Aulík Fišer Architekti’s Bor̆islavka Center Reflects Prague’s History

Evropská, a major thoroughfare connecting the center of Prague to the main airport, has seen many developments (head office and other imposing buildings) over the past decades. But in planning to add a new office and retail center to Broad Street, KKCG Real Estate Group envisioned a facility that not only satisfied commercial interests, but also improved the livability quotient of the surrounding residential area. , a heterogeneous mix of family villas, mid-rise apartment buildings, and even a communist-era housing estate. “Besides the commercial functions of the complex, our main objective was to complement the utilities and amenities in the catchment area,” said CEO Petr Pujman.

An international competition led the developer to engage a like-minded local practice, Aulik Fiser Architekti, to design the proposed center. “We considered that the greatest strength of the file was the ambition to reach out and help improve neighboring areas,” admits Jan Aulík, co-director with Jakub Fišer of the company. For the client and the architects, the common goal was to provide the community with a vibrant urban complex offering amenities, cafes, restaurants and shops in the form of a refined public space – a contemporary reinterpretation of small squares and intimate squares that make the Czech Republic. the capital’s famous historic district is an eternal delight.

The complex is located on a main thoroughfare connecting the center of town with the main airport.

The positives of the cramped 4.2-acre site – a prime location just above the Bor̆islavka metro station, for which the center is named, as well as panoramic views of the city, including the iconic Prague – were offset by its awkward triangular shape and uneven topography. Aulík Fišer delved into historic street plans, which not only revealed the evolution of this original terrain, but also suggested ways to solve its problems. “We used the existing geometry, developed it further and reopened the passage through the site,” says Fišer. “Then we subdivided the site into self-similar fractal segments” – treating it, in other words, as if it were a micro-district in an old town done in modern architectural terms, which include meeting today’s environmental and sustainability requirements.

The resulting 751,000 square foot complex comprises four faceted volumes resting on a two-story stone clad plinth. The latter, which contains a partially underground shopping mall, addresses the street’s elevation changes, integrating the center into the surrounding cityscape while providing a base for the quartet of glass-clad office structures. Irregular crystalline forms, up to seven stories high, are carefully positioned to create narrow lanes and small open spaces between them, a permeable civic enclosure whose scale and function are reassuring and exciting.
modern in execution and style.

Acacia wood poles covered with moss, orchids and other epiphytic plants form an installation in the largest hall.
Acacia wood poles covered with moss, orchids and other epiphytic plants form an installation in the largest hall.

A small pre-existing piazza has been transformed into a piazzetta, which provides barrier-free access to the entire complex and the vestibule of the metro station. Czech-Argentinean artist Federico Díaz has created a monumental sculpture for this entrance courtyard, a towering assemblage of robot-engineered high-performance concrete that suggests ancient figures formed from sedimentary rock. This is reflected in the structural glass of the multi-angle facades, which is formulated to transmit sufficient daylight to the interiors while avoiding unwanted levels of solar glare to the exterior.

Individual buildings are set in leafy, stepped gardens, while lobbies and public spaces are filled with lush greenery, including climbing plants that grow in atriums and other sky-high spaces. Inspired by tropical rainforests, an experimental form of indoor planting was specially designed for the project: in the largest hall, 76 roughly hewn acacia wood poles the size of small trees rise in a group of clearings at from a pool of shallow water, their trunks festooned with orchids, moss and other epiphytic plants – a whiff of the jungle that is repeated on a smaller scale elsewhere in the complex. “It’s not just vegetation, but a living, changing work of art,” says Zdenĕk Sendler, a landscape architect who collaborated on the project.

Part of the mall is underground, where the stretched membrane ceiling is 100% recyclable.
Part of the mall is underground, where the stretched membrane ceiling is 100% recyclable.

The abundance of greenery is complemented by an extensive program of commissioned artworks and large-scale installations. Chief among these is The Iceberg, a diaphanous and luminous arrangement of 120 slabs of molten glass that emerge from the main reception area’s timber-slatted ceiling like the softly shining peaks of an inverted mountain range. Designed by Maxim Velc̆ovský, it is the largest piece that the innovative Czech glass studio Lasvit has ever produced.

However, the Bor̆islavka Center is not all about gardens and art. The four crystals house fine offices, much of which is occupied by the KKCG Group and its associated divisions. (In a twist, the company sold the complex earlier this year and became a tenant of its own development.) Aulík Fišer balances the interiors’ elegantly uniform fittings and furnishings – branded products characteristic of the corporate workplace. modern all over the world – with handcrafted elements and pieces that bring a sense of individuality and surprise. And there’s often a natural rawness to the materials, finishes, colors and textures the team has chosen to use throughout.

Biophilia extends beyond aesthetics: through expansive green roofs, sophisticated rainwater management systems, elevator energy recovery equipment, heat exchangers and a host of other eco-friendly features, the entire resort has achieved LEED Gold certification, affirmation that this crystal palace shines. in more ways than one.

In a conference room, sleek corporate furniture is juxtaposed with wooden slats on the ceiling and walls and a hand-blown glass pendant lamp.
In a conference room, sleek corporate furniture is juxtaposed with wooden slats on the ceiling and walls and a hand-blown glass pendant light.
The Iceberg, an arrangement of slabs of molten glass that emerge from the reception's slatted ceiling, is the largest work ever produced by the Lasvit glassworks.
The Iceberg, an arrangement of slabs of molten glass that emerge from the reception’s slatted ceiling, is the largest work ever produced by the Lasvit glassworks.
A walkable skylight located in the entrance piazzetta illuminates an escalator leading to the mall and metro entrance.
A walkable skylight located in the entrance piazzetta illuminates an escalator leading to the mall and metro entrance.
The heavily textured walls of a seating area are reminiscent of geological streaks.
The heavily textured walls of a seating area are reminiscent of geological streaks.
Extensive glazing and backlit membrane ceilings keep the interior office spaces light and airy.
Extensive glazing and backlit membrane ceilings keep the interior office spaces light and airy.
Czech typographer Vojtech Ríha helped develop a custom font for the center's signage and branding.
Czech typographer Vojtech Ríha helped develop a custom font for the center’s signage and branding.
Glass and steel are treated with remarkable fluidity in a bespoke spiral staircase connecting two levels in the main building.
Glass and steel are treated with remarkable fluidity in a bespoke spiral staircase connecting two levels in the main building.
Seen from below, the spiral staircase looks like a whimsical oculus.
Seen from below, the spiral staircase looks like a whimsical oculus.
The office buildings sit on a stone clad plinth dotted with public spaces that mimic the plazas, plazas and passageways of historic European city centres.
The office buildings sit on a stone clad plinth dotted with public spaces that mimic the plazas, plazas and passageways of historic European city centres.
The steel ribbon around which the spiral staircase turns becomes an autonomous sculptural element at a lower level.
The steel ribbon around which the spiral staircase turns becomes an autonomous sculptural element at a lower level.
Aerial, a sculptural installation by Federico Díaz, guards the entrance to the Bor˘islavka Centre, an office and retail complex in Prague designed by Aulík Fišer Architekti.
Aerial, a sculptural installation by Federico Díaz, guards the entrance to the Bor̆islavka Centre, an office and retail complex in Prague designed by Aulík Fišer Architekti.
While forming an integrated whole, each of the complex's four crystalline buildings has a unique shape.
While forming an integrated whole, each of the complex’s four crystalline buildings has a unique shape.

GROUP PROJECT
Aulik Fiser Architekti: leoš horák; jakub hemzal; Gabriela Kralova; david zalabak; alena sedlakova; petra coufal skalicka; eva maškova; jan dluhoš; ondrej cerný; petra merkova; Oleksandr Nebozhenko; vojtech stamberg; kristýna zámostná
matouš hydroponics; sender zdenek: landscape consultants
novecon; pbw group: interior fittings
ruby project management: construction manager
feri; metrostav; zakladani staveb: general contractors

SOURCES OF PRODUCTS

FORWARD
Dupont: office solid surface (reception)
lasvit: ceiling installation
Studio Perspective: furniture (mall)

THROUGH
spiral: glazed facades
allegro; barrisol; kovprof: ceilings
llentab: skylights
exx; hormen; light: lighting
jež: stone cladding, paving
boca: carpet
douglas hunter; pure style: blinds

Berta D. Wells