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.
A site on the corner of Thámova and Pernerova street is a preserved museum of the old quarter. This corner building does not deny its historical value , on the other hand a tangle of workshops and later extensions in the middle part has nothing to do with the wider city center. We purify the historical building from the later add-ons , as well as from the house in the former vacant site. Their historical and architectural value are not so high, that they should be preserved. The Thám´s national revival and a sense of drama and theatrical effect is mingled with Perner´s perfectionism and pursuit of technological progress. Two worlds that always meet in architecture as well.
In an effort to understand the simplicity of the urban district, we decided for simple terse volumes of new houses, even though the site allows diverse structure. We split the new object into two simple volumes. The higher one, parallel with the Thámova street, and the lower one, placed in a courtyard, connected to the apartment building nearby. This allows not only adequate insolation of all units, but also clearly defines the semi-public space, accessible through the new house from Thámova street and through the newly formed gap from Pernerova street. The Ground level outdoor space is interspersed with small pavilions and cafes to lounge. The lower floors are rentable units of shops, cafes, services, studios and offices, the upper floors contain apartments of various sizes – from studio flats , through standard size apartments and maisonettes up to penthouses on the roof. The existing building is purified, street level accessed and used as cafes and restaurants, higher floors are reserved for rentable offices.
Focused to the very core of the site, we keep only the healthy and vital. In the center of the newly formed volume we allow the ‚trunk‘ of the new structure of the house to grow. It’s a solid rectangular tower – vertical communication. The supporting core of everything else. Urban street plotted into several floors, alternating illumination from sides and from above and brings everything the street might have. This solid core supports individual elementary cells, in some places firmly connected with the ground, other parts cantilevered over the existing object. Supporting „razor blades“ in a regular rhythm divide the house into units. Diversity is achieved by various combinations of units, stacked in the manner of a simplified game of Tetris. Detachment from the old house on all sides provides a space, which creates a pleasant covered urban garden on the new flat roof of the existing building. The new volume embraces and protects the original one. Clearly and concisely shaped volume supports the urban structure of Karlin. A gently playfull façade, refers to the contemporary needs , scale and rhythm grid, however, is based on surrounding buildings. The materials used are more industrial and refer to the original industrial character of the neighborhood. The house is a clear landmark gateway to Karlín on the axis of the Tunnel under Mount Vítkov and Křížíkova subway. Where is Block B? Thámhle !
/We appologize to non Czech-speaking jury for untranslatable conclusion./