The work is the result of a competition to convert a dilapidated old slaughterhouse in the centre of Ostrava in the Czech Republic into the Contemporary Art Gallery PLATO. We got involved in this project because the building seemed intriguing and worth preserving.
The walls of the slaughterhouse were dilapidated and patchy with random giant holes in many places. The brickwork, almost black from dirt and soot, testified to the industrial history of the town. The conservator’s guidelines included a standard restoration, cleaning the façade and filling in the holes with brick as if they had never existed.
However, we treated these defects as a value that testifies to the identity of this place, which should not be hidden, but which should be exposed, adding another layer to the history of the building.
We have preserved the character of the weathered brickwork and windows, and filled the openings with contemporary material. We adopted the principle that all the reconstructed elements would be made of concrete, while preserving the old ornamentation of the brick walls.
Furthermore, we intended to preserve the functionality of the openings as shortcuts connecting the building with the city. Thanks to various mechanisms, the concrete wall panels can rotate and open up the exhibition rooms directly to the outside. Artists have gained completely new exhibition possibilities, and art can literally go out into the space around the building, which also becomes an exhibition space. Mobility has brought about an opportunity for culture and knowledge in the broad sense to become more democratic and accessible to new audiences.
Originally the square around the building was to be concrete. Subsequent reports of climate change and ecological disaster, however, led us to react and change the design. Instead of using concrete, we introduced natural water-permeable surfaces, lots of greenery, flower meadows and natural retention. Now, despite the ongoing construction, we are also working to green the roofs of the building, using such vegetation that keeps the traditional colour of the historical dirty brickwork. We believe that every single square meter of greenery in the city is worth fighting for.
|name:||Contemporary Art Gallery PLATO|
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