Lesser Town square competition
Prague City Hall announces an one-round urbanistic and architectural competition for a conceptual design for the space of “Lesser Town square in Prague”.
The subject of the competition is the preparation of a conceptual architectural and urbanistic design for the revitalisation of Lesser Town Square.
The goal of the square’s revitalisation is to create a public open space of a representative and restful character commensurate with its significance as one of Prague’s most important squares, which must include parking at a level in accordance with this character.
The goal of the conceptual architecture competition is to define the potential of the public space of the square.
The purpose and mission of the competition are to identify and assess the most suitable solution for the subject of the competition which meets the Enunciator’s requirements contained in Competition Rules. This competition has been drafted with the Enunciator’s goal of obtaining an evaluation of Lesser Town Square’s potential and a wide spectrum of views on the possibilities of its use.
On the basis of the competition’s results, the Prague Institute of Planning and Development will recommend to the Enunciator that a selected design be realised. The authors of the awarded competition designs may be tasked with elaborating the subsequent stage of project documentation. The anticipated date for launching the realisation of modifications to the square is 2016.
Position of the jury on the competition
The jury is convinced that the competition for the modification of Lesser Town Square will become an important stimulus for further competitions and projects for public spaces in Prague which today are not in a state worthy of their historical and societal significance.
Most of the competing projects reacted to the current situation of the square and only a minority understood the competition as an opportunity for extravagance. The comparable quality of many of the competing designs forced the jury to make a highly detailed study of all the aspects thereof, including opinions on transportation, materials used and the functional use of the space of Lesser Town Square.
The jury was persuaded by projects that dealt with the upper and lower section of the square as a monolithic urban space enriched by local motifs. The jury worked with the assumption that some reduction of transportation and parking spaces will be necessary for a pleasant urban space to be created. What should become an essential quality of this space is civility and respect for tradition and the history of its use. Certain forms of both tram and automobile traffic must realistically be included in the square's design, but the emphasis should be placed on pedestrian visitors to the square. In this sense the results of the competition fulfilled the jury's expectations.
The jury trusts that the awarded projects will lead to revitalisation of the square as a public space that both represents the city and is pleasant to spend time in.
The awarded entries have the potential to meet the conservation requirements following revision.
Evaluation from the perspective of transportation solutions (Ing. Špilar)
The competing designs for the regeneration of Lesser Town Square were drawn up in accordance with the assigned task and their concepts were based on a strategy of reducing the negative influences of automobile traffic, whether transit or stationary, in the delineated area of the Prague Heritage Conservation Area. The basic transportation premise for the entry designs was to significantly reduce or completely eliminate parked vehicles from the area around the important historical building in the central part of both squares and transit of motorised vehicles and use the freed-up space to emphasise the residential function of the public space with a wide range of services and to favour pedestrian traffic. Respect for the current quality of public space in the tight quarters of the historic buildings, which severely limits the possibility of altering the organisation of transportation on the current road network, preordained a considerable level of acceptance of the current state of both individual and public transport.
The parking of passenger vehicles respects the needs of the Czech Parliament, residents, delivery vehicles, taxis and the presence of institutions of higher learning. With a single exception the competing works do not propose mass underground parking garages, which in the current traffic situation would increase the traffic burden circling around the north part of the square.
The competition entries reflect a varying degree of traffic calming on the square:
- maintaining the current traffic set-up with a marked reduction in vehicle parking and stopping;
- a reduction in transit traffic volume associated with the opening of the Blanka Tunnel Complex;
- regulatory measures restricting short-term paid parking and delineating an emission zone.
Reduction of the current traffic load values is planned by having automobile traffic on the square run either in close quarters with trams using Vienna-style tram stops, or in shared space. Such measures help substantially increase the residential and pedestrian area as well as the possibilities for the use thereof.
Position of the jury on the competition (0,2 MB | PDF)
Competition rules of Lesser Town square (0,7 MB | PDF)
Materials for download HERE (1,01 GB | ZIP)
Materials Added (31 MB | ZIP)
Questions & Answers (0,1 MB | PDF)