Pavilion of the Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha
The embankment plot no. 2360/2 is situated at the northeast end of Revoluční (street) and the end of Štefánikův most (bridge). It is, furthermore, defined by Lannova, Nové mlýny, and nábřeží Ludvíka Svobody. Due to the valid Land Use Plan, where the plot is registered as ZMK (municipal and country greenery), the functional dedication of this plot will have to be also altered because the building of Eliščiny lázně (Elisabeth’s Bath) used to be standing here in the past.
The building is exposed to views from both embankments of the river Vltava, and today it closes the empty area with a parking lot between the monumental masses of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the shop from the west, and the Ministry of Transport from the east.
The task of the volumetric study is to check the possibility of using the plot for the PAVILION OF THE SLAV EPIC BY ALFONS MUCHA and design optimal operational, altitudinal and areal limits. Due to its unique position (and namely in respect of views from distance) and in relation to the scale of the neighbouring buildings, we design a cylindrical pavilion with rounded edges whose mass optically levitates above the terraced public space below where there are located the underground operational, technical, and administrative facilities of the exhibition pavilion.
A simple architectural concept is based on an idea of a levitating golden cloud – polyhedron – consisting of many flat triangular glass panels – a specially shaped Fuller dome.
Glass panels are made as opaque insulating sandwiched with gold plated mirror glass, suspended without acknowledged fixing to the supporting stainless steel-aluminium structure fixed to a load-bearing cylindrical volume of the entire building.
Joints between panels are as narrow as possible sealed against penetrating damp.
The gold colour symbolises the sun and heaven, refers to Art Nouveau, establishes a golden envelope for a unique artistic unit it protects in its entrails, and in an almost sacrosanct manner presents to visitors.
The cylindrical load-bearing pavilion hall is carried by three circulation pylons containing, moreover, all necessary vertical technology routes.
These pylons are optically suppressed as much as possible using black metal cladding to emphasise the mirror golden cloud levitating above the stone platform.
By a sliding entry door, the clear vertical glass panels separate the entry courtyard from the surrounding public terrace space paved with granite slabs.
Towards the park and Nové mlýny (street), the terrace is lowered by a couple of wide, comfortable steps allowing pedestrian access from the park and the river.
The highest point of the mass /aside from the golden thrones/ of the exhibition pavilion will not reach beyond the edge of the highest surrounding buildings (e.g. the diagonally opposite building with the front along Hradební, Řásnovka and Revoluční). It is designed as matching the elevation of the highest edge approximately 24.5 m from the public terrace’s plane.
The pavilion has three aboveground storeys and one semi-recessed basement.
The entry storey ¬¬ – 1.NP/ground floor – rests on the level of Revoluční from where the building provides the main unobstructed access into the glazed courtyard with the info stall and a ticket counter between three load-bearing pylons.
From here, visitors can go via a couple of commercial lifts or a staircase down to the basement (1.NP) where there are located all necessary facilities – a coffee shop, a museum shop, a cloakroom, toilets, offices, and the building technology centre.
These technology areas are connected via vertical shafts to the technology area on the 3rd floor (4.NP) maintaining optimal climate inside the exhibition hall.
An important operation unit to the Pavilion is a ramp used for supplying and handling exhibition items, connected to the commercial lift opening to the exhibition hall on the 1st floor (2.NP).
It will be possible to walk through a corridor below Revoluční to the underground parking planned in front of the Ministry of Industry and Trade in the future and accessed by cars via a ramp from the embankment.
It is possible to ascend to the exhibition hall on the 1st floor (2.NP) from the courtyard on the ground floor via lifts or a staircase. A large tetrakaidecahedron exhibits a series of large paintings along its perimeter, while the smaller ones are placed on three load-bearing pylons in the centre of the hall. The exhibition hall is 10 m high, without windows and special artificial lighting sensitively illuminates the paintings. To protect artwork, the intensity of lighting is max. 150 lx here. Walls, the ceiling, and the floor are black; a sound system is installed in the hall and visitors can learn in several languages basic information about the artist and his work from audio systems installed on the internal walls of the pylons in the centre of the hall.
The top storey with an atrium – 2nd storey (3.NP) – accommodates technology. All necessary equipment creating an optimal temperature and humidity inside the exhibition hall and the entire building are placed here.
The load-bearing structure is a cast in-situ reinforced concrete frame, founded on bored piles due to the gravel-sand subbase and tight contact with the river.
A unique character of the exhibition hall cantilevered into space is dealt with using a special steel structure suspended from the three pylons and coupled with them.
This steel structure also carries the spherical-shaped façade clad in a series of golden glass panels.
In its roof part, the envelope covers the 2nd floor (3.NP) accommodating technology; it consists of only ventilation grates at the very top calotte.
The technical atrium’s floor is designed as flat, falling towards the verticals in pylons.
The pavements and green belts are complemented by planted evergreen trees and shrubs in the close vicinity of the Pavilion.