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One of the largest periurban parks in Central Europe will be built at the confluence of the Berounka and Vltava Rivers. It will be designed by architects from EMF, NORMA, and PARETO.

The City of Prague, together with the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Prague), announced the results of an international landscape and urban design competition for the design of the future Soutok Periurban Park at a gala evening held at the Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning (CAMP). The winning team is composed of architectural studios EMF (ES-CT), NORMA (CZ) and PARETO (FR). Their project aims to revitalize the Berounka River, revive the forgotten culture of the landscape, and complement it with new urban solutions and flood protection measures. The winning design will be on display at CAMP until May 10th, 2023. 

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Petr Hlaváček, Deputy Mayor for Spatial Development, notes: "The river floodplain at the confluence of the Berounka and Vltava rivers is a truly significant area of over 1,300 hectares, which unfortunately lacked a clear concept for further development and was threatened with gradual degradation. I am very pleased that we are now taking the Soutok Periurban Park project to the next stage. The winning landscape design, selected by an international expert jury, sensitively integrates the interests of the stakeholders in the area and the necessary flood protections, and finds new, creative urban solutions.

Michael Schwarze-Rodrian, Chairman of the Jury, says: "Congratulations to the winning team EMF / NORMA / PARETO! Their approach not only showcases contemporary European quality, but also demonstrates the team's expertise and skills in developing sustainable urban landscapes. The design takes into account all the aspects that need to be included in such a long-term and complex project of supra-regional importance. In addition to its professional qualities, the winning team from Catalonia, France, and the Czech Republic also offers an insightful and workable set of ten guidelines on how to build a new park in collaboration with nature, people, cities, and stakeholders.

The riverscape at the confluence of the Berounka and Vltava Rivers hold enormous ecological and landscape potential. Although the area is largely a floodplain with no possibility for conventional development, there is an opportunity for river floodplain revitalization, periurban recreation, sustainable agriculture, and landscape interventions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The aim of the competition was to select a development team to design the future shape of the riverscape and, together with residents, find a vision for the long-term development of the area in the form of a periurban park.

"I was very pleased with the winning proposal, as it combines the approaches and measures that we as Prague have set out in the climate plan. The future periurban park will contribute to the biodiversity of the area, ensure better water retention in the landscape through the revitalization of the banks of the two rivers, and provide nature-friendly flood protection for the neighboring communities. The proposal fulfils sustainable development goals for cities, which we as Prague proudly support," notes Jana Komrsková, Deputy Mayor for the Environment. 

The international landscape and urban design competition for the design of park was announced in August 2022. A total of 13 teams from nine countries entered the competition. The international jury, consisting of foreign and Czech experts headed by renowned German urban planner and landscape architect Michael Schwarz-Rodrian, invited six participants to submit a competition proposal. Four designs were then selected for the final stage of the competition, from which the winner has now emerged. In addition to the winning team, the runners-up include Bureau B+B / gogolák + grasse; 4ct / Sendler / CIVITAS / NEUHÄUSL HUNAL; and Mandaworks. 

The brief for the competition was based on research and analysis that was carried out between 2017 and 2021 in collaboration with local stakeholders, including interviews and the 2017 Together at the Confluence conference, which brought together 60 key players from the study area. 

"The project area is divided between five of Prague’s city districts and the Central Bohemian town of Černošice. This means there a lot of actors with many competing interests. For this reason, it was particularly important that we create the competition assignment in cooperation with all those concerned,” notes Ondřej Boháč, Director of IPR Prague.  "We will present the results of the competition to the public, including landowners and other important stakeholders in the area. The plan is to hold meetings with local residents in the directly affected districts, with the results of the public participation activities serving as a basis for the final design," he adds. 

The winning team will work to refine the design to a more detailed scale. The final proposal will also include a framework plan – or a 'guideplan' - which will provide guidance on how to develop the entire area.

The competition is part of the “Periurban Park as a tool for reducing the impacts of climate change” project, which is funded by the CZ-ENVIRONMENT program of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021. 

More information about the project can be found on this website.

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