Stunning glass house wins Czech architecture's top prize, Prague riverside 'cubicles' make finals

A traditional 19th-century North Bohemian wooden house, set next to a sleek glass structure creates a gorgeous effect

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 27.11.2020 15:14 (updated on 27.11.2020)

The fifth annual Czech Architecture Prizes were awarded in a ceremony streamed from Prague’s Divadlo Archa. The main prize went to Jiří Opočenský and Štěpán Valouch from the studio ov architekt for the renovation and completion of the headquarters of glassmaker Lasvit in Nový Bor.

The jury chose from among six buildings that made the final round, selected from an original total of 27 nominees presented in June. The contest is organized by the Czech Chamber of Architects (ČKA).

The seven-member international jury was headed by French architect Henri Bava. They met in early September to view and discuss the nominated buildings in detail. The jury welcomed the breadth and scope of the submissions, which ranged from large buildings to a parking lot.

“Great care, creativity, imagination and sensitivity to wider relationships were evident in many projects,” the jury stated jointly

“Our surroundings have a huge impact on our lives and how we live them. Good architecture can mean a lot. Thoughtful designs that are carefully implemented to create places encouraging social contacts and allowing for decent conditions through a suitably chosen scale are the basis of good architecture, at any time and place,” the jury added.

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Fir the Lasvit headquarters, the architects from ov architekti designed a sensitive renovation of a group of traditional 19th century North Bohemian wooden buildings, supplemented by two new buildings of similar building volume.

"The awarded work is a combination of the original and the proposed, the old and the new, the traditional with the completely contemporary. It was the bravura approach to the given problem and the ease with which the final output operates in such a complex architectural environment that led the jury to the final verdict and the award of the main prize,” the jury stated

The winning realization is an “original, sovereign and complex work,” they said, adding that the complex signals a bold attempt at a non-standard, non-conforming approach to solutions.

In addition to the winner, five other works from across the Czech Republic received the honorary Finalist Award. Two of them are from Atelier 111 architekti: a family house in Jinonice and a workshop in Opatov. Both were appreciated for their simplicity.

The revitalization of Prague’s Náplavka by Petr Janda and brainwork was praised for its high quality installations and simple modifications to the walls of the waterfront. Chybik + Kristof Architects & Urban Designers were recognized for their attention to detail in converting a brewery in Znojmo. Vyšehrad atelier’s renovation of a nursery school in Pacov made it a pleasant environment for children.

Six Partner Awards were also given out. The Ministry for Regional Development Award for promoting quality construction through architectural competitions went to Ehl & Koumar Architekti for a fire station and technical service center in Líbeznice.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade Award for a generous approach to new industrial construction was gained by ellement architects for the Pilana Karbid production and administrative center in Hulín.

The view tower at Velká Deštná, designed by architekti.in, earned the Czech Agency for Nature and Landscape Protection Award for inspiring solutions in the natural environment.

Chybik + Kristof Architects & Urban Designers took the Central Group Award for an innovative approach to new housing for their Vila Park Olomouc.

Progres Atelier’s Jára Cimrman Elementary School in Prague’s Lysolaje district won the Velux Award for working with daylight.

The Vekra Award for affordable housing with a timeless perspective went to Pro-Story for the Na Sylvánu housing project in Plzeň.

The Academy of the Czech Architecture also gave an Outstanding Achievement award to Czech Television for its Noisy Cities and Noisy Footprints programs.