Zvonarka Bus Terminal
by Chybik + Kristof

In 2011, CHYBIK + KRISTOF grew aware of Brno’s Zvonarka Central Bus Terminal’s decaying conditions. They reached out to its private owners with an elementary redesign proposal.

Drawing wide public attention through social media, their initiative prompted a conversation between local private stakeholders and public authorities – and after a four-year-long collaborative exchange, the required funding was attained in 2015, notably through the project’s recognition as a European funds project.

Self-initiated in 2011, this redesign and restoration project saw the architects actively engage in preserving the existing Brutalist structure and its original architectural identity, reflecting CHYBIK + KRISTOF’s commitment to perpetuating architectural heritage.

“Demolitions are a global issue,” explains co-founding architect Michal Kristof. “Our role as architects is to engage in these conversations and demonstrate that we no longer operate from a blank page. We need to consider and also work from existing architecture – and gradually shift the conversation from creation to transformation.”

Stressing the station’s central role in the city and region’s sociocultural fabric, they address the urgency to rethink the use of a decaying transportation hub and public space.

Placing transparency, and access, at the root of their design, they have transformed the bus terminal into a functional entity adapted to current social needs.

While conceiving a functional redesign receptive to users’ needs, the architects cultivate the station’s essence as the city’s social nerve, envisioning how to further integrate it in the surrounding urban fabric and invite new social dynamics within it.

“The role of the architect begins Fully understanding the social dynamics at play in every project is at the heart of our practice,” states co-founder Ondrej Chybik. “It is our responsibility to step out of our studios and onto the streets.”

Transparency is at the root of their new design. Paying homage to its original architect Radúz Russ, they proudly expose the station’s characteristically raw Brutalist structure, contrasting its angularity with an organic wave that mirrors the seamless flow of vehicles and passengers.

They also turn to structural transparency, removing walls and favoring light as evocative of access, safety and comfort.

Following the original square floor plan, they reconfigure the main hall as an open structure devoid of walls. A two sided roof, the inner space houses the individual bus stops while the outer area serves as a parking space for buses.

Eager to open up the terminal onto the city, the architects removed the temporary structures added in the 1990s and erected a second entry to the station at street level.

Ondrej Chybik and Michal Kristof state: “While our familiarity with the city of Brno proved to be a real asset, our engagement for this project resonates with architects internationally. Beyond a functional concern, the architects’ role is rooted in understanding, deconstructing and responding to the shortcomings that often form our social structures – that is, our role is intrinsically social, based on ‘people.”

Adding new light fixtures onto the main worn-down structure, they introduce a new information office, ticketing and waiting areas, platforms, and an orientation system accessible to the disabled.

Author CHYBIK + KRISTOF Architects [Ondrej Chybik, Michal Kristof,
Ondrej Svancara (Project Leader), Ingrid Spacilova, Adam Jung, Krystof Foltyn,
Martin Holy, Laura Emilija Druktenyte]
Location Brno, Czech Republic
Photography Alex shoots buildings, courtesy of CHYBIK + KRISTOF

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