The collaborative process of revitalizing Husuv Park in Prague

Čakovice is a small municipal district in the northeast of Prague, Czech Republic. The first mention of this village, with an area of ​​only 1019 hectares, is in the 11e century. It has since accumulated a wealth of material and historical culture, evident in some of its most important buildings. Gothic and neo-Romanesque churches are converted to Baroque; a Čakovec-style fortress is converted into a castle; and the creation of a 19e candy of the century leads to an economic boom. Husuv Park stands in the middle of the village square of Čakovice.

The revitalization of Husuv Park (also called Jan Hus Park) is a collaborative exercise between Prague-based design studios – Land 05, SKULL Studio and XTOPIX. The site has its roots, literally, in the dry basin of a historic pond, which dried up around the middle of the 20e century, at the time of the First Czechoslovak Republic. The restructuring process also involved the decimation of the houses by the pond, leaving behind a silhouette of gabled roofs until 2020. The memory of the newly demolished pond and gables is immortalized in this revival project .

View of the revitalized Husuv Park in Čakovice, Prague Image: Courtesy of Bet Orten

The three-pronged revitalization process includes not only reviving the public park, but also the construction of a surrounding wall and a body of water, executed respectively by Land 05 (Martina Forejtová), SKULL Studio (Matěj Hájek) and XTOPIX.

A statue of Czech philosopher and church reformer Jan Hus forms the focal point of the eponymous park. Behind the statue are seven rows of six apple trees each, symbolizing the flames that engulfed Hus when he was burned at the stake. Enclosed in a bamboo cage, this grid arrangement of trees and accompanying cages gives the appearance of a series of repetitive installations in the park.

A blackened brick walkway annotates the shape of the original pond, interspersed with boomerang-shaped concrete benches at walkway junctions. Benches and traditional lamps also line side walkways, with a patch of perennial flowerbeds. The seasonal variation presents a range of colors from spring to summer. In addition, streetlights are used to illuminate the treetops strewn throughout the park.

Apple tree facilities |  Husuv Park by Land 05, SKULL Studio and XTOPIX |  STIRworld
Apple tree facilities Image: Courtesy of Bet Orten

Towards the south, a central space is reserved for hosting small outdoor events, exhibitions, markets and shows. A series of wide steps to the west, together with the multipurpose area, create an amphitheater-like space. Beyond this amphitheater, to the south, extends the body of water leaning against the surrounding wall. The event zone itself acts as a threshold between the park and the water feature.

Black concrete benches scattered along the walkways |  Husuv Park by Land 05, SKULL Studio and XTOPIX |  STIRworld
Black concrete benches scattered along the walkways Image: Courtesy of Bet Orten

This piece of water, reminiscent of the old pond, is a metaphor for the water that serves to extinguish the symbolic flames that surround it. A peripheral wick brick pattern inscribed by a horizontally laid stretcher binding pattern raises the water feature by half a brick. Enclosed within this brick platform is the swimming pool – its periodically dropping water level reveals the message “Truth prevails”, etched into the black rim. The brick platform abuts the face of the brick perimeter wall behind it.

Amphitheater overlooking the pool and event space |  Husuv Park by Land 05, SKULL Studio and XTOPIX |  STIRworld
Amphitheater overlooking the pool and event space Image: Courtesy of Bet Orten

The linear wall, rhetorically called “Superpower Wall”, is somewhere between architecture and sculpture. The link of the English brick with alternating rows of crosspieces amplifies the linearity of the wall of this public space. The relief work on the wall takes its form from the outlines of ancient gabled roofs, reduced to a pattern of diagonal lines as a sculpture. Portions of the brick courtyards are strategically extruded to create silhouettes that attest to the presence of historical context. Matěj Hájek explains this concept: “It is a memory of what is no longer there, which nevertheless leaves its imprint on place and time.” But the Superpower Wall has another “superpower”, a titanium dioxide coating (a transparent nano-tech coating) that combines with UV rays to liquidate harmful substances. The photocatalytic properties of this coating thus purify the ambient air thanks to this process of liquidation.

A brick platform surrounds the pool |  Husuv Park by Land 05, SKULL Studio and XTOPIX |  STIRworld
A brick platform surrounds the pool Image: Courtesy of Bet Orten

The cumulative upgrade of Husuv Park is a cohesive celebration of the context in which it stands – natural, material and religious.

Relief work takes shape of old gable roofs |  Husuv Park by Land 05, SKULL Studio and XTOPIX |  STIRworld
Relief works take the form of old gable roofs Image: Courtesy of Bet Orten

project details

Last name: Husův Park

Location: Cakovice, Prague

Built-up area: 178m2

Landscape architect: Plot 05, Martina Forejtová

Superpower Wall: SKULL Studio, Matěj Hájek

Water feature: XTOPIX

Berta D. Wells