a renovation for charles university in prague


revitalizing a 1980s-era dormitory in prague, czech studio kuba & pilař architekti presents its new headquarters for the faculty of humanities at charles university. the original canteen and dormitory buildings by the architect karel prager are only the torso of an unfinished university campus on the banks of the vltava river.


the canteen itself was never fully used as intended. the building, constructed using a demanding lift-slab construction method with its deep central square disposition, had an indisputable architectural quality at the time of its construction. however, a radical change was necessary to accommodate new needs of the faculty of humanities.

kuba pilař architekti pragueimages © david korsa



kuba & pilař architekti’s design


the conversion project by kuba & pilař architekti (see more here) preservers the external shape, height and proportions of the original canteen building. the main intervention is the creation of a generous central hall, illuminated from above, with daylight coming in between the trusses of the skylights. the hall is the heart and the social center of the faculty which spatially connects all three floors of the building.


the entrance, located on the level of a raised plateau, enables a simple connection of all floors by two differently shaped one-flight staircases. cantilevered galleries along the perimeter of the hall provide access to seminar rooms, teachers’ offices and two lifts with fire escape staircases. the lowest level of the hall accommodates large common lecture halls, auditorium, faculty’s library and the deanery.

kuba pilař architekti prague



the glass facade


prevailing materials in the interior are exposed concrete combined with a fine metal ceiling mesh, black floor screed and white wooden elements and furniture. the space is dominated by a variably set seating furniture in orange.


the external structural glazing is designed primarily as an effective acoustic protection against the noise from a six-lane ring road in the immediate vicinity of the building. double-skin facade allows for natural ventilation and regulated sun shading of the interior space. rounded glass corners are a link to the original architecture.


the conversion of the canteen is a part of a large complex which includes two high-rise dormitory buildings sharing a common base. completion of the outdoor areas, access roads and greenery will be a subject of the next stage of the construction.

kuba pilař architekti prague kuba pilař architekti prague kuba pilař architekti prague kuba pilař architekti prague kuba & pilař architekti wraps its concrete university building in a skin of rounded glass kuba & pilař architekti wraps its concrete university building in a skin of rounded glass




project info:


project title: new headquarters of the faculty of humanities, charles university

architecture: kuba & pilař architekti

location: prague, czech republic

design team: ladislav kuba, tomáš pilař, martin klimecký

client: faculty of humanities, charles university

construction and technical solutions: AED project

completion: 2020

photography: © david korsa