The Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning is an urban planning hotspot in Prague’s heart, aiming to improve public discussion about the development of the Czech’s capital city. Striving to become an essential source of clear and accessible information about the present and Prague’s future, it functions as an open platform, a “basecamp” for anyone interested in the collective planning and development of the Capital.
Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning Technical Information
- Architecture Firm1-2: NOT BAD
- Architects: Benedikt Markel, Dominik Saitl
- Location: Vyšehradská 51, Prague, Czech Republic
- Implementer: Prague Institute of Planning and Development
- Project year: 2017
- Completion year: 2019
- Gross floor area: 1100 m2
- Photographs: © BoysPlayNice
CAMP is a meeting place for architects, planners and citizens, a hub for brainstorming the future of the cities, with a diverse programme of public discussions, lectures, workshops, film screenings and other activities addressing the sustainability of our cities.
Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning Photographs
Housed in a modernist building designed by a famous Czech architect Karel Prager, CAMP shares the address with its guarantor and implementer Prague Institute for Planning and Development. CAMP hosts a 200 m2 exhibition hall with a unique, large projection screen, a library with a large selection of publications about architecture, urbanism, design, a café, an outdoor patio, and a modern lecture hall.
Urban(ism) – a public matter
Along with different kinds of workshops addressing Prague’s present and future, CAMP regularly hosts famous international architects in one of its lectures and discussion cycles – Urban Talks. Among the guests presenting their work and discussing the specificity of their countries’ architecture and urban planning were Santiago Calatrava, Sou Fujimoto, Smiljan Radić, Snøhetta, COBE, and other experts from all around the globe.
Accessible to all
Launching a program for children and adolescents that explains how the city they live in functions, CAMP reaches out to citizens of all ages.
It also strives to be accessible for people with mobility limitations and reduced orientation in space and those who have problems perceiving the written text, image, and sound. This involves translating their website into sign language, making info-materials in enlarged black print and Braille, and preparing the subtitled videos and audio descriptions, making it deaf and blind-friendly.
CAMP’s accessibility also follows through its space – from simplified entry, movement, and clear navigation to the induction loops installed in the halls and the café.
Live streaming the lectures, discussions, and certain events complement these efforts and bring CAMP worldwide.
CAMP also stepped out of the Prager’s walls and virtual space on to the streets of Prague. In cooperation with the Public Transportation Company, an architectural tram was created, running through Prague’s streets for several months, regularly hosting guided tours.
Text by the Architects
The Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning resides in a building designed in the 60s and built in the 70s by the significant architect Karel Prager, located in the bombarded section of a medieval monastery complex. A set of three dark prisms with a light surface shell, elevated above the ground on top of two-story pedestals, served as a facility space for the Design Institute of the City of Prague. The Large exposition hall (the “Baucenter”) was already included in Prager’s concept; however, apart from a few expositions in the early 90s, the space never served its original purpose until its opening CAMP.
Even though the project was not a general reconstruction of the building complex, during the process of designing CAMP, great importance was appointed to the conservation of the original architecture by Karel Prager.
Notably, in the two halls, a great deal of effort was given to make use of their generous spaces and maximize the palette of usage they offered. Thus, two multi-functional halls that are the core of CAMP were created. First came the disposal of unintended installations and partitions and designing a new system of division into exposition and service spaces. The original high-quality ceramic wall tiles and limestone floors emerging from the interior into the exterior were excavated from under layers of later-on additional installments. On the contrary, all the newly designed elements and layers were placed as clearly identifiable and contrasting.
The larger “black” hall with the capacity of up to 250 visitors, completely blocked of daylight, is dominated by a panorama projection surface of 24×4 meters with an 8K resolution. This projection surface offers new possibilities in terms of working with images and, aside from audiovisual tracks accompanying expositions and lectures, also provides, for example, a 1:1 scale simulation of urban city space. Annexed to this hall is a small arena used for discussions, smaller lectures, or a movie theater. Along with the study hall and bookstore, the library is on the backside of the projection wall. It gets plenty of sunlight from the generous glass atrium in the center of Prager’s blocks.
The “white” conference hall is in a counterbalance to the dark exposition hall, with its munificent three-sided transparent surfaces. It is convenient for conferences, group meetings, presentations or specific expositions that can endure the flood of sunlight.
The entrance hall and café are a node point for both halls and offer enough dispersion space, easing orientation and allowing a view into both halls. In the case of a large event, this allows a “pouring” of a program from one space into another to allow their spatial qualities to complement each other synergically.
The interior of CAMP was created in close collaboration with the authors of its visual identity and can be considered its primary and key application. This concept is based on points in a square grid whose base subject works with scaling and density. The fundamental application of this grid in the interior is derived from the original ceramic tiles’ format, a dominant and authentic element of Prager’s architecture. Node points in the grid are materialized by atypical stainless steel screws and nuts, creating shiny cylindrical joints. These serve as an anchor system for exposition panels, furniture joints, or as space navigation.
Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning Plans
Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning Image Gallery
- Concept Authors: Adam Gebrian, Eugen Liška, Adam Švejda
- Collaborators: Martina Požárová, Vilém Kocáb