail and residences will be erected with the double aim: closing the perimeter of the court and increasing the surface for living and retail. The scale of the buildings around them determines the proportions of the new volumes. The higher one, on the north side of the court, is three levels above ground with a recessed attic designed to allow the buildings at its back to receive the necessary daylight. While the smaller one, on the opposite side of the courtyard, is one level above ground.
They speak the same language, modern and aware of the delicate site: while giving new open space to the apartments of the building by a three-level balcony, it creates a special character to the internal façades. At the same time, these new ‘loggias’ recover the two-dimensional pattern of the courtyard.
The creation of enhanced value for historical buildings necessarily passes through the re-organization of their existing internal space in a dialogue with the new volumes. By maximizing and developing the potential of the location and existing context, the project opens a unique opportunity to create a new landmark destination in the heart of Prague.