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Competition: Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

The City of Brno in the Czech Republic has announced an open international ideas contest to regenerate its landmark 66.7ha convention centre (Deadline: 21 August)

The two-stage competition – featuring a 5.5 million CZK prize fund – seeks proposals to rethink the prominent Brno Exhibition Centre site in the Pisárky Valley which was first laid out in 1928 and today hosts 203,523m² of display areas.

The project aims to introduce new uses to the area and enhance its connectivity to the wider city while respecting the complex’s iconic pavilions and characteristic plazas. A nearby disused waterworks connected to the exhibition site, a waterfront recreation park and a railway terminal are also included within the scope of the contest.

Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

Source: Image by Norbert Aepli

Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

According to the brief: ‘The competition goal is to obtain quality urban proposals which will be the basis for new spatial planning guidelines. The proposals should have a unifying concept, deliver long-term sustainability and should naturally and functionally integrate the site into the wider city.

‘The organiser seeks a solution that will strengthen and improve the exhibition and congress functions of the site and to also identify new functions for currently unused parts of the complex and to improve the general openness of the area to the public.’

Brno is the Czech Republic’s second largest city and home to around 400,000 inhabitants. For centuries the Moravian settlement has been a hub for annual markets and trade fairs and was recognised as one of the leading exhibition venues of Central Europe.

Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

Source: Image by Kirk

Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

The current Brno Exhibition Centre was laid out in 1928 for the country’s Exhibition of Contemporary Culture.Landmark buildings on the prominent site include the domed Z Hall by Ferdinand Lederer and a 1960s administrative office by Miroslav Spurný. Contemporaneous developments within the city include the Villa Tugendhat by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Regeneration proposals must feature at least 60,000m² of indoor exhibition space, 40,000m² of outdoor exhibition areas, 25 000m² of covered storage and operational spaces, and 5,000m² of open-air paved handling areas.

Potential new uses for the complex could include a climbing wall, a skateboard arena, a canoe course, an in-line skating track, a swimming pool, football stadium, theme park, museum, residential apartments and retail.

First round submissions should include three exhibition boards featuring plans and conceptual illustrations along with a textual description. Teams selected for the second stage must complete six display boards and a scale model of their proposal.

Judges include Brno Trade Fairs chief executive Jiří Kuliš; City of Brno mayor Petr Vokřál; and the architects Petr Hlaváček, Zdeňka Vydrová and Ivan Koleček.

The overall winner will receive 2 million CZK while a second place prize of 1.5 million CZK and third place prize of 1 million CZK will also be awarded.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 21 August

Contact details

David Mikulášek
City Chief Architect‘s Office
City of Brno
Dominikánské nám. 196/1
602 00


Visit the competition website for more information

View the contract notice for more information

Q&A with Michal Sedlacek

The Brno City chief architect discusses his ambitions for the competition

Why are your holding an international ideas contest to rethink the Brno Trade Fairs Site?

Open urban planning and architectural competitions are the best way to get the widest range of design ideas. Opening the competition internationally may bring ideas and approaches that the local urban planners and architects may overlook or suppress since they are ‘burdened’ with knowledge of the site history, connections, limits, etc. Getting the widest range of ideas is important not just for the judges but for the organiser of the competition: Brno.

What is your vision for the future of the area?

First and foremost, our goal is to strengthen the exhibition and convention functions of the site; to keep Brno a ‘Trade Fairs City’ in the future. The second goal is to open parts of the site to the general public. It is a large site – 128 ha (1,280,000 m2). The constraints are urban planning, historic preservation and traffic and technical infrastructure requirements described in detail in the competition brief. All other functions, uses and visions for the site are open to the competitors. In the competition brief we have provided a ‘bucket of uses’ that contains many possible uses for the site. These uses/functions are only suggestions though; it is really on the competitors how they will plan the site. A sustainable approach to design has become an integral part of most urban planning and architectural projects.

Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

Source: Image by Google Earth

Brno Exhibition Centre, Czech Republic

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

We hope that firms of all sizes from the smallest to the largest, both starting and established, and architects of different backgrounds submit their competition proposals. Participants can win the prizes, get media coverage of their designs, meet new people, make connections and have fun designing one to the most important sites in the Czech Republic.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

The Office of the City Chief Architect is in charge of organising all urban planning and architectural competitions for the city of Brno. Right now the Brno Trade Fairs competition is the most important from the point of size, impact on the city In the future. A competition of a similar importance could be, in case the city decides to go ahead with it, an urban planning competition for the Brno South Quarter – a large, undeveloped area around the main train station, right in the centre of the city.

Are there any other urban regeneration masterplans projects you have been impressed by?

One example from the Czech Republic: Litomyšl – regeneration of the city since 1990 under the leadership of the city chief architect Zdeňka Vydrová. Litomyšl has become the ‘capital of Czech architecture’. In the transition of the city took part many architects: Zdeněk Fránek, Petr Hrůša, Petr Pelčák, Tomáš Rusín a Ivan Wahla, Viktor a Martin Rudišovi, Zdeňka Vydrová,(Petr Benda, Mikuláš Hulec, Petr Keil, Josef Pleskot, Petr Hájek, Tomáš Hradečný, Jan Šépka.

Darling Harbour Live case study: Q&A with OMA

The Rotterdam-based practice discusses lessons learned remasterplanning Sydney’s International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP)

How will your Darling Harbour Live project upgrade SICEEP and improve its connections to the wider city?

Worldwide, the demand of the ‘World Class’ has led to a proliferation of barely distinguishable complexes that may serve well as ‘venues’ but which fail to contribute to the specific circumstances of the place they are in. In the masterplan of SICEEP, instead of the generic ‘World Class’ approach, OMA and the consortium have looked for a configuration of convention, entertainment, exhibition, cultural and commercial facilities that offer the most promising conditions for genuine and contextual, site specific interaction within Sydney.

Darling Harbour Live masterplan by OMA

Darling Harbour Live masterplan by OMA

Source: Image by OMA

Darling Harbour Live masterplan by OMA

Which architectural, material, public realm and other methods did you harness in your design?

The Darling Harbour Live masterplan transforms the grain and creates permeability within the existing buildings on the site, restoring the precinct’s connection to the CBD of Sydney as well as to the surrounding precincts of Pyrmont, Ultimo and Chinatown. In OMA’s vision, Darling Harbour Live is the missing piece of the puzzle, connecting the heart of the city with the west and south of Sydney, while the development and orientation of the city have a tendency to only look east. In the north there is the strong relationship with the Cockle Bay development, the Sydney Aquarium, King Street Warf and the development of Barangaroo, creating the possibility of a continuous public waterfront. Darling Harbour Live will be the culmination the western waterfront reconstruction.

Darling Harbour Live masterplan by OMA

Darling Harbour Live masterplan by OMA

Source: Image by OMA

Darling Harbour Live masterplan by OMA

The precinct’s program, both in built form and open space, caters for public and private initiatives that educate, entertain and relax, creating a platform for 24-hour social interaction in the heart of the city. The Boulevard ties together all three parts of the precinct – Bayside, Darling Central and Haymarket. It is the main connector within the precinct and all buildings and public spaces within the masterplan have an address on The Boulevard. Each building is strategically placed to address the surrounding urban grain and scale. For orientation purposes, the three anchor buildings of Darling Harbour Live have been given greatest prominence: the ICC for international conventions, the ICC Hotels as the beacon on the water, and the Theatre for a variety of large and small-scale events. Darling Harbour Live will be an urban environment in which the built mass responds to the public realm and vice versa, one that is sustainable in terms of use, environmental impact, economics and pleasure, which underlines the green and blue characteristics of Sydney.

Darling Harbour Live masterplan by OMA

Darling Harbour Live masterplan by OMA

Source: Image by OMA

Darling Harbour Live masterplan by OMA


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