Oscar van Claer, Kay Boonstra and Erik Remishevsky

Architecture & Public Building

Cabinet of Wonder

The tensions and contrasts of the site frame the design process and the final result. While at first the dynamic tension of the city hub seems to urge for a reduction, after a more profound analysis this impression shifts towards the introduction of a new concentration of points of activity serving to get access to the new functions. Their image should be seen as a continuum of the existing public realm.

An interior public street which is making use of the same material as the existing streets of Prague, connects these new dynamic points with the existing urban fabric. The street also descends, offering the public a different perspective on the functions inside.

The functions and their masses are framed mostly by the voids and the orientation towards the sun. To empower the experience of wonder, the masses are slightly shifted in order to prevent the public to experience the building all at once. Most of all they intend to encourage wandering. Some building parts stand out to make a statement. By applying a different material than used for the fa├žade, these elements express their own identity.

A distinctive exterior wall forms the transition between the inside and the outside of the building. The wall is intended as a very static element and to provide for a feeling of protection. However, it also needs to attract the public to explore the inside and this requires the certain level of transparency. The thickness of the wall evokes a sense of insecurity, but provokes still sufficient curiosity to eventually pass and enter into an unexpected realm within the city. In its connection with the city, it becomes part of its urban fabric.