Completed in 2010 by Fránek Architects, the ‘House of Prayers’ stands as an exemplar of architectural mastery where simplicity intersects with transcendence. The design approach delves into the core quintessence of the structure, deploying the fifth facade – the roof – as a potent medium of profound expression. Embracing the principles of abstract minimalism and meticulous selection of materials, the building artfully manifests a symbiotic connection between terrestrial reality and celestial infinity. This is further emphasized by its thoughtful incorporation of vertical movement, curating a unique dialogue that weaves together the elements of the earthbound and the divine.
House of Prayer Technical Information
- Architects: Fránek Architects
- Location: Litomyšl, Czech Republic
- Typology: Religious Architecture / Church
- Project Completion Year: 2010
- Urban Furniture Design: David Karásek, mmcité, 2016
- Photographs : © Jakub Skokan and Martin Tůma from BoysPlayNice
The fifth façade, i.e. the roof of this building is the bearer of all essential information about the building. It has been abstracted to its maximum. A roof without any details is like a way running into infinity.– Fránek Architects
House of Prayer Photographs
Convergence of Cultures: The Fifth Façade as a Pathway to Infinity
Text by the Architect
The fifth façade, i.e. the roof of this building, is the bearer of all essential information about the building. It has been abstracted to its maximum. A roof without any details is like a way running into infinity.
The means of showing the way was a fair-face concrete outside the building and plywood board inside of it. Vertical movement and its visual representation are a dilemma of most religious buildings. The connection between Heaven and Earth need not necessarily be a monologue; it can be an invitation for a journey and for a gradual ascent up from the dirt of this world. In this case, the ascent to the light, which has been depicted by excellent Czech graphic artists with their minimalistic illustrations. The symbol at the end of the journey has its strong haptic light quality as a clear target.
A simple paper puzzle reminds me the eastern inspiration I got while working on this task. Eastern and western cultures meet here in a universal unity. The program of the building is to serve the religious and social life of the community, which is the investor. The preacher and his family occupy the second floor. The house was built for half the original budget.
House of Prayer Image Gallery
Urban Furniture by David Karásek
Text by the Designer
We enjoy referencing basic construction elements in our designs. Moreover, when you want to design a concrete-made piece of urban furniture, especially if it has to be light, a trussed beam is the right inspiration to opt for. Its maximum strength with minimum materials used spells efficiency. The material used is Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) and it has little to do with traditional concrete.
In addition, it is quite expense so achieving aforementioned efficiency was not easy for us. The design’s form is rather restrained engineering-wise and austere but to fine-tune its functional properties took month to accomplish – a lot longer than we originally anticipated. Finally, we can rejoice. The monumental, almost three metres high piece of high-grade concrete shows its grace from afar. When observed closely, its intriguing and sophisticated geometrical lines come into play.
The inspiration came from one of the most basic construction elements – a trussed beam. We refined the most inherent engineering beauty and carried it over to the landscape in a cultivated form. The symmetrical play of clearly defined inclines and right-angled facets joint together with curves adds character to otherwise simple object made from high-grade UHPC. Small, integrated legs on its bottom side elevates not only the entire mass but the elegance of the installed piece of furniture as well. They also eliminate any potential unevenness of the surface it would stand on. More than two-and-a-half metres long bench can be placed separately, in a group of two or three, or it can be arranged into long lines. Its design makes it suitable for placement either in an urban environment or in an interior installation.
Simple looking yet sophisticated object is made from high-quality UHPC. The bench has a smooth surface that is not shiny. It comes in two shades mixed in the material.
Good-quality design is generally considered as something that is intended especially for elites, but we are trying to bring the high-aesthetics into the most common and often omitted elements of public space. (David Karásek, the lead designer and co-owner of mmcité1)
Mmcité was awarded with the Red Dot Design Award 2016 for street furniture, namely for the “Minium litter bin” product.