Mediatheque in Mokrá
Peter Hovořák e Radim Lička - Dimense Architects
The functional conversion of a decommissioned industrial facility is certainly a far from easy project, especially if the available resources are limited. Such was the case of the remodelling project of an old coal-fired power station that once served to heat the prefabricated houses in Mokrá, a small municipality near Brno in Moravia. Like those of many other towns in the Czech Republic, the now long disused power station has been converted to perform other functions of a collective nature. The firm appointed to oversee the project, Dimense Architects, sought the participation of the general public in order to establish shared general objectives and to ensure that the project would be capable of redeveloping the entire area and not just the building itself.
Built in the seventies without any connection with the surrounding countryside or the lifestyle of its inhabitants, the municipality entirely lacked spaces for meeting, communicating or for cultural, social and recreational activities.
The opportunity to rectify this situation presented itself in the form of the project to remodel the former coal-fired power station and convert it into a mediatheque and community centre, complete with library, reading room, auditorium with audio-video rental facilities and internet access, two entertainment rooms for children, teenagers and adults and a multifunctional room.
With its compositional simplicity and formal rigour, the new building complex maintains and elaborates on the most interesting existing construction features. Visually the building stands out for the vertical element of the tower which dominates the surrounding inhabited area and the horizontal element of the façade which opens onto the square in front of the building.
The old chimney, almost thirty metres in height, has been preserved and transformed into a kind of civic tower bearing a clock, the municipality’s coat of arms and telecommunications equipment. This technical feature will continue to play a strong identifying role within the urban landscape, drawing attention to the presence of the new community centre and giving it monumental characteristics.
At the front of the building is a large portico that protects the façade and covers the external staircase and the large paved landing in front of the entrance. The slender structure of the portico, the glass-panelled facade, the stairway and the landing create a natural stage for open-air cultural events. This space, derived from the former coal loading hopper area, adopts design solutions that meet specific technical and performance requirements and make consistent use of the finishing materials. The façade is made entirely of glass and aluminium; the portico is clad with wood and framed by a thin steel profile; the floor covering of the landing and stairs consists of Discovery series large-format porcelain tile sheets from Century.
The relationship between the new building and the original structure is also evident in the interior design where traces of the various remodelling operations have intentionally been left visible.
Century, Discovery series
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant