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Work starts on Czech housing scheme designed by rising UK stars

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Construction is set to start next month on The Oaks - a €400 million, 200-home development on the outskirts of Prague designed by a clutch of the UK’s most exciting architects

Duggan Morris Architects, Haptic, John Pardey Architects, Hall McKnight and McGarry-Moon Architects were chosen to work on the projects in the Czech Republic three years ago by The Arendon Development Company.

The British firms were picked alongside a number of Czech outfits from more than 100 northern European practices in an invited contest organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants (see AJ 14.11.14).

JTP has since joined the team working on the 140ha development which lies within a hunting estate in Popivičky about 20km south-east of Prague.

Developer Arendon said it was also working with British architects on other projects in the Czech Republic, in particular on ’initial feasibility studies in collaboration with Czech local knowledge and expertise’.

Speaking about the evolution of the scheme since 2014, Robert Davies, once of Treasury Holdings and currently chief executive of Czech-based Arendon, said: ’We’ve received planning and building permits for most of the concepts and we are now at execution drawing stage, with construction commencing in September.

’We built a single CAD model for the designers to work on and as each concept advanced, and there has been a constant fascinating townscape dialogue between the architects. Our aim was not to create an architectural zoo.’

In total, 24 international practices were shortlisted for the competition, from a long list of more than 100. A dozen were from the UK. The longlist focused on northern European practices in ‘an arc from Iceland to the Benelux countries’, responding to Arendon’s interest in seeking out emerging practices as well as more established firms.

Shortlisted practices included: ADR (Czech Republic), AI Design (Czech Republic), Architektura (David Kraus) (Czech Republic), Cigler Morani (Czech Republic), Coffey / Architects (UK), David Mikhail (UK), Duggan Morris Architects (UK), Eldridge Smerin (UK), Hall McKnight (UK), Haptic (UK & Norway), James Gorst Architects (UK), Jarmund Vigsnaes (Norway), John Pardey Architects (UK), McGarry-Moon Architects (UK), Mudrik Architects (Czech Republic), NORD Architects (UK), Paul de Ruiter, (Netherlands), Peter Barber Architects (UK), Piercy & Co (UK), Stempel & Tesar (Czech Republic), Studio Olgoj Chorchoj (Czech Republic), Studio Pha (Czech Republic), Tham and Videgard Architects (Sweden) and Werner Sobek (Germany).

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