River City PraguePrague, Czech Republic Europolis Real Estate Asset Management GmbH ADNS, Architect-of-Record - Danube House, Masterplan; Atrea - Nile House Master Plan, Office 6 hectares/ 72,000 m2/ 774,900 ft2 ULI Award for Excellence, Office - Small-Scale Category (2005), Architectural Review MIPIM Future Project Prize - Office Category Winner (2003)
The River City master plan project responds to the identity of the city of Prague while reflecting the need for regeneration in the city’s increasingly run-down industrial fringe. The River Vlatava, which will soon be spanned by new bridges, is to one side of the site, while one of the main highways into the city is on the other. Two of the blocks of the development address the highway formally, using glazed atria as buffers to its noise and pollution, while a new central boulevard forms the spine of the development.
The Danube House, the first project to be realized within the master plan, comprises office, retail and parking requirements. Offices look directly into the core of the site or towards the river where there is a tree-lined public promenade. The naturally-ventilated atria are essentially public in character, and are animated by banks of elevators. The project mixes natural stone cladding with areas of curtain wall, demonstrating continuity with the local tradition. The scheme acts as both an urban marker and a gateway to the city center, and finds dignity in the preservation of those roles.
Nile House, the second project at River City, is located on an irregularly shaped site between the road and the river. Noise and air pollution are mitigated by a large glazed atrium along the southern, roadside edge of the building which provides an environmental buffer for the office floors. Arranged in a U-shaped configuration, the office areas include generous reception and meeting spaces with atrium or river views. The atrium serves as the social center of the building and has been designed to be as lightweight and energy efficient as possible.
Bridges inside the atria offer glimpses of the circulation and daily activities of occupants. The external design of the building is a response to the character of Prague, a place where history and modernity meet and where the heaviness of the medieval is balanced by the airy lightness of the Gothic. The large, transparent, lightweight structures of the glass atria, which are set like crystals into solid stone volumes, create an appropriate sense of scale for the stone surfaces facing Karlin.