The revitalization of the lower part of Prague’s Wenceslas Square will begin next spring, and Prague City Hall has selected winner of the public contract for the work. The upper part, near the National Museum, will be done separately.
Hochtief CZ won the tender with a bid price of approximately 270 million CZK without VAT. The winning bidder was approved by the City Council.
City Hall said that Praguers can look forward to a brand new and modern public space, which will include, in addition to a venue for cultural events, new alleys and sidewalks. Part of the revitalization will be, among other things, construction readiness for possible future location of the tram line. Work in the lower part of Wenceslas Square should be completed by the end of 2021.
The long-planned renovation of the lower part of Wenceslas Square is intended to resolve the “partially unsatisfactory condition” of this key area of the capital. The concept of modifications is based on an architectural competition that took place in 2005. The aim is to carry out a comprehensive renovation that will meet the urban-architectural requirements, including the new location of utilities.
“I am glad that we fulfill another important promise given to voters, namely the revitalization of Wenceslas Square. Finally, ‘Václavák’ will begin to serve his original function, as a square without unnecessary barriers and open more to people,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) said in a press release.
The central lane of the square is primarily designed as a free space that can be used for temporary seasonal events. The work will also include infrastructure preparations on the square for possible future implementation of a tram route. On both sides of the square there will be expanded sidewalks with double alleys, which will be supplemented with drainage elements.
“With the decision, we have significantly moved the implementation of the revitalization of the lower part of Wenceslas Square. The aim of the revitalization is to create a modern square in the center of the metropolis, which can offer visitors an attractive pleasant environment in which all necessary urban functions meet in a balanced proportion. Given the size and complexity of this space, construction work is planned in two stages — the first stage with the lower part of Wenceslas Square will begin in the spring of next year,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček (United Force for Prague) said.
Prague received building permit to renovate the lower part of Wenceslas Square at the end of January 2018, following a zoning permit in September 2017.
Renovations will touch the area bordered by Na Příkopě and 28. října Streets on one side and Vodičková and Jindřišská Streets on the other.
The renovation plan includes water sprinklers, more trees and recharging stations for electric vehicles. The area will get a new look with wider sidewalks to be more inviting to the public.
Pedestrian space will expand considerably, with a loss of dozens of parking spaces, leaving only space for sixteen cars. Asphalt will be replaced by granite pavement and another row of trees.
The greenery will be irrigated by an automatic system, and six spots will be created for market stalls. The plan calls for underground containers and recharging stations for electric cars. There will also be a place for a Christmas tree.
The original proposal from 2005 to transform Wenceslas Square was created in collaboration with the Cigler Marani Architects studio (now Jakub Cigler Architekti) and the DUA Atelier. The idea was firstr raised in the 1990s. Since 2005, there have been a series of delays. In part, the Prague 1 district and the City could not reach an agreement in the past. The new administrations have been more cooperative.
A revised version of the plan was approved by the City Council in October. “It is a priority for us to refurbish Wenceslas Square as a project on paper. The bottom part of the square will begin to change as early as next spring. We have set ourselves to transform Prague’s major squares for the better. After Malostranské, Karlovo, Vítězné and Mariánské [náměstí], now it’s Wenceslas Square’s turn,” Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček (United Force for Prague) said at the time.
Work on the upper part could begin in 2022, and will include new tram tracks.
Wenceslas Square, called Václavské náměstí in Czech, dates back to the mid-1300s, and historically was a horse market. It has been the scene of many historic moments such as the reading out of a document declaring independence in 1918, the main site of the Soviet invasion in 1968 and the famous ringing of keys in 1989 as part of the Velvet Revolution.