Joe Mihanovic
Fairtrade Palace, Prague, Czech Republic
Shota Tsikoliya
Architectural Institute of Prague (ARCHIP)

Conjunctive Amorphoid is located within the atrium and outdoor courtyard of the Fairtrade Palace (Veletržní Palác) in Prague, Czech Republic. The Fairtrade Palace is an art museum operated by the National Gallery of Prague, which houses a massive collection of artwork – organized by historical era. The building is fairly outwardly-focused, as visitors can expect to spend almost all of their time along the “outer ring” of the building, traversing exhibits. Meanwhile the existing courtyard/atrium is a bleak space, rarely open to the public – so bleak, in fact, that most of the exhibits are walled-off at the windows adjacent the courtyard to prevent visitors from peering in (these windows are visible in the above image).

This bleakness is remedied by occasional installations by various local artists. Our design brief called for one such installation. The outwardly-focused existing condition is the main design driver for my project. Conjunctive Amorphoid is intended as a central, connective “tissue” – an exciting, interstitial progression of social spaces that literally ties together the building’s woefully disjointed rooms. Blobular masses encase social functions (informal art exhibits, lounges, cafes, and a nightclub). These deform to accommodate a series of tubular pathways protruding from them and into the existing building, which project diagonally and across the atrium to connect distinct spaces, and latch on to the existing structural system. This results in a radically different circulation pattern for the entire building.


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