The much-criticized glass building Brand Store will not appear on Miloš Forman Square in the heart of Prague, a Prague conservation area, during the reconstruction of the brutalist InterContinental Hotel. At the end of February, the municipality’s Department of Building Regulations revoked the planning permission issued by Prague 1. It ordered its building authority to reject the project. The years-long case, accompanied by strong public opposition, is now over.
According to the municipality’s justification, the commercial project of private investors has lost the approvals of the planning and conservation authorities, and they cannot be obtained for the Brand Store anymore.
Its construction on the square was first approved in 2020 by the municipality’s conservationists and the local Department of Spatial Development, based on which the Prague 1 construction office decided on the location of the building. This was appealed by 19 individuals and three legal entities, including the Institute of Planning and Development and the management of Prague 1.
Two ministries upheld the appeal. The Department of Local Development first ruled in June 2022 that the Brand Store was unacceptable from a planning point of view and changed the original approval of the municipal planners to that effect. Minister Ivan Bartoš (Pirates) then refused to initiate a review procedure.
The Ministry of Culture then ruled out the project in November 2022 in terms of conservation interests. This reversed the verdict of the municipality’s conservation planners, who had initially placed no obstacles in the way of the brand store. The final decision in the case is to be made by the Prague 1 building authority, but it has no choice.
“If a binding opinion has been issued during the application procedure that makes it impossible to grant the application, the administrative authority will not conduct further evidence and will reject the application,” reads the latest decision signed by Markéta Vacínová, director of the building authority’s department.
The attitude of both ministries and the resulting verdict of the municipality was praised by the association Občané Prahy 1, which opposed the Brand Store. The association wrote on social media that the “perseverance and united forces of residents” paid off.
“We firmly believe that together we will succeed in anchoring the unstoppability of the square in the upcoming metropolitan plan!” added the chairman of the association, Tomáš Bajusz. He recalled that the building on Forman Square at the corner of Pařížská and Bílkova Streets was supposed to be 17 meters high, reaching the height of the fourth or fifth floor of the surrounding houses from the early 20th century.
The Brand Store was originally part of the Staroměstská brána project, which included a complete reconstruction of a brutalist hotel from the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, the authors of the design, namely architect Marek Tichý of TaK Architects, later removed it to a separate procedure.