The project, designed by a team under the direction of the Brno based young architecture studio CHYBIK+KRISTOF, has recently won the international competition for the new administrative centre of the Czech Forestry Commission in Hradec Králové. The winning proposal is a two-storey building on the edge of an existing forest, that uses wood extensively as construction material. The concept is based on incorporating the forest landscape into a five-finger building to create new relations between the inside office and the outside forest landscape.
A nature trail surrounding the building allows to explore the different forest ecotypes, designed by Tomas Babka and breathe.earth.collective. The winning entry prevailed by its unconventional approach which, according to the jury, makes the building an open public institution rather than an administrative building, fulfilling the vision of a future-oriented envoironment. In addition, the jury praised the sensitive way of incorporating the building in the natural surroundings, its open-fronts and the modularity of the construction, which enables a variability of the interior layout.
Functions and typology
The office sections are divided into five „fingers“ representing five independent administrative units converging in the central courtyard towards which the main entrance is orientated. The open front’s defining features comprise two protruding volumes – a conference hall and a cafeteria and canteen – which form the central meeting area of the building.
The nature trail on the outside of the building starts on the roof with a presentation delineating the elements of sustainable forestry. The trail continues with a slide that takes visitors down to the courtyard and directs them along a winding pathway around the whole building. The central two-storey courtyard is lit by roof skylights and is complemented with supporting columns reminding the visitors of tree trunks that give the impression of a clearing in the middle of a forest.
The modularity of the construction enables both the division of the office area into enclosed units and the creation, by removing the non-load-bearing elements, of an open space area with subcentres. The segmentation of the ground plan ensures that all areas can offer sufficient amounts of daylight. The sub-basement is designed to provide additional functions such as parking spaces, wellness and fitness centre, depositories, and places with supplies for the cafeteria/canteen.
The five major sectors are going to provide different local forest experiences, such as spruce, beech and fir, pine and birch, and oak and hornbeam forests, which refer to the basic types of forest found in the Czech Republic. The main entrance is designed to serve as a highly-presentable vision of a park in the future with fully-grown trees performing with technical adeabate cooling elements. In the open courtyards the succession of the actual forests will be initiated through the provision of an intensive ground layer based on substrates, stones, shrubs and perennials.
Energy concept and sustainability
The administrative centre has been designed as an energy-efficient building, which makes extensive use of wood as a building and aesthetic material. The above-ground part consists of a framework construction made of glued laminated timber profiles. Full facade elements and internal crossbars are made of compact wooden boards.
The building is equipped with a controlled heat recovery ventilation system, systems to save drinking water, smart rainwater management systems, external shading devices and energy-efficient LEDs which, as a whole, make it a building with virtually zero energy consumption. Source by CHYBIK+KRISTOF.
- Location: Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
- Architect: CHYBIK+KRISTOF
- Project Team: CHKAU + K4 + Ivo Stolek + Jan Stolek + Tomas Babka + Breathe Earth Collective
- Client: Lesy České republiky, s. p.
- Status: First prize in international open architectural competition
- Year: 2017
- Images: Courtesy of CHYBIK+KRISTOF
Article by Marco Rinaldi