Flower House gets building permit

Prague's Wenceslas Square will see a new office and retail building

The large hole on Prague's Wenceslas Square can finally be used for the construction of a new building. A valid building permit has been issued to developer Flow East for the corner of Wenceslas Square and Opletalova Street.

Main construction on planned mixed-use Flower House (Květinový dům) should be finished by the fall of next year, and it should be fully ready by the start of 2020.

The new building, with offices and retail shops, will be built by Metrostav, who won the tender.

The building is planned to be energy efficient and ecological and should meet the BREEAM “Excellent” standard when it is complete.

The building will feature the latest energy-saving systems and more than 19,500 sqm of premium office and retail premises, according to information provided by Flow East.

It will have nine above ground and three underground floors. Two of the three underground floors will be for parking, and the last one will have technical equipment that can't be placed on the roof.

Heating and cooling will use new systems that redistribute heat when possible, rather than create new heat of cold air.

An interesting feature of the new building will be the curved glass façade. A Czech company will be the supplier for the bent glass.

Flow East has owned Václavské náměstí 47 since 1994. The developer first proposed the idea of a new building in 2011 and a design was unveiled in 2013.

The firm said that renovating the previous building was not an option due to structural problems They also claim it was not architecturally significant. The original building was built in 1880 in a style meant to echo the nearby National Museum. Since then the building has been restyled and expanded, losing all of it original details such as it corner cupola.

The Ministry of Culture, in the end, decided that the former building was not a protected landmark.

It was demolished in 2017, in cooperation with archaeologists, once the demolition permit was finally issued.

The new building will also extend to the site of the former Prague Stock Printers, which has also been torn down after it fell into disrepair. The building's landmark status was removed in 2008 due to its poor condition.

Part of the facade remained until 2013, but it was eventually deemed not to be salvageable. The print house was built in 1919.

The preparations for the construction of the Flower House are also being done in cooperation with Metroprojekt, the construction firm that oversees work on the Prague metro. The building is on top of metro tubes and tunnels between Muzeum and Můstek.

Flow East in the past has restored landmark buildings including the renovation of the façade of the Jalta hotel; a complete renovation of The Forum at Wenceslas Square 19, as well as the Ericsson Palace, Richtrův dům and U Kapra in Malé náměstí.

James Woolf, founder and chairman of Flow East, hopes the public will embrace the new building, despite the initial opposition to the plan.

He said in 2011 that the Dancing House on the Vltava waterfront was originally unpopular but now is seen as a symbol of the city. He claims the same will be true of the Flower House. “This building will be judged in 50 or 100 years time when people will appreciate that Prague has history from its foundations in the 10th century right up to the 21st century and that it didn’t stop in the middle of the 20th century,” Woolf said when plans were announced.

The new design comes British architectural firm Chapman Taylor, with inspiration from the lines of St. Vitus' Cathedral and images of burning candles and flowering plants.

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