Prague takes steps toward modern Vltava Philharmonic concert hall in Holešovice

A modern concert hall would be part of the new Bubny–Zátory district in Prague 7

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 20.08.2020 11:52 (updated on 30.10.2020)

Prague has taken an important step toward the construction of the planned Vltava Philharmonic concert hall in Prague’s Holešovice district. A consortium led by the world-famous Henning Larsen studio has won the competition to prepare a feasibility analysis. Its results will be used to decide on whether to take Vltava Philharmonic project to the next stages.

Prague is considering placing a modern hall in the Bubny–Zátory location, near the Vltavská metro stop. It would be part of the gradual revitalization of the neglected section of Prague 7–Holešovice. The city’s intention is to make it a new city district that is attractive to locals and foreign tourists.

The Henning Larsen studio together with Buro Happold and AEA Consulting won the the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) tender to prepare a feasibility study, and a contract has already been signed.

The consortium will prepare a comprehensive analysis of economic costs, including operating costs, and present various options for using the new building. The study will also suggest options for the hall’s concept and its placement on the left bank of the Vltava.

vltava philharmonic site
Proposed site for the Vltava Philharmonic hall / via IPR Praha

The analysis will be completed at the end of 2020, and the Prague City Hall will then decide whether to give the final green light to this project.

The consortium members have extensive experience in both the preparation and creation of concert hall in Europe such as the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík, the Danish National Opera in Copenhagen, and the building of the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice.

“Modern architecture in Prague cannot end only at the Dancing House. We don’t want to have an open-air museum in our city. I would like to see other buildings of world importance arise here. I believe that the new concert hall could be such a building,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) said.

Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček (United Force for Prague), responsible for territorial development, said the concert hall would be a gift to future generations. “The prestige and experience of the consortium led by Henning Larsen with similar projects around the world is a guarantee for us of quality analysis, which will help us in further decisions. Not only does Prague need a modern concert hall, it also deserves it,” he said.

bubny
Concept for the Bubny-Zátory district, with the concert hall on the riverbank / via IPR Praha

“However, we want to be careful, so first we have a detailed analysis of whether we will continue with the next stages or not. I am glad that the capital has chosen the winner of the competition to study the usability of the new concert hall. This is the first step in building it. For the development of culture in Prague, the construction of a new concert hall is absolutely crucial,” he said.

Andrew Lang, business development coordinator at Henning Larsen Architects, said he looks forward to the project. “We are proud to be able to work with Prague to develop an analysis of the feasibility of the new concert hall. Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a place rich in history and culture, and it is a great honor to contribute to this heritage,” he said.

Prague City Hall chose to prepare a detailed analysis in this early stage due to the size and complexity of the planned Vltava Philharmonic project. Prague wants to have as much comprehensive data as possible before approving a project that will require hundreds of millions of crowns in investments.

bubny
Planned new Bubny-Zátory district / via IPR Praha

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The initial modern plan to build a concert hall dates back to 2010, while the idea of building a new concert hall first appeared in the 1930s.

If the Prague City Council decides on continuing project preparations, then work will begin on the next stages. In the second phase, an architectural competition will be announced and then project documentation for the selection of the contractor should be prepared. The third phase includes the construction itself.

According to the preliminary schedule, construction could start in 2027. The completion of the building is planned for 2032. The investment costs have not yet been precisely quantified.

Henning Larsen was founded and headquartered in Copenhagen, and has branches and projects around the world. In addition to architecture, it specializes in landscape, interior and graphic design. This will be its first significant activity in Prague. Buro Happold provides consulting, engineering and design services in the field of construction. AEA Consulting is a multinational company that processes financial models or analysis of buildings and their subsequent operation.

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This is not the only modern concert hall project underway in the Czech Republic. Ostrava Concert Hall, designed by Steven Holl Architects, should open in 2024 and be home to the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra.