The biggest competition in the modern history of the City of Ostrava

The members of the Ostrava City Assembly have approved the plan to announce an international architectural and urbanistic competition for the Ostrava Concert Hall. It will be adjacent to the Ostrava House of Culture and connected with it, because the House of Culture will house the facilities of the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra. Mayor Tomáš Macura said that apart from the competition for the construction of the New City Hall of 1920s, the competition will be the most significant architectural competition in the history of Ostrava.

The City of Ostrava will announce another architectural competition. Already fifth architectural competition in the last two years and one of the most important ones in the history of the city, Ostrava will announce an international competition for the Ostrava Concert Hall.  The city’s ambition is to build an exceptional building with state-of-the-art architecture, as well as first-class acoustics. The competition will have two rounds. The cost is currently estimated at CZK 1.5 billion excluding VAT.

“For decades, Ostrava has dreamt of building a concert hall with perfect acoustics, sufficient space for the audience and facilities for the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra”, said Mayor Tomáš Macura.

“Our goal is to build a high-quality concert hall with a capacity of up to 1,300 seats, which will be unparallelled in the Czech Republic. Therefore, we have analysed in detail the methods and conditions of similar competitions in the Czech Republic and in neighbouring countries. We came to the conclusion that in order to achieve the best results, we need to approach a project team that has a high-quality architect with experience in designing concert halls, and also an experienced acoustic expert”, said Mayor Tomáš Macura.

“In order to ensure the best possible result of the competition and the design solution, we decided to address, in addition to the professional community, also three internationally recognized architectural studios with experience in designing concert halls, which have proven their acoustic quality in practice. The three teams will be: first, Steven Holl Architects + Architecture Acts, second, Konior Studio and third, Henning Larsen”, said Mayor Tomáš Macura.

The architectural competition will be combined. Three foreign studios will be invited to participate, and, according to the Public Procurement Act, other participants will be selected on the basis of submitted portfolios demonstrating that they have experience with such types of buildings and also that they have a design team involving persons with such experience. These participants will be selected from an unlimited number of candidates, who may take part in the competition. The resulting maximum number of participants in the competition will be six. Furthermore, it is conceived as a two-phase competition due to the considerable scope and complexity of the concert hall project. This allows gradual refinement of the proposals selected in the first round and their further specification on the basis of additional competition conditions in the second round.

“In such a major competition, our priority is quality rather than speed. This is also the reason why its organization is very time-consuming. At this moment, we expect the competition to be announced this August. The winner could be selected early next year, and I expect the construction to start in 2021 or 2022. I would also like to note that we have set up a special-purpose fund in 2017 to finance the construction of the concert hall, in which we are collecting money. On the basis of a Memorandum of Cooperation, the Czech Government, represented by the Ministry of Culture, and the Moravian-Silesian Region will also significantly contribute to the funding of the preparation and construction of the new Ostrava Concert Hall”, added Tomáš Macura.

The City Council also approved the composition of the jury, which will be made up of Mayor Tomáš Macura, Deputy Mayor Zbyněk Pražák and Mayor of Moravská Ostrava and Přívoz Petra Bernfeldová as the regular dependent members. The independent members of the jury are architects Krzysztof Ingarden (Ingarden&Ewy / Krakow), Rafi Segal (RSAU / Princeton / MIT Architecture / Cambridge), Valerie Mulvin (mccullough mulvin architects / Dublin), Jakub Szczęsny (SZCZ / Warszawa) and substitutes Adam Rujbr (Adam Rujbr Architects / Brno) and Tadeáš Goryzka (Cabinet of Architecture / Ostrava). The following invited experts have also been approved – Michal Zezula, the director of the National Technical Institute in Ostrava, Martin Strakoš, historian of the National Heritage Institute Ostrava, Jindřich Jansa, budget expert, Cyril Vltavský, Head of Department of Chief Architect of the Ostrava City Authority, Jan Žemla, Director of the JFO, Martin Vondrášek, acoustics expert and Jan Košulič, sound master and operations specialist.