Vítězné náměstí to be redesigned

An international competition will be announced to find a new layout

Vítězné náměstí will get a new look. The square, actually more like a circle, is a central point in Prague 6 but much of it is not used to its potential. The changes, though, will likely take years before they are implemented as the process is in the earliest stages.

The Prague Institute for Planning and Development (IPR) will announce an international urban planning competition for Vítězné náměstí. City Hall has set April 15 as the deadline for the announcement. There will be two rounds in the design competition. The results should be known in October. Prizes and reimbursements are set at Kč 3.3 million.

“The design should revive the neighborhood of Vítězné náměstí, but at the same time, it should respect the basic principles of Professor [Antonín] Engel's original plan. I believe that this challenge will attract a lot of interesting suggestions from the Czech Republic and from abroad,” IPR director Ondřej Boháč said in a press release. Antonín Engel was an urban planner in Prague during the First Republic. He made the original designs for Vítězné náměstí in 1921–23.

The competition will address public spaces and the complicated transport links in the square, which has trams, buses and a metro stop as well as significant vehicle traffic. The traffic situation at Vítězné náměstí has deteriorated in recent years due to the opening of the Blanka tunnel.

At the same time, the layout of the square itself does not create a pleasant environment for Prague 6 inhabitants. The unclear traffic crossings create a constant risk of accidents involving cars and pedestrians. The urban design competition should find the best possible solution to eliminate these problems, according to City Hall.

“The main goal of the competition is to calm the transport situation and return the square to the inhabitants of Prague. It should create a square where it is possible to sit under the trees or switch between the subway, a bus or a tram,” Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Green) said on the City Hall website.

The proposed two-round competition will allow the participation of a wide range of participants. The jury will include Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) and Deputy Mayor Kolínská, representing the city administration. British architect Peter Heath, who worked on plans for London’s Trafalgar Square is preliminarily confirmed to participate.

City Hall has created a working group to make the requirements for the area. The working group consists of representatives of City Hall, Prague 6, IPR, Czech Technical University (ČVUT) and University of Chemistry and Technology (VŠCHT). Both schools have buildings in the area and have an interest in making the commute to the schools efficient.

The working group’s recommendations will be central to the process of preparing the competition.

Vítězné náměstí, which means Victory Square, was named in 1925 and it refers to the victory of the Czech people in 1918 in acquiring independent statehood. The name was changed during World War II to náměstí Branné moci. It was changed again to presidenta Edvarda Beneše from 1946 to 1952. For the rest of the communist era it was náměstí Velké říjnové socialistické revoluce, or náměstí Říjnové revoluce (October Revolution Square) for short. In 1990 it returned to its original name.

It is not the only square getting a makeover. Work on Malostranské náměstí should finally start in 2019 to turn it into a pedestrian zone with limited traffic. Permits should be issued this year. An archeological survey will také place before the construction work.

A permit has also finally been issued to allow work on the lower part of Wenceslas Square. The plan to renovate that area had been stalled since 2005.

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