Fránek Architects, a leading international architectural firm, has recently celebrated the completion of a distinctive observatory building near the quaint cottage Slaměnka at Dolni Morava, in the heart of the Czech Republic. Uniquely, this monumental structure reaches a height of 55 meters, dwarfing many structures in its vicinity and providing spectacular, unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape.
The primary construction material for this grand edifice is sustainably sourced timber, a design choice reflecting the firm’s commitment to environmental stewardship and harmonious integration with the natural surroundings. The use of timber is also a nod to the local tradition of wooden architecture in the region, thus making the observatory a contemporary embodiment of cultural heritage.
Sky Walk Technical Information
- Architects: Fránek Architects
- Location: Dolní Morava, Czech Republic
- Typology: Cultural Architecture / Observatory
- Project Year: 2015
- Materials: Concrete foundations: 280 m3, Volume of steel: 380 t, Timber: larch, spruce 550 m3
- Height: 55 m
- Collaborators: TAROS NOVA (general designer and supplier)
- Client: Skywalk – sports resort Dolni Morava
- Photographs: © Jakub Skokan and Martin Tůma from BoysPlayNice
It is rare to use timber on a construction of this magnitude. It also creates a new kind of experience where people better realise how small they are in the bosom of nature. I don’t know of any other timber construction with steel elements of a similar size and purpose.
There are constructions of a similar size but ours takes on an abstract form that suggests the flight of a nocturnal butterfly whose path is seemingly chaotic. It offers an endless amount of views, situations and moments where an indiscernible human being enters the depth and emerges on the outskirts of this natural structure…– Zdeněk Fránek
Sky Walk Photographs
Sky Walk: An Architectural Triumph Above the Clouds
Sky walk is located very close to the cottage Slaměnka, at the top station of chair lift Sněžník, at an altitude of 1,116 meters above sea level. Its height is 55 meters, and the summit can be easily reached along a wooden path with strollers and wheelchairs. More adventurous visitors can use unique 101 m long stainless slider with windows.
You can enjoy the beautiful views of the entire massif of the Králický Sněžník with the scenic valley of Morava river, in the distance, then the main ridge of Jeseníky and Krkonoše Mountains.
“We have to say that constructing the Sky Walk was a unique experience and that it meant a path of courage and self-knowledge to us. So far, we have worked on various challenges, and we thought that this one would be like the others, but we soon found out that the Sky Walk was the real thing.
We found ourselves in a completely different situation, having to build at the height of 1,185 meters above sea level in a steep terrain to where all of the materials and equipment had to be transported. Also, the complexity of the man-powered assembly was an issue, given the strict safety rules that had to be followed because the workers moved about the same prominent structures as when the first New York skyscrapers had been built.
When looking at this kind of assembly, images of the Empire State Building being built came to mind. It was the first time we had ever seen anything of the sort; it was astonishing and chilling at the same time. Another obstacle we had to face was changeable weather. Down in the valley, the sun shone so intensely that you could walk about in just your t-shirt, but up there, it was cold with strong gusts of wind that made construction work even more difficult. The coordination of everyone involved was also crucial, and people had to show a great deal of diplomacy where the complexity of the construction was concerned.
Thanks to all this, we experienced a different feeling and gained experience of entirely other types of construction. We don’t regret our decision because the time spent on this project has enriched us from both the technical as well as from the human point of view. A great thanks go to everybody who worked on the Sky Walk with us, and we are also grateful to the investor for bestowing this challenge on us. We trust that we have managed to fulfill the vision and the assignment set out by the architect. We hope everyone enjoys the Sky Walk as we did!”
Radek Ondruch, Executive Director
TAROS NOVA s.r.o., general designer and supplier.
Sky Walk Plans
Sky Walk Gallery
About Fránek Architects
Fránek Architects is an acclaimed architectural firm located in the Czech Republic, recognized for its innovative and distinctive design solutions. The firm is spearheaded by Zdeněk Fránek, a renowned architect, educator, and author whose architectural practice, dating back to the 1990s, is notable for its profound integration of natural elements and the built environment. The firm’s portfolio encompasses a broad spectrum of structures, from residential homes to public buildings and avant-garde installations.