In a city as renowned for its historic buildings as Prague, urban change can often be hard to come by – which is why the announcement earlier this month that Zaha Hadid Architects will be designing a large complex of buildings around a railway station close to the city's historic center was big news. But is this the design that Prague needs? In this interview, originally published in Czech by Česká televize, Michaela Polakova speaks to Martin Barry, the Chairman of Prague-based NGO reSITE, for his analysis of how the design will impact the city's future.
Michaela Polakova: What is your opinion on the new Zaha Hadid Architects building in Prague?
Martin Barry: To me, it seems is too early to comment on the aesthetics of the buildings. We should focus on how the collection of buildings enhances the urban character of the city, and how they can improve the urban condition around the buildings. The city is a collection of buildings; the spaces between are what influence people’s lives; not so much the materials and forms of the architecture. That being said, this is a major development site and relatively large footprint of buildings from ZHA adjacent to the historic center of the city. So, we should pay close attention to how the designs develop. At present, it is clear that it is early and they need work.