ERA21 #03/2021 Small Czech Architecture

kniha editorial

No Small Parts

Filip Landa

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kniha completed project

The Colorful World of Children. Preschool in Dolní Břežany »

Vladimíra Holubová, Lukáš Holub, Lubor Sladký / S.H.S architekti

Since around 2009, when the joint efforts of mayor Věslav Michalik and municipal architect Anna Šlapetová started to bear fruit, Dolní Břežany has been considered a trendsetter in commissioning contemporary architecture. In 2020, the list of remarkable local projects expanded once again with the completion of the town’s new preschool. On its own, the need for having two preschool buildings of three classrooms each to satisfy the demand of the younger-than-average population, speaks volumes. The new building allowed the current tenants of the school, in their less than suitable temporary facility, to relocate after 11 years. The main corridor and all the service and storage rooms face the access road, while the three classroom sections jut out southeast, into the garden, with rising roofs and a glass wall with a covered deck at the end. A yellow, orange, and red color scheme, used both on the outside and on the inside, sets the three sections apart.

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Hung-up on Hunting Blinds »

Jan Holkup

Virtually everywhere you go, the Czech countryside is dotted with hunting blinds. There are so many, they’ve become commonplace. But among the regular wooden ones you occasionally stumble upon a true masterpiece, betraying the builder’s original and innovative approach. Those are definitely worth a little extra attention. The photo series Hunt for Hunting Blinds takes us to a motley world of shapes, colors, surprising building material and structural choices and completely new inventions. Hunters are presented as keen builders and designers full of ingenuity, aesthetic feeling, and nerve. The series is an authentic record of a dwindling world, yet unbound by building and safety regulation.


Second Homes in the Flow of Time. An Insight (Not Only) Into Cabin and Cottage Phenomenon in Czechia »

Dana Fialová

Second home recreation in its traditional form (cabins and cottages) as well as in the relatively recent forms (holiday apartment homes, holiday villages) is an important phenomenon in Czechia, influencing the tourism and leisure sector, but also architecture, urbanism and the settlement system. The current situation, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, reinforced the importance and impact of this phenomenon even more.

completed project

A Fisherman’s Quad Hut. Cabin Beside a Pond Near Vynklatice »

Jiří Weinzettl / Atelier 111 architekti

In the picturesque landscape of the Bohemian-
-Moravian Highlands, a small cabin inspired by the traditional style of a fisherman's hut is set on the bank of a fishing pond. The size of the cabin, as well as its layout, were limited by regulation. Three of its four volumes are connected together, the last one is separate, with a covered deck for drying fishing nets, and is used for storage, or just silently taking in the beautiful surroundings. An international jury shortlisted the cabin for the Czech Architecture Award 2019.

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Isolation. Cabin near Sirákov, Liptál »

Hana Maršíková, Jitka Ressová / ellement architects

Deep in the forests of Hostýn hills, a self-sufficient cabin was built near the site of the derelict Povalčice farm. The small wooden structure sits next to a restored access road, hidden in an orchard behind the farmhouse. The steep slope of the site generated a three-level division of the interior: the living space and deck are on the lowest level, the entry and bathroom are on the middle level, and the sleeping area is on the topmost level. In addition, a small cellar was dug in the side of the hill and is accessed through a trapdoor inside the entrance. The off-grid cabin uses an existing well for drinking water, roof-mounted solar PV panels for water heating and electricity, and a septic tank for wastewater collection.

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Gardener’s Gesamtkunstwerk. The Yellow Hut in Prague-Libeň »

Martin Kloda, Hana Procházková, Petr Tůma / ARCHWERK

The little cabin in the Prague Libeň allotment gardens was built in cooperation by architects and their clients, artists Michaela and Jiří Černický. The architects supplied the placement, shape, layout and engineering solution. The building is based on a two-by-four structural system. The clients then made the windows, doors and interiors from found, readymade objects, giving the cabin a unique artistic atmosphere. The structure becomes a contemporary interpretation of the gesamtkunstwerk phenomenon—connecting architecture and art, which it couldn’t exist without.

completed project

A Treetop Hideaway. Tree House near Hrusice »

Jan Tyrpekl

This treetop shelter is the latest of a number of other experimental structures built by the architect. The project’s chief goal was to offer users a strong, authentic experience of direct contact with the surrounding landscape and, in this way, to encourage them to take a deeper interest in the environment in which they live. Self-built and self-financed by the team, the structure is located on private property, a sheep pasture just outside of Prague. It consists of two independently anchored, wooden platforms. The project was based only on a simple sketch and the layout of the trees, so the final appearance was largely determined during the building process itself.

kniha reportage

Nation Unto Itself. Small Architecture With a Big Story »

Michaela Hečková

Small interventions, big results. Tiny architecture does not mean tiny effort. On the contrary, it often hides heart‑breaking stories, years of relentless activity by local initiatives, or incremental catharses. A bus stop shelter can be a window to a village’s soul, a footbridge can improve access to a water fountain on a spa’s walking trail. A tiny belfry can protect a whole mountain range from destruction by coal mining. A lookout can be just six meters tall. A family shrine can pay homage to a builder’s grandfather and also offer a tranquil resting place for cyclists and walkers coming from afar.

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Flagpole, Biscuit, and Others… Lookout in Libčice nad Vltavou, Infopoint in Krkonoše, and Other Forthcoming Design-Build Projects »

Studenti ateliérů Hlaváček–Čeněk a Seho–Světlík na FA ČVUT v Praze / Ústav navrhování II

During summer 2019, students from Prague Faculty of Architecture built a wooden lookout tower with a flagpole in Libčice nad Vltavou, and an infopoint kiosk near the Vrbata Mountain Lodge in the Krkonoše Mountains. The Flagpole was meant to bring new activity to a formerly neglected area, to become an immediate point of interest in the future Skanska residential development, Park Cihelka. The temporary mobile infopoint named Biscuit was commissioned by the Krkonoše National Park Administration, hoping to bridge a period until their permanent information center is finished. Both projects are the result of an alternative approach to studio teaching at FA CTU, where students personally design and then build their small-scale project.

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Through and Through. Durch Observation Shelter near Poteč »

Zdeněk Fránek / Fránek Architects

 A wooden observation shelter was erected on a hilltop above the village of Valašské Příkazy in the White Carpathians. Thick timber beams bolted together form the floor, roof, and two sides of the shelter, and frame beautiful views of the valley. The local Jánošík company, which makes wooden windows and doors, and has its manufacturing facility located right at the foot of the hill, was the main initiator and the only contractor. Deciding to give up all their billboards, they built the shelter with the money they saved, and called it a “tribute to an undisturbed view.” Probably still a marketing strategy, but quite an unusual one.

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Reflection. Spike Lookout on Malý Špičák, Tanvald »

Mjölk architekti

Last fall, the summit rock formation of Malý Špičák above Tanvald was fitted with a new futuristic lookout. Formerly a starting point of the Tanvald bobsleigh track, the history of the place inspired the shape of the lookout deck. On its bulging belly, the polished steel cladding reflects the wild natural surroundings. The trees and rocks in the steel mirror are distorted and ever changing, meaning the experience of the structure will be different for each visitor.

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No Need for Stairs. The Walk Above the Vineyards on Kobylí Hill »

Jiří Vojtěšek, Jakub Roleček / Keeo4design

In the heart of South Moravian wine country, near the town of Velké Pavlovice, a low spiraling ramp offers an elevated view from a hill 334 m high. Importantly, the angle of the ramp arc measures exactly 334°. The whole structure reaches a height of only 7.5 m and remains inconspicuous in the picturesque landscape. There is no need to climb any stairs, making the viewpoint easily accessible to everyone.

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Sky Reflection. Gibson Sauna in Beroun »

Štěpán Řehoř / H3T architekti

The private sauna in Beroun has the shape of a simple block, but with the top cut away at a 25° angle, then roofed with a single glass plane and covered with timber cladding. The angle of the glass roof makes it possible to watch reflections of the sky from the main house. It is also possible to see the house from inside the sauna. The structure is made of wood with vertical larch cladding. The double-sided door is made of an outer glass and inner wooden leaf.

completed project

A Bridge and a Guardian. Dřetovice Stream Footbridge in Vrapice »

Ondřej Císler / Aoc architekti, Petr Tej

A simple concrete footbridge crosses the Dřetovice stream near the village of Vrapice, Central Bohemia, while a baroque-styled concrete statue, called The Guardian, watches over silently. After leaving Kladno and its straightened concrete channels, the watercourse is finally allowed to meander through its floodplain meadow, separating the old village core from the newer small-scale residential development. Frequent floods formed this relatively untamed natural setting. The new pitch-black footbridge on the graveyard path evokes a magical portal, connecting the land of the living with the land of the dead. Technologically it’s extremely advanced. It's made of freeze‑resistant, fiber‑reinforced, ultra-high performance concrete and stabilized by its double-curved shape.

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Near the Cemetery Wall. Litomyšl Cemetery Maintenance Building »

Ladislav Kuba, Tomáš Pilař, Patrik Obr / Kuba & Pilař architekti

There used to be an old 19th century morgue near the south end of the Litomyšl cemetery. A fine example of revival architecture, but the town decided to replace it due to serious structural damage. Additionally, a brand new building presented a chance to add much needed space for the groundskeeper’s office, new public restrooms, seasonal shops, and garden equipment storage. Considering the small scale and the specific location in a corner of the cemetery wall, the design uses a combination of two separate volumes—shorter on a trapezoid and taller on a rhombus floor plan—to accentuate the southern cemetery entrance area.

completed project

Return to Tradition. Belfry in Bílovice-Lutotín »

Ján Stempel, Jan Jakub Tesař / Stempel & Tesař architekti

An idea for a small piece of sacral architecture was first conceived for a different project in West Bohemia, which was unfortunately never realized. But the notion was not forgotten, and resurfaced again during a project meeting with local representatives in Bílovice-Lutotín, years later. The original idea moved all the way to South Moravia. Here, the locals confirmed the Moravians’ trust in old traditions. They also accepted that to keep traditions alive, they needed new stimuli. A simple task of supplying a contemporary sacred artifact for the village green eventually led to a close cooperation with a local master locksmith.

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Exsultet. The Bee Shrine in Budeč »

Jan Trejbal

Historically, the Christian tradition included numerous references to beetles and bees as models of diligence. However, entomological protection and a sacred purpose were never joined in a single, specially designed structure. The Czech countryside is rich in religious sites, but since the end of the baroque landscape development, new shrines and crosses denote significant places less often. But places that hold certain memories deserve our attention, don’t they? The Bee Shrine was designed as an answer to that question. It combines the necessary protection of solitary bees, bee colonies and other insects with a sacral use and a waymarking function.

completed project

Four in One. Four Saints Chapel near Sobětuchy »

Kamil Měrka / ti2 architekti

A small wayside shrine made of a cross and a bench was built on a tree-lined dirt road from Sobětuchy to Rabštejnská Lhota. Both its simple purpose, offering a place where walkers or cyclists can stop and rest, and its unassuming design, tie in to a centuries-old tradition of shrines and crosses dotted around the country. The contemporary landscape intervention balances the vertical form of a weathering steel cross by the horizontal line of a solid wood bench. The design was selected from several others by the village council, but not through a proper architectural design contest. In terms of education, more is yet to be done. Nevertheless, for now, let’s enjoy this particular achievement.

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Thanksgiving. St. Stephen’s Chapel on Radobýl Hill »

Milan Míšek / MISE

 A small concrete shrine built in the middle of a vineyard serves as a meeting point for local wine growers, or a lookout place, offering views to the Labe valley and the Central Bohemian Highlands. It was erected as a symbol of thanks for the gifts of nature, for the vines which ripen on the fertile hillsides of Radobýl. The shrine has a simple and open shape. The structure is made of five sections which were precast from a high-quality concrete mix with no additional surface treatment and then assembled in situ. The familiar symbolism of the cross, table and bench form a strong, interlinked, constant essence of the artefact. A small belfry erected next to the shrine rings for workers, friends or visitors to assemble or contemplate together.

completed project

A Chapel With a Screen. Television Chapel of Virgin Mary Star of Evangelization in Hostivice-Břve »

Anna Hájková

After 1989, the old 17th century family farmstead located in the village of Břve, now part of Hostivice, was restituted by the state and returned to Mrs. Alena Filípková. Unfortunately, in a rather miserable state. Undeterred, she set out to restore it herself, despite having no other relations to one day follow in her footsteps. As a way of giving thanks for being alive to see her country become free, she longed to build a small chapel. She joined forces with the Telepace company, the producer of the christian television channel TV Noe. This way a completely new building type was conceived—a television chapel, a place for broadcasting divine service to people who can’t attend them in person. The chapel has a shape of a cube with five‑meter long sides, to fulfill all the requirements of television broadcasting technology (eg. lighting and equipment suspended from the ceiling). Most likely one-of-a-kind, the central altar with a built-in TV screen is the main feature of the interior.


Informal Mo(nu)ments »

Kolektiv VŠVU v Bratislavě

The brief for the Informal Mo(nu)ments exhibition was first formulated as part of the Amber Road interdisciplinary project. The ancient trade route connecting Northern and Eastern Europe was, incidentally, also the eponym for the unfinished central circulation axis of the Petržalka housing estate in Bratislava. The Amber Road project establishes multilevel cooperation; between teachers and students of architecture, sculpture, painting or intermedia; between university, city government and local organisation; and between the expert community and general public. As a result, three artworks were installed together near the Croatian Channel in Bratislava‑Petržalka. They reflect the context of the park in terms of the planned tram line, but they also formulate new methods—allowing each project to work with the same rules, still potentially reaching a different result in a different place.



Proposed Building Fire Safety Classification

Stanislava Volejníková


Building and Brewing With BIM

Petr Vaněk

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

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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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