Prague, Czech Republic
Located in beautiful historic setting, project's aspiration is to retain values of those surroundings and give the most adequate response to the context. Competition plot was situated in the very heart of Hloubětín - historic district of Prague, close to the landmark-protected: Church of St. George, the gardens of the Hloubětín Chateau and the ‘Crusaders’ Court’ manor farm. The church (placed on the south side of the plot) and the manor farm (opposite side of Hloubětínská Street) are clear dominants of the whole area - in terms of both: volume and architectural quality. Other buildings in vicinity are simple and relatively small, with maximum 2 levels above ground.
Proposed building tries to fit into those picturesque surroundings - like all neighbours it has pitched roof with eaves, covered with red ceramic tiles. Roofing is the most visually present part of the building, which allows to blend it with surroundings by this simple mimicking gesture. "Historic" roof is contrasted with fully transparent facade of entrance level. The lower floor, from the street visible as solid concrete wall, is partly sunken in the ground, reducing visual impact of the building. Like most neighbours (except the church and the manor) community centre has a compact footprint.
The main entrance to the building is situated on the upper floor - glass curtain walls reveal what is happening inside to invite visitors and engage them in the community life. Floor plan of this level is very flexible - it contains cafe and multipurpose hall - both spaces can serve many different functions. 50-seats cafe works as foyer, info centre, reception and pram parking. If needed, it can be transformed into exhibition space or any other function needed by the community. Cafe's terrace opens up to Hloubětín Chateau gardens and allows additional seasonal outdoor seating. Multipurpose hall with 100 seats can be used for: informal meetings of residents, social events (weddings, celebrations, balls), discussions, exhibitions and courses. Both spaces are divided only by curtains, which allows to easily transform the whole floor into one open space. The bottom level of the building contains local branch of public library (12.000 volumes), restrooms and technical spaces. Library opens up to the patio connected to the garden by wooden stairs - they can serve as the outside seating in warmer months.