The Savarin project in the heart of Prague has a positive opinion from the monuments' authorities

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2023-10-31   09:56
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The newly prepared part of the Savarin project, under the baton of the contemporary world architecture and design icon Thomas Heatherwick, has received a positive opinion from the monuments' authorities in the ongoing planning procedure. After consultation with the National Heritage Institute, the municipality's Department of Conservation has issued a binding positive opinion, according to which the proposed reconstruction is permissible in terms of the interests of state conservation. The Savarin project in the vicinity of Prague's Wenceslas Square and Na Příkopě Street will open up the previously closed inner block to the public, including a park and a new entrance to the metro. The first phase of the project, which is the reconstruction and restoration of the historic Savarin Palace, is currently in full swing. It will open to the public next year.

The Savarin will create a completely new public space in the centre of the metropolis. The project respects the long-term development of the site, the structure and the combination of functions that have always belonged to Wenceslas Square. "The aim is to preserve and reconstruct all the now neglected protected historic buildings in the heart of the metropolis and to make them as accessible as possible. We will bring life back into the inner blocks by restoring the Baroque garden and creating a little square, and we will connect the preserved courtyards with brand new passages," says Simon Johnson, director of Crestyl, the developer of the project. "Next year we will complete the first phase of the project, on which we have worked very closely with the conservationists. This is the reconstruction of the Baroque palace itself by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer. However, as part of the project, we will also open the historic riding hall to the public, which almost nobody knows about because it is not visible from the surrounding streets," he adds.

The Savarin project is located right in the neighbourhood of Prague's Wenceslas Square, which will be connected to Na Příkopě, Jindřiška and Panská Streets in the tradition of Wenceslas passages. It consists of four interconnected, yet interlinked separate parts, each of which will have its own character and use. This honours the traditional Prague urban layout, where differently sized streets, squares, courtyards or parks are linked together to form a harmonious whole.

The historic riding hall building is the centrepiece of the project, around which a new quiet square with a garden, cafés and restaurants will be built in the courtyard, and Savarin will also include a multi-purpose space designed especially for cultural and social events or a new entrance to the metro. The project also envisages a gallery to house the Slavonic Epic.

The studio behind the Savarin is Thomas Heatherwick, one of the most successful architectural and design studios in the world today and the author of unique projects all over the world, and often awarded for revitalising abandoned spaces. For example, Heatherwick's transformation of an old silo in Cape Town into the Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary African Art has been awarded the title of Global Building of the Year, while projects such as New York's Vessel and London's Coal Drops Yard, among many others, have also won awards.

As is usual in these cases, the positive opinion of the conservation authorities includes the setting of conditions to be met in the further development of the project. "There are only a few of these in this case. These are things such as covering the air conditioning in the roof of the riding hall, integrating technological equipment into the buildings, or working out a detailed colour solution for the newly built parts of the project. All the suggestions from the conservationists make sense and we will certainly take them fully into account," assures Simon Johnson, Crestyl's managing director.

Permitting processes are now running as standard for the newly developed part of the Savarin project, with the project in the planning stage. The completion date is then expected to be within a maximum of three years from the start of actual construction, with the exact timing dependent on the issue of all necessary permits. In the meantime, the first phase, which is the reconstruction and restoration of the historic Savarin Palace, has been underway since the end of 2021. This will open to the public next year.

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