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Wright & Wright wins Czech museum and archives contest

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Wright & Wright Architects has won an invited competition to remasterplan the historic Nelahozeves Castle near Prague in the Czech Republic

The London practice defeated an undisclosed shortlist to win the commission to create a new home for the Lobkowicz Collections covering more than six centuries of central European cultural, social, political and economic history.

The project will renovate and transform the Italian-style Renaissance castle into a new home for the collection, which includes paintings by Canaletto, Velázquez and Rubens, and manuscripts by Beethoven and Mozart. The nearby birthplace of composer Antonín Dvořák will also be upgraded.

The client, William Lobkowicz, said: ‘We see the Nelahozeves Castle project as a phoenix rising out of the ashes, with enormous potential to become an international centre for the history and culture of central Europe.

‘We want to build on our family’s role as enlightened patrons of the arts over many centuries and make these unique collections available to students, scholars and enthusiasts from all over the world.

‘We are delighted to be working with Wright & Wright Architects, who bring a wealth of experience in working with archives and historic buildings. Our ambition is to establish Nelahozeves Castle as one of the key international destinations for study, performance and cultural engagement over the next hundred years.’

Wright & Wright partner Clare Wright said: ‘We are honoured to have been selected for this internationally significant project, and excited at being able to draw upon our wide‐ranging experience of restoration and redesign of sensitive heritage buildings and apply it to Nelahozeves Castle.

‘Our approach will be founded on bringing the existing ensemble of buildings back to life through carefully considered new patterns of use and relationships, augmented – where appropriate – by contemporary additions of high architectural quality. This is an amazing opportunity to enhance Prague’s position as one of the leading European cities of culture and heritage.’

Wright & Wright’s masterplan will deliver a new-build archive and international study centre while also creating a state‐of‐the‐art orchestral performance space linked to enhanced public and private areas within the castle.

Areas within the historic landmark will, meanwhile, be opened up as foyers, seminar and study rooms, rehearsal spaces and a restaurant along with new storage facilities for the collections.

The nearby Dvořák Birth House will be transformed into an interactive museum while residential accommodation for visiting scholars will be created in a rear courtyard.

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