Three practices have been appointed to the design team for Oaks Prague, a new rural residential development located in the commune of Popivičky, close to the city of Prague. John Pawson, Richard Meier + Partners and Eva Jiřičná with AI-Design have drawn up design proposals for key buildings for the scheme, which is managed by the Czech development company Arendon. In November last year, ten practices were shortlisted in a competition to design housing schemes for the €400 million, 220-home "residential and lifestyle development" in Popivičky.
The entire development, which has previously been master-planned by EDSA assisted by Chapman Taylor and John Thompson & Partners, "responds to the form, layout and vernacular of the surrounding Czech villages."
Richard Meier + Partners have contributed designs for an apartment building "comprised of several clustered structures with varying elevations in response to the site’s undulating topography," accommodating "residential units with fully glazed eight metre wall-to-wall spans, as well as a fitness well-being centre with an indoor pool." According to Meier, "the work which we have done in the Czech Republic began over ten years ago with the design of the master plan of the Pankrác Plain, which included the construction of the 'City' project. [...] It is exciting for us to contribute to the extraordinary local design sensibilities of Czech culture."
Adjacent to Meier's building will be "a low, gabled villa" designed by Czech architect Eva Jiřičná, "which interweaves modern architecture and Czech tradition." In partnership with Prague’s AI-Design, Jiřičná’s villa is massed in three main volumes, with a titanium zinc sheet clad roof and a façade rendered in white stucco." The house includes a range of open and private spaces: "the eastern wing accommodates a large communal living area with a full-height attic ceiling and suspended mezzanine, which can act as private office space. Other private spaces in the home include a wine cellar, basement and gym, which are each connected by a glass footbridge." For Jiřičná "it is a privilege to contribute to this unique development in my home country and to be part of such a dynamic team of designers."
At the centre of the 'village' is a scheme by John Pawson "which responds to the rich history of the site by integrating a 19th century chateau and farmstead into a new mixed-use complex." Comprised of a hotel, spa, restaurant and club house, the design "reinstates the chateau’s original courtyard form by reconstructing two barns and a new-build concrete structure." According to Pawson, "I’ve been working in the Czech Republic for more than a decade and a half. Over the years you develop a strong sense of connection with a place. It’s exciting to have this new opportunity to make a piece of architecture that brings together contemporary and historic elements."