The reinforced concrete skeleton of the two buildings we are constructing at Masaryk Railway Station in the centre of Prague has reached its highest point. We first presented British architect Zaha Hadid’s multifunctional building project to the public six years ago, and the building itself began to grow along Na Florenci Street in March last year.
“First were the concrete piles, which secure the building statics. We started with them in November 2020. The fundation desk was finished a year ago. Aside from various preparatory work, the construction of each floor of the nine-storey building took about 23 days,” says Pavel Streblov, Penta Real Estate’s director of commercial construction. According to him, the structural work cost 600 million crowns. It is clear from the concrete skeleton that this is this is an atypical building. Each floor is different, the floors are staggered in a fan-like arrangement so that cascading terraces can be created. The load-bearing structure was created with great precision, due to the façade which will be the most complicated part of the building. “The façade is more a work of art than a building element,” says Mr Streblov. The installation of its individual parts will begin over the summer, although the completion of the unusual cladding of the half-billion-crown buildings is not expected until June next year. The anchors for fastening the individual pieces of the façade will be ready in April and May this year, but the the yearlong precision work will actually take an entire year Their assembly must have millimetre accuracy because of the materials used, as these pieces are essentially finished items. For its implementation, Penta Real Estate chose the company Sipral, which has experience with similarly demanding projects. Examples are La Defense Arena in Paris or the Frank Vuitton Foundation of Frank Gehry. The third most expensive area is the technology used in the buildings, which will cost 300 million crowns.
A total of 21,000 square meters of office space will be created in the buildings, the first two floors of which will offer 6,000 m2 for shops and restaurants. “Half of the space is already leased, we are discussing the rest. There is still considerable interest in the centre of Prague, having an office or shop in premium buildings attracts world-famous architects, despite the high rental price, which has reached EUR 28 per square metre,” adds Streblov.
During several years of discussions with experts and the public, the multifunctional buildings have undergone a number of changes. We have had to reduce the original project by an entire floor, the symbolic tower made of golden slats has also been partially cut. From there, the height of the buildings decreases in steps towards Karlín. For a long time, the final appearance of the façade of organic shapes, which are typical for Zaha Hadid, was also sought. On the one hand, it was necessary to meet the requirements of conservationists in particular, but the limits of the change were still held by the London office of Zaha Hadid Architects, which is continuously proposing partial modifications to the project. If the buildings are to bear the name of an iconic architect, her handwriting must not be lost in detail either. Maximizing green spaces is a significant positive element of the discussions. The green terraces and roof gardens add up to 4,200 m2, and the 25-meter sloping strips of various plants that are part of the façade will also be significant. The effort to essentially reduce the heat island and contribute to the sustainable concept of the site is the reason why the project received pre-certification of the environmental standard LEED Platinum. Both buildings should be completed in the second half of next year. By the end of next summer, Penta Real Estate, together with the city, will also substantially expand Na Florenci Street, and the car park at Masaryk Railway Station will be transformed into a square with new metro entrances. The total cost of the project, which should be completed in the second half of next year, should reach CZK 2.5 billion.
We first presented the large brownfield urban study of the Masaryk Railway Station development by Zaha Hadid Architects in May 2016. After initial favourable responses, the study became the subject of heated social discussion. Last year, together with ČSAD Praha holding, with the support of the Institute of Planning and Development of the Capital City of Prague, we announced a new urban competition for part of the land at the Florenc bus station. Its winner was a team consisting of architectural studios UNIT architects, A69 - architects and MARKO & PLACEMAKERS. Penta Real Estate obtained a building permit for two buildings from Zaha Hadid in the immediate vicinity of Masaryk Railway Station in February 2021. We plan to invest a total of CZK 10 billion in the entire development area.