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The Vltava Philharmonic

3. září 2020

The Capital City of Prague plans to build a new concert hall, housed in the broader framework of a contemporary music centre that will achieve global standards (in terms of acoustics, capacity, layout, design, technical and architectural solution, urban setting) and thereby seal Prague’s international reputation as a cultural metropolis and symbol of Czech music traditions. The project aims to create a new, open and living, fully engaged public space for all its visitors, and above all, the residents of Prague.

→ Czech version

The vision

Prague is a magical place in the centre of Europe. It has long-term ambitions to not only to beat as the heart of Europe but also be a city that residents love and identify with—a city that is a true home to its 1.5 million residents, is dynamically evolving its cultural and economic centres and is an attractive tourist destination, a city that aims to not only be the Czech Republic’s cultural metropolis but Europe’s sought-after cultural destination. This is its legacy, accumulated over the span of many centuries, when it was at the crossroads of cultures and had a considerable influence over the cultural progress of the entire continent. At the same time, Prague wants to be a city that stimulates the imagination and creative activity of its residents and visitors. It strives to offer unforgettable experiences that enrich our lives and elevate our spirits.

Despite the above, we must admit that one of the most serious problems Prague is facing is the conflict between certain elements of modern times and the material and spiritual legacy of its past. This conflict has resulted in a number of flawed and often irreversible interventions into the city’s centuries-old urban and architectural appearance, for example, in the historical city centre of Prague, which was not and could not be designed for today’s intensity of use.

For this reason, Prague needs to look for new centres, to clearly identify these locations for development over the coming century in a manner that will allow future generations to be proud of the city.

To make these new centres natural extensions of the existing historical centre, we will need to instil a process of their emergence into the public and a cultural dimension that will respond to the calls to create a new concert hall corresponding to the demands of the 21st century.

No new concert hall for symphonic music has been built in Prague for more than 100 years. The most recently built venue, the Smetana Hall at the Municipal House, opened its doors at the end of 1912. The Dvořák Hall at Rudolfinum opened in 1885. Even though both venues have undergone renovations, they are still historical venues. They do not meet the demands of the 21st century and no longer even completely service the needs for symphonic music in general.

The project to construct a new concert hall will provide the fundamental drive to develop a new city centre for Prague. It will provide an abundance of options to develop an interesting building and create a new cultural and architectural centre in the city.

The transformation site at Holešovice-Bubny-Zátory is one of the largest and most important of Prague’s brownfields. The new philharmonic building at the Vltavská site will drive initiation as a symbol of the area’s rebirth and launch a new dimension in the city’s natural development.

The Vltava River has been the chief artery of Prague since times immemorial. The entire city is built around it, has grown alongside it and bloomed. Its significance to Prague is enormous. Building the new concert hall on its banks is therefore more than merely symbolic, it signifies natural progress in the city’s development. Bonding the Philharmonic with the river will reinforce continuity in Prague’s development along its fluvial artery.

The Vltava Philharmonic

Erecting the new centre to house the Vltava Philharmonic will be an enormous task. The cultural and social maturity of the present generation may be well inferred from the ambitious tasks it sets for itself and how it achieves them. To want nothing is not equal to being wise and humble; on the contrary, it suggests smallness and cluelessness, without a vision and without a view of the future.

Prague’s aims to be known not only as a city of monuments but also as a centre of inspirational, living culture. Constructing the new Vltava Philharmonic will considerably strengthen and support this ambition.

The Vltava Philharmonic will be a living, open space serving the residents of Prague every day and functioning as a space to welcome all the citizens of the country on a regular basis.

All our efforts are being directed to achieve pride in the Vltava Philharmonic. We possess the foundations to build on and a well-respected Czech music tradition that for us represents commitment and inspiration.

The Vltava Philharmonic will strengthen the role of a respected and successful Prague in Europe. The music centre will be an instrument to cultivate the urban environment and encourage diverse activities for Prague’s residents and visitors. It will link the historical heritage in cultural traditions with new trends in culture and arts.

The city’s new, main cultural and architectural feature will become an important must-see highlight for visitors from around the world.

There is no better time to devise and prepare similar plans than the present, but it may be affected by the global pandemic and related economic recession and downturn. Only the economically or socially prepared will be successful during the future boom.

Prague needs the Vltava Philharmonic! Prague wants the Vltava Philharmonic!

Project Development and Project Team

In October 2019, the Prague City Council approved a resolution to appoint a project team led by architect Martin Krupauer. The City Council also appointed a Committee for the Creation of the Concert Hall, which will provide long-term support to the project.

The project team’s present task is to define the concept for the new philharmonic according to the Feasibility Analysis, i.e. to determine all the future functions and uses of the building, including the manner of its operation, financing construction, and subsequent operations.

Erecting the new concert hall was declared in the Memorandum on Cooperation and Mutual Support concluded between the Capital City of Prague and the Association for the Construction of a New Concert Hall in Prague, which was approved by Council Resolution No. 587 on 27 April 2010.

 

Project team

Martin Krupauer

Martin is the head of the Vltava Philharmonic project team, appointed by the Prague City Council resolution. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Civil Engineering at ČVUT (Czech Technical University and Faculty of Architecture at AVU (Academy of Fine Arts) in Prague. He has rich professional experience as an architect in the Czech Republic and abroad. For many years, he led the cultural centre at Solnice and the creative epicentre “Bazilika” in České Budějovice. He created the concept and designed the poly-functional centre “Forum Karlín” in Prague. Since 1989, he has owned and managed A8000, his own architectural studio. He frequently lectures on architecture and regional development. He has been on the jury of many international architectural competitions. He is a guest member of the Slovak Chamber of Architects.

 

Martin Gross

Martin is the deputy head of the Vltava Philharmonic project team and founding member of the Association for the Construction of a New Concert Hall in Prague (est. 2010), where he presently serves as deputy chairman. He is a graduate of the University of Economics in Prague and has been involved long-term in the production and organizational management of cultural and sports events. He is also the owner and director of a production company. As a consultant, he was involved in the construction and preliminary operations of Prague’s O2 Arena, the preparation and construction of the Forum Karlín in Prague, and in cooperation with the M1 studio, the preparations to construct the Janáček Music Centre in Brno.

 

 

Monika Habrová

Monika has been leading the Vltava Philharmonic project at IPR Prague since 2019. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at ČVUT (Czech Technical University) in Prague, and before that, she studied at TU Eindhoven. She is a former member of the FABRICations studio in Amsterdam, which focuses on sustainable urban strategies and planning. Since 2016, she’s been with the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Prague), where she focuses on architecture competitions and public space projects. She was involved, for example, with the Bělohorská Street Revitalization Project and in drafting the concept to develop Prague’s Exhibition Grounds. She led the competition for the new Prague urban furniture designs for tram/bus stops and railings. In her own practice, she was involved in the study for the ‘Lošbates’ Elementary School, which won 2nd place in an international architectural competition.

 

Petra Hrubešová

Petra has been a member of the Vltava Philharmonic project team since 2019. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at ČVUT (Czech Technical University) in Prague, she also studied at ENSA Nantes. She has been with the Prague Institute of Planning and Development since 2014, focusing on designing buildings and organizing architecture competitions. In Prague, she was closely involved in defining the architecture competition for the Bělohorská Street Revitalization Project and for the Transformation of the Vítězné (Victory) Square in Prague 6. She also has her own practice, and her team designs public buildings. She was involved in the architectural studies for the swimming pool at Písek, the Museum of the 20th Century in Berlin, and the ‘Lošbates’ Elementary School.

The site

The territorial study showing the future appearance of the Bubny area and location at Vltavská is available for download at the “ÚS Holešovice Bubny – Zátory” bookmark at the Prague.eu website, Department of Territorial Planning.

General Project Timeline

Analytical Phase (to be completed by around January 2021)

  • Preparation to commission the Feasibility Analysis
  • Tendering process for the Feasibility Analysis contractor
  • Feasibility Analysis – elaboration
  • Feasibility Analysis – evaluation
  • Preparation of other necessary studies and documentation

 

Project Phase (to be completed by around 12/2025)

  • Preparation of an international architecture competition
  • International architecture competition for the Concert Hall’s design
  • Negotiation Procedure without Publication and conclusion of the contract for project documentation
  • Preparation of project documentation and documentation to select the general contractor

 

Implementation (Construction) Phase (to be completed by around 12/2031)

  • Tender for the general contractor
  • Preparation of the implementing documentation
  • Construction of the Vltava Philharmonic

 

The timeline above at this time is indicative only and will be specified in accordance with the project’s progress.

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