Unique Czech underground museum wins architectural award

Archeopark Pavlov, photo: CTK

Archeopark Pavlov, a unique underground museum near Mikulov in South Moravia, has won this year’s Czech Architecture Award, given by the Czech Chamber of Architects. The complex of underground buildings, located at an archaeological site, was selected by an international jury out of 249 entries.

Archeopark Pavlov,  photo: CTK
Archeopark Pavlov, a luxury complex of underground buildings, is situated on the slopes of the Pálava Hills, an area covering more than 500 square metres. The Palaeolithic settlement of Pavlov belongs among the world leading archaeological sites, with excavations of stone and bone tools, artwork and skeleton remains of early mammoth hunters.

The archeopark was designed by architects Radko Květ and Pavlo Pijáček and consists of several underground buildings, which come out on the surface in the form of white concrete towers reminiscent of the surrounding limestone rocks.

Slovenian architect Matija Bevk, one of the members of the international jury, explains why it was selected as the winner:

“This project seemed perfect in a way, because it addresses questions on many different levels. It is very well set in the landscape, with just a few pieces showing above ground.

Archeopark Pavlov,  photo: CTK
“At the same time it creates a rich space on the inside. It has a very nice articulation of space and the materials, such as concrete, are not only perfectly made but also in tune with the concept. So it creates a special atmosphere for visiting and viewing this kind of exhibition.”

The six finalists include Ondřej Chybík and Michal Krištof, whose showroom in Brno has recently won the prestigious Architecture Grand Prix, awarded by the Society of Czech Architects, the Lake Cabin in Doksy in North Bohemia designed by FAM studio or the Máj community centre in České Budějovice.

According to Matija Bevk, the winning project reflects the current state of Czech architecture.

“I think the six finalists show that there are a lot of things going on in the Czech Republic and there are a lot of very nice buildings being built at the moment.

Archeopark Pavlov,  photo: CTK
“And I think there is a huge potential and there is a huge spectre of different kind of approaches. This is very good for the future of Czech architecture.

The jury has also awarded three awards for unusual achievement in the field of architecture. The recipients include curator Michal Škoda of the Gallery of Contemporary Art in České Budějovice, mayors of the east-Bohemian town of Litomyšl as well as architect and journalist Adam Gebrian for his show on Czech Radio.

An exhibition of the winning projects is currently on display at the Jaroslav Fragner Gallery in the centre of Prague.