Friday, 15 December 2017

Praguescape: Brewery lofts in Holešovice nearing completion

By Kristina Alda |
PRAGUE DAILY MONITOR |
4 November 2008

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The extensive project promises luxury lofts and apartments whilst retaining the industrial character of the original complex.

 When the Holešovice brewery closed down in 1998, it was in a desolate state.

When the Holešovice brewery closed down in 1998, it was in a desolate state.
Prague has a plethora of great industrial spaces, and for a long time it seemed developers here were ignoring the potential of transforming some of these spaces into into new, functional apartments, lofts, offices or studios.

This is definitely changing. With most historical buildings downtown restored and taken up, developers have started moving further afield – first to Karlín and shortly therafter to Holešovice.

Not all of these projects are as successful as they could be. Check out the ongoing Cornlofts project in Karlín, where the developer gutted an entire building that once housed a granary, leaving only the external walls intact. The original character of the building has been irrevocably lost.

That's not the case with První pražský měšťanský pivovar, the city brewery and its surrounding properties in Holešovice. Officially called A7 Holešovický pivovar, the ING Real Estate Development project involved the reconstruction of the industrial landmark as well as the erection of three new buildings. The project, part of which was bought up by the investment company Pramerica Finanacial last year, is extensive, yet somehow the brewery and its immediate surroundings appears connected to the industrial neighbourhood of Prague 7 where it stands. It includes offices, retail space, as well as apartments and lofts.

This month the first apartments will be ready. The lofts should be complete next March.

The final phase of the reconstruction of the brewery itself was completed last month. Renowned architects Frank Ghery, one of the authors of the Dancing House, and Jean Nouvel, who designed the Zlatý Anděl building in Smíchov, were involved in the brewery reconstruction along with the architectural studio CMC architects. This involved a facelift for the facade, revealing the inner construction and restructuring the interior so that it could carry out new functions. The architects strove to preserve the industrial character of the building, and it seems that they have succeeded. The space looks clean, modern and functional, with plenty of natural light.

The brewery, which only stopped producing beer 10 years ago, was founded in 1895 as the biggest brewery in Prague at the time, set to compete with well-established breweries in Plzeň and Velké Popovice. The brewery prospered in the early part of the 20th century, producing the popular 15-degree Ležák Primátor and the dark 15-degree Kardinál. With the advent of the communist regime, it became part of a large, state-owned network of breweries, and the quality of the beer declined, according to the Prague 7 municipal web site. The brewery experienced a brief rebirth after 1989, focusing on the production of dark beer – until it became the site of the A7 Arena Holešovický pivovar project.

Kristina Alda is the Monitor's managing editor. She likes writing about buildings and public space.
You can reach her at kristina@praguemonitor.com. You can read more of her stories here.