Ian Ritchie Architects, together with Compass Architects and Marko and Placemakers, were awarded second place in the New ŽiŽkov Centre two-stage international competition organised by Central Group in Prague. The competition brief was to design a new mixed-use centre with up to 1200 homes. The architect-planner led jury praised the team’s creation of a memorable civic city quarter within a permeable and easy to navigate environment that would enhance the everyday life of its inhabitants.
The team’s concept for CNZ creates a new typology for an intelligent and sensitive ‘City Centre’ while fulfilling requirements for urban density and environmental sustainability.
It draws upon what we know about our human needs for green space, sensory richness, and feelings of connectedness with each other and the environment to counteract the ordinary stresses of urban life. New street typologies, communal courtyards and a rich variety of forms and accommodation delivered a desirable, human-centred social and cultural urban landscape with the adaptability to evolve with the developer’s needs and the desires of future users.
The concept for the new residential CNZ also provides a template for future developments. It is diverse in scale and typology, conceived as three low-rise residential courtyard blocks and three towers, in a coherent overall framework within which the individual blocks are interchangeable. The public realm is a fully integrated, interlinked, permeable urban landscape with strong connections to public transport and neighbouring parts of the city. The street typology is car-free and pedestrian focussed. Tree-lined residential streets, community gardens, urban parks and recreation areas provide seasonal variety and sensory richness in a welcoming, active and liveable city quarter.