‘Happy Station’: Prague’s Hlavní nádraží to undergo major transformation

The project aims to enhance the travel experience while cleaning up the area in front of Prague's main railway station known as 'Sherwood Forest'.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 28.11.2023 11:35:00 (updated on 28.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague's main railway station Hlavní nádraží and its surrounding areas are set to undergo a significant transformation, the City of Prague announced Monday.

The city has selected a leading Danish urban architecture firm for the design of a unique wooden roof structure that will connect Vrchlického Sady (the park opposite the station) and the New Terminal Hall. The project will also install a new tram stop directly in front of the station and the historic Fanta building that faces the highway.

Construction on the Šťastný Hlavák (Happy Station) project is estimated to launch in 2028. It aims to revitalize the area and create a more appealing space for locals and travelers by rejuvenating what the city calls "one of the gateways to the metropolis."

Cleaning up 'Sherwood' and adding tram connections

Plans by winning studio Henning Larsen Architects include the creation of several distinct areas including a cultural zone and a "station square" meant to transform the current park and its surroundings into a more attractive public space, while improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Fountains, taps for drinking water, and outdoor cafes will be incorporated into the new park's design.

The proposal also includes plans for a tram stop directly in front of the entrance hall, as well as a tram connection to the nearby Masaryk railway station (which will eventually link to the Prague airport). The city also plans to implement a new tram line from the National Museum to the nearby Wilsonova and Washingtonova Streets, passing through the check-in hall and continuing along Opletalova Street to Bolzanova Street.

A sustainable station

The proposal has been carefully developed to preserve historical architectural elements while revitalizing the space in front of the iconic Fanta building (that lies opposite the highway), which has recently undergone renovation.

"The unattractive concourse tucked away in the infamous ‘Sherwood’ will disappear from its dark corners and will no longer be just an impersonal transport terminal. It will be transformed into a fully fledged public space. We will also work to integrate the New Terminal Hall more neatly and efficiently into the overall space, including building a new crosswalk directly in front of the historic Fanta Building," said Deputy Mayor for Transport Zdeněk Hřib.

Hřib also cites the ecological aspects of the project "underlined by the fact that one of the largest wooden structures in the Czech Republic will form the basis of the entire transformation of the Main Station."

After the contracts are signed, a study will be completed in accordance with the city's requirements, taking public opinion into account as well. Construction is expected to commence in 2028, with an estimated budget of CZK 2 billion.

Members of the public can view the competition designs in an exhibition at the Center for Architecture and Urban Planning until Dec. 17, 2023.

Around 70,000 people currently arrive in Prague every day via its main station. The city's mayor Bohuslav Svoboda hopes Hlavní nádraží will better represent the city in the years ahead. “The winning visionary design will bring this forgotten gem of Prague architecture back closer to the city and the people. The station will once again become a jewel in the capital's crown,” he remarked. 

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