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Competition: New LOŠBATES school, Czech Republic

An open international contest has been launched to design an energy-efficient school in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic (Deadline: 26 March)

The anonymous single-stage competition seeks proposals for a ‘nine-grade’ education facility on a rural 2.5ha  site in Louňovice, ansmall agricultural village 25km south-east of Prague.

The 27,220m² project is backed by LOŠBATES – a voluntary union of five local settlements: Louňovice, Štíhlice, Babice, Tehovec and Svojetice. Proposals should include two classrooms for each year group along with supporting facilities and a small apartment block for staff.

Contest site

Contest site

Contest site

According to the brief: ‘The elementary school is the dream and desire of all the municipalities associated in the volunteer union of LOŠBATES. The construction of the new school is an investment that does not have a similarity in the rich history of our communities. Though we are small villages, it is our desire to build a 21st-century school that will allow modern learning and inspire children to study.

‘We want a safe school and a school that will enable community use and will serve all our people for decades. The proposed solution should respect the chosen 2.5ha of building land, the surrounding area and the landscape character of the village of Louňovice. The layout of buildings and other structures must be such as to allow future extension of the school to 3 x 9 classes.’

The latest project aims to create a sustainable integrated educational facility for the five villages on an undeveloped site close to the main road leading to the capital.

Proposals should include an auditorium, library, gymnasium, administrative facilities, caretaker facilities, catering and dining facilities, outdoor spaces, a sports field and parking lot.

Conceptual proposals to expand the school to three classrooms per year group will also be required along with access to the greenfield site which is surrounded by small houses and a forest.

The overall winner will receive €31,200 while a second prize of €21,500 and third prize of €11,700 will also be awarded along with several honourable mentions of €3,900 each.

How to apply


The deadline for submissions is 4.30pm local time on 26 March

Contact details

U půjčovny 4
Praha 1
110 00
Czech Republic

Tel: (+420) 222 222 521

Visit the competition website for more information

Q&A with Eva Šmoldasová and Josef Řehák

The mayor of Tehovec and mayor of Louňovice discuss their ambitions for the contest

Why are your holding an open call for a new school for LOŠBATES?

Eva Šmoldasová and Josef Řehák

Eva Šmoldasová and Josef Řehák

Eva Šmoldasová and Josef Řehák

Current capacity of school facilities in our area (about six miles east from the Prague’s administrative border) is not sufficient and, based on a demographic study that confirms a steady increase of inhabitants, it is quite clear that the existing schools will not be able to accommodate all the children from our and surrounding villages. The union LOŠBATES (four municipalities with total of around 3,000 inhabitants) was created to address this need. We have decided to build a school from scratch on a greenfield site. The competition is an opportunity to compare approaches and concepts and select the most suitable design.

What is your vision for the new school?

The main issue (and possible threat) of this project might be the shortage of finance – both in the investment and its operation. This being said, we do hope that smart and modern design can help us here. We see the international and open competition as sharing of knowledge and vision leading to the school of 21st century – welcoming, accommodating and just the best there is.

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

None of us mayors is an architect, so with this question we put our trust in the competition organiser. We can imagine, however, that this could be an opportunity for emerging talented and eager practices to get their first significant commission. And it would be only our pleasure if they made their name with this project.

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

This will be, for a long time, our only interest and main focal point.

Are there any other recent similar school you have been impressed by?

We don’t want to limit the imagination of possible contestants. However, we like the work of the Czech studio Projektil and Dutch Atelier PRO which is why we have invited these architects (Adam Halíř and Dorte Kristensen) to the jury.

Hylands Primary School case study: Q&A with Michál Cohen

The co-founder of Walters & Cohen Architects discusses lessons learned designing a primary school for Havering in east London

Michál Cohen

Michál Cohen

Michál Cohen

How did your project deliver an innovative school on a compact urban site which respected its surroundings?

The brief for Hylands was to bring together two existing school communities in one new school building with space for 420 pupils and a 30-place nursery in London Borough of Havering. After many years of education research, particularly into the relationship between learning and space, this project was an exciting opportunity for us to develop our exemplar school design – a commission from the Department for Education – whose principles include a central, multi-functional ‘heart’ space and each classroom having direct access to the outdoors, with cloak and WC facilities shared between each pair of classrooms.

We sat down and had long discussions with the head teacher. A building without corridors fitted the school’s educational aims, yet one large open space was not part of its vision. So we agreed that a series of connected yet distinct, shared spaces for breakout was the way forward. The school also wanted its new building to have a civic presence and to feel part of the surrounding community it serves, while retaining as much of the existing sports pitches as possible. The two-storey school is built around two small courtyards, which are used for any activity and flood the much-loved and well-used breakout spaces with light. Cosy ‘tree house’ group spaces overlook the courtyards, while the terrace on the roof serves as a fun learning and play area with fantastic views across Canary Wharf to inspire students.

Hylands Primary School by Walters & Cohen Architects

Hylands Primary School by Walters & Cohen Architects

Source: Image by Dennis Gilbert

Hylands Primary School by Walters & Cohen Architects

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

We used an architectural model and graphic presentation materials such as 3D colour sketches to test our designs and convey the intentions of the project to the school and local community.

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new primary school for the LOŠBATES villages in Czechia?

My first piece of advice is that you should strive to understand and analyse the site. Get to know the local communities and villages, as well as the educational vision of the new school as best you can. Most importantly, you should appreciate that the large majority of end-users here will be small children and that this primary school will be the first public building many of them inhabit. It could be that the new building and its sustainability credentials are learning tools, but avoid pandering to childish stereotypes – primary colours are not necessarily what children need.

Be ambitious for them. Provide spaces in which they can explore, learn and have fun, that meet the education drivers, and that provide excellent passive supervision.

Hylands Primary School by Walters & Cohen Architects

Hylands Primary School by Walters & Cohen Architects

Source: Image by Dennis Gilbert

Hylands Primary School by Walters & Cohen Architects