Heatherwick Studio has unveiled designs for the regeneration of an important site in the heart of historic Prague. The 15 000 sq m site is being redeveloped for Crestyl and will be a mix of retail and office space set within public gardens. It is the first project the studio has worked on in the Czech Republic.
Architect: Heatherwick Studio
The Savarin site is bounded by four of the main streets in Prague – Wenceslas Square, Na Prikope, Panska and Jindrisska. The development will tie together a number of heritage buildings by creating organic connections through the site and with the surrounding district. The scheme restores public access to the Riding Hall and surrounding gardens and is further enlivened with new areas of public space not only at ground level but through a series of terraces leading up to the roof levels. In addition, the design will create underground levels with direct access from Wenceslas Square and the metro station to the Riding Hall, which will become the central heart of the site. As well as bringing significant
new quantities of public realm to the site, there will be new architecture within the courtyard. This has allowed the studio to create a series of set-back stepped and terraced façades which take people up to the rooftops to create unexpected public spaces.
The aim is to bring new life to the heart of Prague by creating a unique and distinctive destination for the public, building both on the important location and the richness of the surrounding architecture. Eschewing conventional responses to shopping mall and office design, the studio has been inspired and excited by the detailing and materiality of this historic city.
“Me and my team are honoured to be working on such an important site in Prague’s historic centre – and our design ideas have been inspired by the details, materials and craftsmanship that we found all around the city.
The project is focused around a series of courtyards and passages that stitch together a site with a number of special heritage buildings. At its heart is the creation of a major new public space, surrounding a historic 18th century riding hall.
As well as restoring this hall and the other historic buildings, we will create three dynamic new buildings which will frame this courtyard and its riding hall. Stepped green terraces and staircases will enable people to walk up the buildings all the way to the rooftops,
revealing unexpected new public spaces and views across the city.
Our aim for the project is to create a unique and distinctive area for gathering, shopping and working that is unprecedented in Prague.” Thomas Heatherwick, founder of Heatherwick Studio, commented.
“Savarin has a very special place in our hearts and we feel the huge responsibility that comes with this project. We value Heatherwick Studio for approaching each project individually, considering the genius loci of the place and offering solutions that breathe life into it. That is also why we admire the studio´s sensitive way to revitalize projects such as Coal Drops Yard and Zeitz MOCAA,” says Omar Koleilat, CEO of Crestyl, the developer of the Savarin project.
Heatherwick Studio is a team of over 200 problem solvers dedicated to making the physical world around us better for everyone. Based out of our combined workshop and design studio in central London, we create buildings, spaces, master-plans, objects and infrastructure. Focusing on large scale projects in cities all over the world, we prioritise those with the greatest positive social impact.
Working as practical inventors with no signature style, our motivation is to design soulful and interesting places which embrace and celebrate the complexities of the real world.
The approach driving everything is to lead from human experience rather than any fixed design dogma.
The studio’s multi award-winning completed projects include Vessel, a 16-storey landmark for Hudson Yards in New York; Zeitz MOCAA, the conversion of a disused grain silo into a new museum for contemporary art in South Africa; the Learning Hub at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University; and the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010. The studio is currently working on approximately 30 live projects in ten countries.
Projects under construction include Pier55, in the Hudson River, New York; construction on new major headquarters for Google are also underway in both King’s Cross and Silicon Valley (in collaboration with BIG). The studio is also working on the design of Changi Airport’s new Terminal 5 in Singapore (with KPF) which will add an initial capacity of up to 50 million passengers per year.