Text description provided by the architects. Five apartment buildings built on a former marina brownfield evoke the atmosphere of a local, “Libeň-style Amsterdam”. The houses are nested on a distinctive site, a narrow peninsula flanked by opposite green banks.
The transformation of the marina brownfield has turned the location into a pleasant contemporary residential area. As an articulation of tranquillity, the complex reflects on the surface of a river flowing through the vibrant city of Prague. Greenery and administrative buildings shield the residential area from trams and street noise. What makes the residential quality exceptional is the connectivity to cycleways, parks, and above all, the riverside life itself. Amongst popular activities are paddleboarding, fishing or sailing, and the river surface becomes a giant ice rink in winter. The neighbourhood offers full public facility infrastructure, including a theatre, parks or art studios.
The design by QARTA Architektura follows the concept of the regeneration of the entire former dock area. However, unlike previous housing development focused on green living, our design features a more urban character with a riverside and an internal street, naturally considering greenery an integral part of the house’s surroundings. Urbanism is based on the layout of the original docks. As the buildings follow the island’s shape in two rows, they form a street. The atmosphere of the street is co-created by spaces in front of the entrances and front gardens typically seen in the Netherlands, complemented with abundant greenery.
The apartment buildings are four-storey structures whose overall scale is reduced by glass-walled penthouses on the top floor. Thanks to them, the street features a pleasant, human-scale character. There are one hundred and fifty apartments divided into twelve entrances. Each resident shares the floor with a maximum of two neighbours; the living is personal, intimate and comfortable. The original mass of the peninsula unobtrusively hides an underground parking lot that holds one hundred and six cars. This solution required a water-proof underground structure, but structuring the buildings on the water surface required a complex technical solution in general.
The project includes a series of sophisticated flood-prevention systems, which we wanted to incorporate elegantly into the building’s design. The lower apartments are protected with tight retaining walls, further enhanced with a mobile flood-prevention system. Other safety elements installed in each house’s parterre help to complete the marina’s atmosphere. Those are, for instance, massive mooring rings for stabilising the boats in the marina if necessary.
The surrounding area invites the residents to spend their time outdoors. We put much emphasis on balconies and terraces or front gardens, which comfortably link the indoors with the outdoors. The balconies are generous and designed with respect to the intimacy and views of the area, and their design refers to flowing waves. The playful composition of the balconies shapes the specific visual effect of the apartment buildings.
The combination of the used materials – perforated metal panels and a roll-texture plaster is in harmony with the marina atmosphere too. This atmosphere is further evoked by the colour scheme of the façades which combines pearl varnishes in brass and silver shades with grey plaster. Specially developed metal panels made of self-supporting double shells emphasise the clean design of the “bubble perforation”, referring to the water surface. The steel mooring rings or piers serve as perfect functional accessories.
The west river bank is lined with a promenade. This freely accessible riverside connects to the surrounding public spaces, and quite contrary to the dynamic riversides in the Prague city centre, it retains an intimate character. Therefore, it is an ideal place for quiet mooring of boats, relaxation of locals and those coming to enjoy the specific atmosphere