The Old Town Gate project is a multilayered plan, encompassing revitalisation and renewal of public spaces at the end of Pařížská avenue and Dvořákovo embankment and their significant enlargement at the expense of areas currently unused or inaccessible. The design can be described briefly as an extension of the urban parterre along the axis of Pařížská all the way to the embankment and its connection with the Vltava quay and expansion Miloše Formana square, removal of car traffic and large-scale technical structures, and production of a lively place dedicated to Czech film. Creation of a new public area at the point of contact with Dvořákovo embankment, or piazzetta descending to the Vltava level with an option to continue the pedestrian way to the quay underneath the embankment. The project also includes overall renovation and reconstruction of the Hotel Intercontinental. However, its restoration is only a second layer within the project. The primary objective is addition of current missing connection between the hotel and the city, filling of scars in the adjacent areas (ramps, utility vent outlets, etc.), which debase the site in central Prague at present and make traffic quite difficult. The areas will become much more publicly accessible, and the hotel and its parterre will be more a part of the city. That is also manifested as a number of new structures, made of concrete and glass blocks in an analogy of the original composition, entering the newly developed area to complement it and enrich it with a retail and social layer. The first is a footbridge connecting Dvořákovo embankment and the newly expanded ground floor restaurant, followed by a line of elements along the axis of Pařížská. All the new elements are designed so as to complement, not fragment and individually compete with the large hotel architecture and the composition of a building in an open area.

  • Location

  • Praha 1
  • Project works

  • 2019 - 2020

Miloše Formana square currently occupies an area of 4630 m2. However, 850 m2 of the area, which relatively difficult to understand, has a complex traffic pattern and is ugly, is occupied by a garage ventilation structure, and another 170 m2 by entrance ramps, so the actual size is only about 3710 m2. The project envisages removal of the ramps, access to the garages from Dvořákovo embankment, dismantling of the whole ventilation structure and creation of an actual city square with a large rectangular area of 1400 m2 at the front and a number of adjacent smaller areas accompanied with greenery and water at the back. After the modifications, the total size of the publicly accessible area around the hotel will increase to 6250 m2.

The square opens with a structure located at the corner of a housing block demolished in World War II, covering an area of 340 m2. At the same time, it will double as an entrance to the underground public parking garage, but its parterre will be free so that it does not hinder walking pedestrians visually. Its position and architecture are not an end in itself. It is the first of the small structures making the connection between the urbanized space of the city and the Hotel Intercontinental composition. They enter the newly designed area to enrich it with a new commercial and social layer, and they descend towards the Vltava along the extended Pařížská avenue.

The project also strives to give the newly revitalized square an inner charge and a clear definition. That should be achieved by the Czechoslovak Film Memorial, which will commemorate Czechoslovak film history and achievements. Its appearance will be determined by an expert board made up of representatives of Prague City Hall, the Czech Film Fund, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, film historians and makers. The Memorial should become a living, interactive place, a symbol of connecting Czechia with the world by means of film, symbolized by director Miloš Forman, after whom the square is named.

The extension of Pařížská avenue in front of the Hotel Intercontinental is nowadays an indifferent area without a character, with an unimpressive entrance to the hotel, otherwise devoid of purpose or character; the open area towards the river bank is filled with a modern swimming pool building, surrounded by an unintelligible assembly of rocks and greenery. Newly, it is a clear urban avenue, lined with trees on one side and a commercial parterre on the other. It will end and be extended with a piazzetta, descending to the Vltava bank level, to which it will connect via a tunnel made under the embankment road. Instead of the swimming pool and areas currently designed exclusively for hotel guests, there will be a new publicly accessible area covering more than 550 m2.

Dvořákovo embankment towards Svatopluka Čecha bridge is lined with a broad sidewalk with tree lines. That is a good foundation for completing and expanding the theme. The well-established pedestrian strip is retained and extended with a new point of interest: a restaurant on the hotel terraces, connected to the embankment with a footbridge.

Public traffic and parking capacity are nowadays a part of the hotel compound; the project envisages their retention, only adjusting the traffic regime. Thus, about 170 parking places will be ready for the public. The garage entrance will be newly from Dvořákovo embankment (the existing delivery entrance can be used for the garage as well without difficulty). That will remove the ramps accessed from Pařížská, which complicate pedestrian traffic and reduce the living value of Miloše Formana square. Conversely, the pedestrian entry and exit is moved from a remote area closer to the city centre, to the corner of Pařížská and Bílkova. Overall, the project focuses on eliminating collision spots and clarification of the traffic pattern with an accent on priority for pedestrians.

Nowadays, greenery in the area only consists of ground cover with several smaller trees on top of the garage ventilation structure, and a group of dwarf pines around the swimming pool. The utility importance of these green areas is very low, not to mention their urbanist value. The project envisages significant addition of urban greenery, a line of trees along Pařížská, a newly planted bosquet at the back of Miloše Formana square, work with greenery on both existing and newly designed roofs, and last but not least vertical flora at the terrace restaurant. The hotel gardens will also undergo a transformation. They will be newly established as fruit orchards, reminiscent of Old Town inner courtyards and gardens, with a backbone of traditional Czech species with a combination of ornamental and orchardry shrubs.

  • Studio

Hollarovo nám. 2275/2
130 00 Praha 3 – Vinohrady
50°4'37.402"N 14°28'38.598"E

  • Invoicing

TaK Architects s.r.o.
IČ: 28503864
VAT: CZ28503864

TaK Management s.r.o.
IČ: 07239033
VAT: CZ07239033

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