Prague presents the teams that made it to the finals of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall design competition

At the end of August 2021, the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) together with the City of Prague announced a competition for the new design of the concert hall. A total of 115 teams from 25 countries entered the competition.

"We were very pleased to see such a significant interest from Czech and international studios, which testifies to the prestige of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall project. There were many high-quality portfolios and it was not easy to select the final 15 teams. I am very pleased that we can finally officially share the list of names of the architectural teams that we will now approach to develop the design for the new Philharmonic Hall. The final 20 from 15 countries have work experience not only in the public but also in the private sector, and offer cultural diversity and diversity of opinion," said Michal Sedláček, chairman of the jury.

The advancing teams are ALA + OV-A, MVRDV, OFFICE KGDVS + Christ & Gantenbein, Mecanoo + CHYBIK+KRISTOF, Barozzi Veiga + Atelier M1, Sou Fujimoto Architects, Cobe + Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects, ŠÉPKA ARCHITEKTI + MANGADO Y ASOCIADOS, Foster + Partners, Bjarke Ingels Group, Henning Larsen Architects, Carrilho da Graça Arquitectos, JAJA Architects, Bevk Perovic Arhitekti, Petr Hájek Architekti. The selected studios will complement the five participants that Prague directly invited to develop proposals in August. The international architectural studios are Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Snøhetta, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, David Chipperfield Architects and SANAA. 18 million crowns will be distributed among the participants in the competition in sketch fees and prizes.

"Architectural competitions should be the standard for public buildings. This is the only way we can sensitively complement our city with modern architecture that emphasizes the use of public space. The candidates' work with this area therefore played a significant role in the jury's decision. After all, we want the Philharmonic Hall building and its surroundings to live on beyond the performances themselves. This means that it should not only be a tourist attraction, but also a place where Prague residents like to go often," said Mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hřib.

"It is important to stress that the competition itself is only part of the project preparation. In addition to the competition, the project continues with other work. For example, we have performed a vibration survey on the plot and participation of the public. And as soon as a new government is appointed, we are ready to negotiate with representatives of the state about its involvement in the project," comments Petr Hlaváček, First Deputy Mayor for Spatial Development and the Land Use Plan.

The building, with an estimated construction cost of approximately CZK 6 billion, will have several halls with top-quality acoustics and a perfect spatial design that meets 21st century standards. It will house both major Prague orchestras — the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the music department of the Municipal Library and other creative spaces, rehearsal rooms, music classrooms, etc. The Vltava Philharmonic Hall building will become a major impetus for the development of the Bubny-Zátory brownfield.

"Vltavská Street is a dismal area that will undergo a major transformation in the coming years, and the construction of the Philharmonic Hall will be the crowning glory of this transformation. Before the new Bubny-Zátory district is built, we are taking a number of steps that will already make Vltavská a people-friendly place now. At the moment, the underpasses at Vltavská have been transformed into a place for everyday sports," says Jan Čižinský, Mayor of Prague 7 and member of the City Council.

"The construction of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall is the project of the century and it is a pleasure to see that it enjoys significant support not only across the political spectrum, but as is clear from the sociological survey and our participation activities, also from the general public —both from Prague residents and regular visitors to cultural events," says Ondřej Boháč, Director of IPR Prague.

The final architectural design of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall will be selected in April 2022. The construction itself should start in 2027 and could be completed in 2031.

The expert jury consists of 11 members. In addition to the jury's chairman Michal Sedláček, its regular members include Andreas Cukrowicz, the author of the winning design for the concert hall in Munich, and Tina Saaby, former city architect of Copenhagen. Among the Czech representatives are Josef Pleskot, internationally acclaimed Czech architect, Martin Krupauer, architect and head of the design team of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall, Lubomír Zaorálek, current Minister of Culture, Zdeněk Hřib, Mayor of Prague, and Jan Čižinský, Mayor of Prague 7.