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Sporting hall, archive buildings of the year

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The bridge suspended over Odra river and Antošovice lake does not dominate the landscape. From afar, only its cable construction is visible. It resembles a giant harp and gives the structure the appearance of lightness.

The 1.5 km-long bridge, which is part of the north Moravian D47 motorway, is one of five winners in this year’s Building of the Year competition, organised by the ABF fund.

As in previous years, a panel of experts selected five most interesting structures in the Czech Republic completed between June 2007 and May 2008. The panel did not call out any other rankings.

Besides the bridge over Odra, the futuristic Moravský zemský archiv building in Brno and an office building in the Hradec Králové area were also awarded.

In the capital, the sports and recreation complex Park Holiday and “V Lukách” residential houses in Horní Počernice also got into the top five.

Overpriced among winners
In a parallel competition, the public was also able to vote over the internet for the best buildings.

Of the five expert-selected winners, the office building in Hradec Králové fared the best in the public poll, receiving 18,000 votes.

But the building’s unique design, which both experts and lay people are able to appreciate, is overshadowed by the circumstances of the building’s inception.

The former brewery, which was converted into an office building, cost the region more than CZK 100 billion. HK Centrum, the brewery’s owner at the time, however, was offering to buy the complex from Hradec Králové for less than half that sum.

The CZK 1 billion reconstruction was commissioned without any public tender. Experts, moreover, consider the funding of the reconstruction to have been financially imprudent.

The structure was built by Skanska and will be used by the regional government offices, as well as by the Hradec Králové university.

Internet for Slavia and the metro
Apart from the Hradec Králové building, the public had very different preferences from those of the experts.

More than 1,000 votes went to the new Slavia stadium, the social-care house in Prague’s Hagibor and the section of the C-line metro between stops Ládví and Letňany.

Like the panel of experts, internet voters selected the winners from 15 buildings that had made it into the final round of the competition, in which more than 60 buildings were registered.

The main prize was awarded Monday at a gala evening in Betlémská kaple. Several other prizes were announced well. The jury’s special prize went to a new square in Dejvice, where waterfalls cascade above underground parking.

Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.

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