Prague 6 pool competition under fire

The ČKA says the contest that is only open to students of one school is irregular

The Czech Chamber of Architects (ČKA) has criticized the competition for the exterior design of an indoor pool at Petynka in Prague 6–Střešovice. The new swimming pool building should be finished by the end of 2019 and the investment is about Kč 170 million.

ČKA took issue with competition, organized by the Prague 6 district Town Hall, only being open to students of the civil engineering faculty of Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT). The chamber also claims the jury does not have enough independent experts. ČVUT is located in Prague 6 and is the oldest non-military technical university in Europe. It is one of the largest universities in the Czech Republic, with close to 25,000 students in eight faculties.

“This form of public procurement will bring neither the expected quality nor a cost-effective result,” ČKA spokeswoman Zuzana Hošková told the media.

Prague 6 maintains that the competition is in accordance with the ČKA's Competition Code. The ČKA, however, claims that the competition doesn't meet the standards and instead is an irregular competition. “The jury does not have an absolute majority of independent experts, and the awards for the winners are disproportionately low," ČKA's Hošková said.

The chamber also says that designing something as complicated as a swimming pool hall is beyond the skills of students. Prague 6 maintains that the competition is only for the overall shape and look of the hall's facade, and not the entire project. The winning design will then be developed further to fit inside the shape.

This approach does not work, though, according to the ČKA. The exterior needs to be designed to accommodate the internal layout and necessary infrastructure, and both should be designed at the same time by the same team, the ČKA maintains.

The new hall is planned to be behind the existing outdoor pool at Petynka. It should have a 25-meter pool with artificial waves, a sauna, and wading pool. The hall will also have a restaurant for people using both the indoor and outdoor pools.

Petynka currently has a 50-meter long, 21-meter wide heated outdoor pool with a water slide. It uses a modern water purification system without chlorine. The complex has beach volleyball and table tennis, and is fully wheelchair accessible. The entire area is 30,570 square meters. It is open from the middle of May to September.

The Petynka recreation complex is managed by the company SNEO, which manages and maintains properties in Prague 6.

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