One becomes two – Ostrava’s plan for tallest building encounters geological stumbling block

Ostrava Tower

The Czech Republic is no Chicago or New York, that’s for sure – its tallest building, the N Tower (formerly known as the AZ Tower) in Brno only reaches a less-than-impressive 111 metres. But the eastern city of Ostrava is set to become the new record holder – despite the fact that a recent geological survey blocked its plan for a new 235-metre-high building, forcing the architects to change the design.

Ostrava Tower | Visualization:  Chybík+Krištof & Urban Designers

The original plan for the Ostrava Tower was a 56-floor hourglass-shaped multifunctional skyscraper. Containing apartments, office spaces, a hotel, and on the top floor, a café, restaurant, bar, and publicly accessible roof with 360 degree views of the city, the building was supposed to breathe new life into the formerly-industrial Karolina district, which has lain mostly desolate for years - the site planned for the tower contained an industrial coke production facility until 1982.

Michal Krištof | Photo: Ondřej Surý

However, recent geological surveys found that the site designated for construction would not be able to bear the weight of the planned tower. So instead of one skyscraper, the plan is now to have two slightly smaller towers, which will be better able to distribute the weight between them. But even with the modified design, architect Michal Krištof assures us that it will still be the tallest building in Czechia – according to the geological assessment, the recommended height is up to 175 metres, still trumping Brno.

Ostrava Tower | Visualization:  Chybík+Krištof & Urban Designers

The company RT Torax won the tender to construct the building with a design by architectural studio Chybík + Krištof in 2020. With this modification, the design has now been changed for the second time since then. The investor wants construction to be finished by 2026, although with the planned changes, the company has asked for an extension, so 2027 – 2028 may be a more realistic estimate.