ERA21 #04/2020 Architectural Transformations

kniha editorial

Do You Want Me?

Ondřej Teplý

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kniha completed project

Long Live the Riverfront. Revitalisation of Prague’s Riverfront »

Petr Janda / petrjanda/brainwork

Prague citizens now regard their riverfronts as something approaching a miracle: a car park ten years ago, today a cultural and social scene unparalleled around the city, maybe even the country. For a while the surprising metamorphosis of Vltava riverfronts went unnoticed, keeping to the ephemeral plain of the program. This spring it ventured to the plain of the physical, with the refurbishment of twenty vaults (originally ice storage areas) in the riverfront wall. The new hybrid spaces, halfway between interior and exterior, operate under the convenient status of “public space meander” and they will serve as bars, cafés, galleries, or a public library.

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Room of Silence »

Christoph Hesse

The Room of Silence, an adaptation of a former goat stable, was transformed, together with the local population, into a meeting place that metaphorically portrays the current generation of green electricity in the city of Korbach. The previous leaky roof was not replaced. Instead, a concrete ring anchor was put on top and the interior was opened to the sky. Collectively, flowers, herbs, bushes and trees were planted, which bloom at different seasons throughout the year. In the middle of the green house, a hammock was attached to ropes, which should have been held in balance by four stones. The equilibrium symbolizes the production of green energy from wind turbines, hydropower, biogas and photovoltaic plants in Korbach: 80 % of Korbach‘s electricity is currently generated by these sources. The average in Germany is only about 45 %. The pavilion should show that it must become 100 % to live in balance with the environment.

kniha practice

If You Love Them, You Have to Deal with Them »

Miroslav Pavel

The phrase “industrial architecture” contains two seemingly contradictory notions. One purely technical, framed by monofunctional purposefulness and efficiency; the other artistic, based on art principles and idealized history. They find synergy in architectural transformations that have reverberated through Czech society since the 1990s. Dozens of projects have been started since that time, their success measured mostly by their continued existence (or the lack thereof), or the level of artistic and architectural creativity harnessed in their preservation. But the main thing, that which is often left out, are the individual protagonists in the transformations of industrial architecture.

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completed project

Party in a Mill. Multipurpose Center Mlynica in Bratislava »

Štefan Polakovič, Lukáš Kordík, Jana Benková, Tomáš Vrtek / GutGut

In 2018, an abandoned grinding plant near Bratislava city center was adapted for reuse as an event space combined with offices and flats. The building is a part of the Light Building Materials brownfield, where porous concrete blocks and slabs were produced until the 1990s. Only recently the brownfield started to recover and integrate into the urban fabric. And the grinding plant transformation is at the helm of this project. Following a design concept based on contrasting the new with the old, new functions discreetly inhabit the existing structure which is bared to expose its plain technical aesthetic.

completed project

Office in an Enamel Plant. Multipurpose Rental Space Smaltovna in Lučenec »

Štefan Polakovič, Lukáš Kordík, Samuel Kadák, Barbara Rek, Ľuboš Dobóczi, Filip Hečko / GutGut

This year’s transformation of the Rakottyay Enamel Plant in Lučenec is just the beginning of a far bigger project, as is often the case with adaptations of industrial brownfields. The former manufacturing plant consists of two brick buildings standing on each side of a reinforced concrete storage hall, and a two-story extension facing the Martina Rásuza street. The project started with removing the fence and opening up a yard in front of the main building, creating a new little public square. The ground floor now houses a coworking center and a restaurant, the first floor open space offices. A new attic floor with access to a roof terrace was fitted to the historical building. The storage building remains unchanged for now, but new apartments are planned for the second brick building.

completed project

Bikes Instead of Barbells. Factory Transformed Into Ski and Bike Center in Radotín »

Petr Šindelář / VLLNNA; Martin Duba / Martin Duba studio

Originally a gymnastics equipment manufacturer and metal foundry, the old Vindyš Factory in Radotín has been transformed into a ski and bike shop offering various related services. Unlike other industrial monuments with exposed brick walls, the Vindyš Factory was a simple structure lacking decorative detail, defined chiefly by its distinct saw-tooth roof. A successful transformation would therefore have to uncover the hidden tectonics of the building, long since hidden by random extensions. The favorable location, adjacent to Prague’s A1 and A11 cycle routes and close to the Radotín railway station, combined with the size of the premises exceeding 8 000 sqm, proved ideal conditions to bring together an interesting mix of uses ranging from a sporting goods rental and repair shop to a restaurant and changing facilities for cyclists.

completed project

Water Tower Lookout. Restoration of a Water Tower and Observatory in Prague »

Petr Hájek, Tereza Keilová, Cornelia Klien, Benedikt Markel, Martin Stoss / Petr Hájek Architekti

The Prague-Letná waterworks was originally built in the second half of the 19th century, but since then it underwent several transformations. The water tower was the only part preserved in its original shape and form. Other technical structures, including the steam engine room, were lost and replaced with two-storey extensions. In the last few decades the complex was used by a local youth center, which will return here after the restoration. The water tower was once a landmark and a viewpoint, overlooking the city. As years went by, the surrounding land was gradually built up and the tower lost its sight. It went blind. But now it can see again thanks to a periscope placed in the steam engine funnel. Using high-performance lenses and an electric guiding system, it is now possible to observe the city panorama on the horizon as well as the sky above.

completed project

Studying in a Coal House. Former Coal House Reused by University in Prague »

Jiří Opočenský, Štěpán Valouch / ov-a

The old coal house in one of the courtyards of the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, designed by Antonín Engel in the 1930s, was originally built to store coal for the adjacent boiler house. It served its purpose until 1985. It consisted of two silos with slanting floors and an upper supply and a lower collecting corridor. The central tower over the corridor originally supported a water tank for the boiler house. The cross‑section view with the two slanting planes inspired the idea to use one of them for an auditorium. Most of the concrete structure, beautiful in its original practicality, was preserved during the refurbishment. The goal was to create one continuous space suitable for lectures, meetings, and informal study sessions. One of the silos was removed and the other fitted with timber steps of the auditorium. New stairs connect both levels.

kniha interview

The Journey to Restoration Has to Be Short. Josef Smutný Interviewed by Filip Landa »

In a village of Rudník at the foothills of the Krkonoše mountains a historical former brewery is coming back to life thanks to rather ambitious plans of architect Josef Smutný. His studio ilex design is the client, designer, and the property manager all at the same time. He is following the examples of other architects who decided to invest their money and energy into preserving industrial heritage, such as Pavel and Jana Prouza with Lobeč Brewery, or Patrik and Andrea Hoffman with a former screw factory in Libčice nad Vltavou. In our interview with Josef Smutný we not only asked about his motivations and future ideas, but also about negative experience with heritage institutions and related funding options for the continued restoration of the dilapidated brewery.

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Can We Revive Late Modern Buildings? »

Martin Švec

Repre Cultural Center in Most and Hotel Thermal in Karlovy Vary might just be the two most closely watched cases of restoring architecture from the period of late modernism, i.e. built in the 1950s or until, lets say, the 1990s. Though thirty years after the revolution, both buildings still carry a certain stigma for being erected during the Soviet totalitarian era.

completed project

Shop in a Pub and Coffee in a Garage. Grocery Store Renovation and Extension, Garage Transformed Into a Café »

Kamil Mrva / Kamil Mrva Architects

Two recent projects significantly helped the cultivation of public space in the village of Trojanovice in the Beskydy Mountains: refurbishment and extension of a grocery store and garages transformation into a café. Both projects are situated in the center of the municipality, near other public buildings such as the school or the municipal office. The two-storey building of the grocery store was renovated, with rental offices added in the top floor.

completed project

Accommodation in a Granary. Granary Adapted for Hotel Lotrinsky in Velké Pavlovice »

Zdeněk Eichler, Eva Eichlerová / EA architekti

The grand late 18th century Baroque granary, situated in the historical center of Velké Pavlovice, once stored vast amounts of grain as insurance against crop failure. But later on it became increasingly difficult to find new use for a building of this size. Dilapidation of the important technical monument accelerated after a fire hit at the end of last century. The contemporary adaptation for a hotel with restaurant and conference rooms fits well with the building size and location, but places new technological demands on it. To preserve the unique historical character and to minimize interventions to the original structure, a separate technical facility was built, sunk below ground. Its sloped roof doubles as an apricot orchard. A water fountain and two lines of plane-trees and catalpas now front the building. The ground floor is freed up and opened as much as possible to show the interior vaults. The upper floors contain 42 rooms of various categories.

completed project

Wine in a Brewery. Brewery Technical Hall Transformed Into a Wine Bar in Znojmo »

Ondřej Chybík, Michal Krištof, Ondřej Mundl, Luděk Šimoník, Martin Holý, Roman Koplík, Michal Klimeš / Chybík+Krištof

The new wine bar and tasting room are situated inside a remodelled 19th century brewery and the adjacent technical hall, added in the 1970s. While most of the Znojmo brewery was renovated in a conservative manner, only the exterior walls of the technical hall were preserved with the intention to start a whole new concept here. A free-flowing dark timber structure of the wine bar was inserted into an austere white washed interior. The playful composition of organic shapes and volumes on different levels organizes the space in smaller, interconnected rooms, mimicking the scale and ambiance of traditional wine cellars. A set of asymmetrically arranged windows offers views of a nearby cathedral and the city of Znojmo.

completed project

Sports in a Factory. Factory Building Transformed Into Streetmekka Cultural and Sports Center in Viborg »


A wide variety of street sports and contemporary art workshops have found their home in and around a newly transformed factory building. Starting with the idea of opening up the uninteresting factory “box” and pulling in daylight, the architectural concept sought to create a kind of covered streetscape that would spill outside and continue around the building freely. The old prefabricated concrete wall panels were removed and the load bearing columns stripped bare. A translucent polycarbonate facade wraps the new volume; glass facades with entrances form the two shorter sides.

completed project

Pool in a Mall. Shopping Mall Transformed Into Public Space and Lagoon in Tainan »


Bleached ruins of a former shopping mall form a rather unusual backdrop for a new urban public space and pool in Tainan, Taiwan. In the 1960s, an old harbour, located here, on the junction of an important urban axis and the Tainan Canal, was replaced by a shopping mall. But the popularity of the project didn’t last long and the city finally decided the empty and useless mall should be demolished. Parts of the structure were used to build the new urban lagoon and the fragments of the concrete frame jut out towards the sky to remind us of the past life of the place.

completed project

Contemplation in a Log House. Refurbishment of Schedlberg Farmhouse near Arnbruck »

Peter Haimerl . Architektur

The traditional farmhouses of the Bavarian forest, with their strong character, are embedded in the harsh landscape. As symbols from an older, less wealthy era, that people wanted to forget about, most of them were demolished. A small number survived in open-air museums. The Schedlberg log house with its granite basement was abandoned by farmers in 1963. The building fell into despair, until it became a ruin on the verge of collapse. The living area alone remained largely untouched, on the other end there’s only the outside wall still erect, holding the ridge purlin. There is a narrative that needs to be continued. The refurbishment doesn’t hide anything from the building's history. The original structure is continued with new materials and contrasts, without refurbishing the spirit of decay away. The owner, who lives on the neighboring farm, didn’t want to sell the ruin. The high expenditure and low possibility for profit made it worthless to many. So Schedlberg became a contemplative architecture inviting guests in for seminars, retreats, or just to spend some time away.


Getting Together in the Courtyard »


The idea to transform a neglected tenement house courtyard in Botičská street, Prague, came from Galina Šustová and Zuzana Viskupičová, two members of the housing co‑operative. They decided to join forces with the Bieno association. A detailed analysis of the site’s strengths and problems, and of the individual residents' opinions about its future form, preceded the design phase of the project. 22 tons of concrete were removed and replaced with an unpaved surface and accompanying drainage. A tree was planted and various ornamental as well as edible plants were brought to the courtyard, together with a composter and a rainwater tank to help with watering the greenery. The courtyard also has seating and a raised garden bed made from old bricks.



Factors Impacting Window and Door Life Expectancy

Ladislav Platil

ERA21 vydává ERA Média, s. r. o.
Chleborádova 69/22, 619 00 Brno

Phone: +420 530 500 801
Projekt se v roce 2024 uskutečňuje za finanční podpory: Ministerstva kultury ČR, Nadace české architektury, Statutárního města Brna a Státního fondu kultury ČR.
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