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OLD TOWN COURT TO BE REVITALISED

Publikované dňa: 22. 9. 2011 11:37 OBECNÍ DVŮR

The Old Town Court (Obecní Dvůr) in a picturesque location not far from Haštalské náměstí in Prague’s Old Town is finally, after many years, going to undergo reconstruction and overall revitalisation. The complex of historical buildings with a total useable space of more than 2000 m2, which was owned by the City of Prague until 2008 and then by several private companies, was left to gradually fall into disrepair until Around Inside purchased if from its last owner this July. Around Inside intends to sensitively reconstruct the complex for the purpose of luxury family housing, thereby returning life to this locality with a genius loci that was called the “Pražská Stínadla” (Prague Shadowlands) according to Jaroslav Foglar’s popular Rychlé šípy (Rapid Arrows) books. One of the world’s most famous modern architects, Ricardo Bofill, will be contributing to the project, together with Czech architects TaK. The general designer will be the Czech company AED project.

The Old Town Court is located in the Na Františku section of the Old Town and it is bordered by Kozí, U Milosrdných and U Obecního dvora streets. Complicated ownership relationships and, in recent years, the economic crisis resulted in the fact that both the exterior and interiors of the buildings are in a critical state of disrepair. The history of this collection of one Classicist and three Baroque buildings goes back to the 15th to the 18th centuries. It is almost a miracle that the buildings escaped the demolition that took place in Prague during the "Prague Renewal" in the 19th and 20th centuries, whose goal was the radical rebuilding and modernisation of the city centre. Throughout their existence, the buildings have primarily been used for operational purposes. For example stables for the municipal horses, fire-fighter facilities, technical services and facilities for the ambulances of the nearby Na Františku Hospital were all located here at various times in the past.

The complex was hit by the flood in August 2002 and since then the buildings have been empty. The magic of the entire area is well-known to readers of Jaroslav Foglar's books, allegedly becoming the model for the Rychlé šípy books. The Czech painter Josef Mánes and Austrian mathematician and physicist Christian Doppler also spent part of their lives in the Old Town Court.

Around Inside spent more than a year on the acquisition of the project. The purchase transaction itself took place this July. The project has a valid zoning and planning decision; the construction documents will be adapted according to the new design that the world-renowned Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill is preparing. Bofill's previous work includes one of the Barcelona airport terminals, the School of Music for Rice University in Houston and the Lazona Kawasaki Plaza shopping centre in Tokyo. Ricardo Bofill has also designed several residential projects in France, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands. "Prague has succeeded to preserve its historical centre as an eclectic piece of art. The city, built of sequential layers over the centuries, has the most beautiful city centre in Central Europe," stated Ricardo Bofill. "The Obecní Dvůr represents a microcosm that should be both preserved and renovated. While respecting its character and Genius Loci, our work consists in transforming the place into a comfortable and modern space, technologically adapted to modern-day requirements," he added.

The tentative time schedule for the implementation of the project assumes that the building permit will be issued next November. The revitalisation and reconstruction should be completed in roughly three years. The sale of the flats will begin in the first quarter of next year.

"We are aware of the Old Town Court's tragic fate over the last twenty years, and therefore this revitalisation is not only a project for us but also a commitment to a unique site in this historical part of Prague. We believe that in the coming years the Old Town Court will become a place that will bring life back to the Old Town and perhaps it will even become an inspiration for the revival of other decaying historical buildings in the centre of the city," stated Catherine Nardin, the Executive Director of Around Inside.

Around Inside, the project's investor and developer, currently has the ongoing revitalisation of blocks of flats on Všehrdova Street and on Masarykovo nábřeží in Prague 1 in its portfolio.

For more information please contact:

Crest Communications, a.s.
PhDr. Kamila Čadková
Account Director
Tel.: + 420 222 927 111
Gsm : + 420 731 613 609
e-mail: kamila.cadkova@crestcom.cz
www.crestcom.cz

Crest Communications, a.s.
Jana Bakešová
Account Manager
Tel.: + 420 222 927 111
Gsm : + 420 731 613 604
e-mail: jana.bakesova@crestcom.cz
www.crestcom.cz

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