The cubicles at Prague’s Náplavka have been finished and turned over to the people who will start operating them in November. The new spaces will help with overcrowding on the waterfront, as it will give people a places to go inside of, rather than all crowding on the pavement.
In total there are 20 renovated cubicles along the waterfront on the Rašínovo nábřeží on the New Town side of the Vltava river and Hořejší nábřeží on the Smíchov side. The cubicles are actually horseshoe-shaped prisms, originally designed for storage.
The most notable feature of the cubicles is the large lens-shaped windows, which let in natural light. The windows, made of a synthetic polymer, were custom made in Thailand, and are the largest of their kind in the world. The last of the windows was installed in the middle of August.
The design for the new look of the Prague waterfront is architect Petr Janda and the Brainwork studio.
The cubicles are now open in a provisional regime. “I have no doubt that after the completion of the occupancy permit process and the transition to regular operation, The new establishments will quickly find their visitors and Náplavka will become alive in the coming winter season,” City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague), responsible for property, said. The lack of indoor spaces in the past has lead the waterfront to be underused in the cold months.
The cubicles will soon become three galleries, three studios, two workshops, a branch of the Municipal Library, and several cafes. Three new toilets will be available free of charge.
The Municipal Library branch will be focused on doing it yourself (DIY) with books on building and repairing, as well as some woodworking equipment and a 3D printer. It is the first of kind in the Czech Republic.
Another cubicle will be Repair cafe, which will have sewing machines and carpentry tools. People will be able to make wooden toys, for example. There will also be lessons.
Bajkazyl and the Avoid Gallery used to occupy some of the spaces before the renovation, and will now use the new locations. Bajkazyl is a bike repair shop and cafe, and Avoid Gallery is an art space.
Work on renovating the cubicles began last year, though the entire project for revitalizing the waterfront has taken a decade. It required four different administrative procedures in two city districts. Aside from the cubicles, new infrastructure was put in place, as well as new benches and trash receptacles.
The revitalization of the Prague river banks is one of Prague’s largest investments in public space in recent times. Costs have been estimated at approximately 87 million CZK for each embankment. Work and preparations took 19 months. Construction and technical support was carried out from February to November 2018, and the construction work itself began in December last year.
At the same time, Náplavka has become so popular that noise restriction and limitations on the number of large events have been put in place to decrease the disturbance to people who live in the area.