Prague seeks new design for transport stops

The new stops will follow after contests for benches, bins and bike racks

The look of public transportation stops for trams and buses in Prague is set to change. The city is starting a competition for new designs. The stops should protect against bad weather and also simplify passenger orientation. Another key element is an attractive design that reflects the local environment.

The design contest was announced by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) together with the Prague City Hall. The deadline for applications to participate is April 18, and actual proposals are due at the end of June. The contest results will be announced in December.

This contest follows after new designs have been selected for the city’s benches, litter bins and bicycle racks.

“I'm glad we are not standing still, and that we continue to cultivate public spaces in Prague. After benches, litter bins and bicycle racks, we will also choose a new design for the transport stops. Approximately 2,000 stops will gradually go through a transformation. I firmly believe that we will find a design, that is sensitive, modern but also tasteful and timeless," Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) said in a press release.

The new stops should have simple maintenance, be resistant to vandalism and have a universal and timeless design. The replacement of the existing transport stop shelters and railings will be gradual, as with the winning design for benches, trash cans and bicycle racks, the IPR stated.

“The priority will be given to stops that need an immediate replacement or to locations without any infrastructure at all. We already know of over 350 such places," IPR director Ondřej Boháč said.

The objective, according to the IPR website, is to find a refined form for both elements, so that they correspond visually to each other, are functional and allow for design variations so they can be tailored to the requirements of each stop and site in the city. The purpose is also for both stops and rails to satisfy “modern design, functionality and durability requirements.”

This competition will be a little unusual since the negotiation procedure with publication is not anonymous. The advantage, according to the IPR, is that the commission, invited experts and the contracting authority can communicate with the participants in the process.

The design of the shelter and the railing is technically more demanding. Feedback during the process can help to improve the design.

The procedure has three phases: the first phase is the announcement, and the second phase with the best three to six proposals received. The winner will be selected during the third phase, which is planned for November this year, IPR stated. The results will be shown a month later.

The competition for benches, bins and bike stands was won by Michal Froněk and Jan Němeček of the firm Artěl at the end of October 2017. Mayor Krnáčová called it a key step in correcting “the ill-fated condition of the Prague streets.”

The winning designs were praised for their simplicity and for being “traditional and contemporary at the same time.”

The first new benches and baskets should appear in the streets at the end of 2018 with the most problematic ones being replaced. It will start in the city center and gradually go throughout the city. This does not mean that there will be unified furniture throughout the city: for specific public spaces, it will be possible to design different furniture.

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