Karlín is no longer a district full of factories and housing for workers, the dirty and grubby suburb of Prague. With the new potential, the original objects are transformed to meet their new needs, the insufficient and the temporary ones are mercilessly torn down and replaced by new ones. The elevation level rises, building volumes logically increase into courtyards. From the industrial district, Karlín has long become a full-fledged part of the capital, though it still remains its own urban structure with a special atmosphere. The former workers of manufacturing now have suits and ties, write articles in all sorts of media, and significantly move the Gross Domestic Product. And this applies this year as well as last autumn…
Plot in Křižíkova street is a sort of interface between emerging larger volume objects and original Karlin closer allotment. This fact is seen on the nearby objects Corso II and III., and on the fragment of the old buildings on the land. There is no need to justify the demolition of these old buildings on the lot. Only the preserved fragment of the old wall, vaulted into arcs and facing the courtyard, saved its own exceptional atmosphere. On the other side Corso objects, create a new network of pedestrian streets and semi-public spaces, which are worth to respect. Special feeling in the area is complemented by the two vertical brick chimneys, that are erected to the sky within sight of both of the main facade on the longitudinal axis of the plot. Framing perspective of the Vítkov hill and accents of the St. Cyril and Methodius towers are a pleasant bonus.
It seems to be clear, that the almost cubiform volume of the new construction is not discussable with a single architectural gesture. Our desire to respect the historical parcelling is confirmed by the division and the rhythmisation of the facade of the new building facing the street. From the three levels volume of retail and offices, interior of which are illuminated by an atrium, two parallel blocks of flats grow up perpendicular to the street. Towards the street the space between the two parallel blocks is filled with the subtle light volume of the extended parts of the more luxury apartments. This solution creates a semi-private part within the residential area, where all the apartments are oriented, and which brings a fresh breeze into the space. For better insolation and greater degree of intimacy we turned the facade parts of the side blocks slightly to the south, and to the space of the garden behind Corso, and towards view to the Vítkov. Roof landscape is complemented by a spacious penthouses to sail undisturbed over the city.
The whole logic of the house is based on a clear column contruction system. The volume is based on the two-storey underground garage, connected by a straight ramp. Vertical communication- stairways and elevators – are on sides, near the existing adjacent buildings, with a sufficient depth from the street, so the valuable facade to the street and courtyard are free for the flats. The three-storey base with a retail on the ground floor and rentable premisses on the upper floors, is intersected by a peaceful passage, connecting the street with the court yard. In the middle an iluminated atrium connecting the passage with the roof garden. The glass roof over the atrium is filled with a thin layer of water bringing a little movement to the atmosphere of the passage. From the courtyard side the existing fragment of the wall is creating a natural connection with the garden. Karlin is always abounded with the kind of architectural brevity of expression and total logic. Exactly the kind of house we wanted to present, to fit the mosaic of the district of Karlín. Simple, modest, functional, yet clearly readable and user friendly. Without unnecessary gestures and lofty phrases, but resisting the accelerated time.