Prague’s O2 universum, Kladno tower among the winners of the 2020 Building of the Year contest

Eight buildings were singled out as outstanding examples of new architecture in the Czech Republic

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 16.10.2020 11:24 (updated on 16.10.2020)

 Winners of the 28th annual Building of the Year contest in the Czech Republic have been announced by the Foundation for the Development of Architecture and Civil Engineering.

The eight winners are the O2 universum building in Prague, the Lasvit corporate headquarters in Nový Bor, a social center in Sedlčany, a railway bridge on the Pňovany - Bezdružice line, the extension of the Museum of Glass and Jewelry in Jablonec nad Nisou, the renovation of the former Veolia water tower in Kladno, the house Rezidence Park Masarykova in Liberec and extension of a family house in Kojetín. Lasvit's headquarters also won a public award. The title of Foreign Construction of the Year was awarded to the Early Learning Village in Singapore.

This year’s Building of the Year (Stavba roku 2020) contest saw 84 applications, which was 31 more than last year. The expert jury nominated 24 of them and evaluated the quality of construction, architectural design and user comfort. In the history of the survey, the jury mostly awarded the title Building of the Year to five buildings. There were six of them three times, and eight this year due to the large number of entries.

Exterior of O2 universum / via O2 universum
Exterior of O2 universum / via O2 universum

The public award received a total of 177,519 votes, about 10,000 more than last year. The reconstruction of the Lasvit corporate headquarters in Nový Bor won 26 percent of the vote.

“The O2 universum building in Prague received an award for the connection of the completion of a small arena to the character, materials and color of the adjacent large O2 Arena into an urban-architectural unit with an emphasis on the entrance area of ​the O2 universum congress center. At the same time, the new connecting steel structure above the original reinforced concrete slab deserves attention,” the jury said.

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Lasvit corporate headquarters in Nový Bor / via Stavba roku
Lasvit corporate headquarters in Nový Bor / via Stavba roku

For the Lasvit corporate headquarters in Nový Bor, they appreciated the sensitive connection of two listed houses with two new buildings, which differ in materials and shapes. They consider the new glass house to be particularly successful, which according to the jury reflects the tradition and art of Czech glassmaking. Lasvit makes glass objects and recently worked on the largest glass jewel in the world for a casino in Saipan.

The community center in Sedlčany received the title for the complexity of the solution and the author's creativity. “It is a small area of a prayer house, a residential house with facilities and an adjacent park with a paved area of a small square,” the jury said.

Pňovany–Bezdružice railway bridge / via Stavba roku
Pňovany–Bezdružice railway bridge / via Stavba roku

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It awarded the railway bridge on the Pňovany–Bezdružice line a title for a structurally and aesthetically successful solution using a unique technological procedure for the rotational exchange of original and new bridges. The new bridge was built upside down, under the old one, then both were flipped together 180 degrees, putting the old bridge underneath. The old one was then removed, leaving the new on right side up and ready for use.

According to the jury, the construction comprehensively solves the problem of railway safety and separate operation of cyclists and pedestrians.

Museum of Glass and Jewelry in Jablonec nad Nisou / via Stavba roku
Museum of Glass and Jewelry in Jablonec nad Nisou / via Stavba roku

For the extension of the building of the Museum of Glass and Jewelry in Jablonec nad Nisou, the jury appreciated the bold connection of the extension in the shape of a glass crystal with the Art Nouveau building of the museum. According to the jury, the connection also respects the urban conditions of the location.

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“In the case of the former Kladno waterworks from the 1930s, we award the prize for the successful conversion of an old unnecessary building. The former water tower provided space for a water control room and other control elements of the entire regional water network,” said the jury to the former Veolia water tower in Kladno.

Rezidence Park Masarykova  in Liberec / via Stavba roku
Rezidence Park Masarykova in Liberec / via Stavba roku

Rezidence Park Masarykova in Liberec follows the structure of the isolated development of the area and respects the character and scale of the surrounding development and the almost spa-loke character of the place.

“For the extension of a family house in Kojetín, we award the title for a sensitive approach and interesting solution of completion in a modern concept to the already revitalized barn with the preservation of a sandstone wall from the mid-19th century. It is a very successful and exemplary rendering of historic and modern architecture with new functional use,” the jury said.

Family house in Kojetín / via Stavba roku
Family house in Kojetín / via Stavba roku

This year, for the seventh time, the Foreign Construction of the Year was announced. Projects where a Czech company is a builder, investor or designer can apply for the title. The winner was the Early Learning Village in Singapore, designed by the Czech company.

This year, Pavel Křeček, a long-time chairman of the Czech Chamber of Authorized Engineers and Technicians Active in Construction, received the title of Construction Personality.

The title could be obtained by new and reconstructed buildings, urban realizations of public space, landscaping, ground residential and non-residential buildings, transport and civil engineering works and specific construction works. The condition for applying for the competition was the completion and commissioning or approval by the end of May this year.

Building of the Year 2020 winners:

  • O2 universum in Prague
  • Lasvit corporate headquarters in Nový Bor
  • Sedlčany social center
  • Pňovany–Bezdružice railway bridge,
  • Museum of Glass and Jewelry extension in Jablonec nad Nisou,
  • Veolia water tower renovation in Kladno,
  • Rezidence Park Masarykova in Liberec
  • Family house extension in Kojetín.