Thursday, 14 December 2017

Praguescape: The tram house

By Kristina Alda |
PRAGUE DAILY MONITOR |
24 February 2009

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Vozovna (KRISTINA ALDA): The historical part of the tram depot dates back to 1910. (KRISTINA ALDA)The historical part of the tram depot dates back to 1910. (KRISTINA ALDA)

It's not quite finished yet and if you want to see it, you will likely get your boots muddy. The former tram depot in Prague's Stromovka park lies at the end of what used to be a tram line that extended all the way into the park. There is nothing particularly special about the simple early 20th century building, which until 2007 looked like little more than a decrepit, boarded up pink shack with crumbling plaster.

But following a CZK 26 million reconstruction, the one-floor brick building has become an elegant refreshment centre with a modern section seamlessly attached to the historical one. Sliding wooden panels can open up an entire wall of the building. The building retains the character of the original depot, while the new part looks simultaneously modern and timeless. The reconstructed building won an award in the architectural competition Fasáda.

Vozovna (KRISTINA ALDA): The new part of the depot has sliding wooden panels that will open up to create a seating area. (KRISTINA ALDA)The new part of the depot has sliding wooden panels that will open up to create a seating area. (KRISTINA ALDA)

It could become the perfect place to sip a beer after a Sunday stroll or jog in Stromovka. And it's about time. The popular park – the biggest in Prague – has lacked a proper refreshment stand, not to mention proper restroom facilities, for years now.

For CZK 600,000 a year, the tram house will be rented by the company NYTA, which will operate a restaurant on the premises. It will open this spring.

One of Prague's tram lines was extended into Stromovka in 1885. The reconstructed building was an administration centre built in 1910. Although the structure had historical landmark status, it was unused and neglected for half a century before the current reconstruction.

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.