On the northeast corner of Prague, the sprawling Černý Most estate is home to over 20,000 residents. Built during the late 1970s and 1980s, the neighbourhood was made possible by the ubiquitous prefabricated panel construction that accounts for most of the Czech capital’s post-war housing. Known locally (and increasingly affectionately) as paneláks, these buildings continue to house a third of the country’s residents. But inside, many individual homes belie the perceived homogeneity of Soviet-era design. Behind one such unassuming façade, the residence and studio of sculptor and glassmaker Vladimír Bachorík is an expression of singular character.
Designed by local firm Neuhäusl Hunal in close collaboration with Bachorík, the project reinvented the 71-square-metre space into a hybrid of home and workspace that’s as unique as the artist himself. For Bachorík, the priority was to simplify the apartment by maximizing natural light and eliminating barriers. Past the front entry, there isn’t a single door in the house. Instead, the simple, functional raw concrete and ceramic surfaces are complemented by translucent glass blocks that create privacy without enclosure.
Inspired by Bachorík’s artistic ouevre, the designers transformed the interior to create an elegantly raw — and radically open — space. Load-bearing concrete walls and plumbing connections presented the only immovable constraints, allowing Neuhäusl Hunal to carve out a new floorplan.
Framing the kitchen and bathroom, curved glass blocks balance openness and enclosure, playfully making the shower cabin both a visual focal point and a semi-private space.
In both the lavatory and the kitchen (which Bachorík primarily uses as a maker space) white square tiles and contrasting grout establish a rigorously streamlined aesthetic. And while raw concrete walls imbue the home with a sense of creative energy — reminiscent of Rick Owens’ famed Paris apartment — the designers were careful not to overwhelm the space with concrete, introducing white plaster walls as a muted complement.
“Our aim was to use a hybrid typology and achieve the highest degree of freedom, light and generosity,” says the Neuhäusl Hunal team. “Boundaries and functions are blurred in terms of plan and material: the maximally open and flowing space without doors is thus divided only by arched half-sections of U-profiled glass. These translucent glass blocks of high order ensure the penetration of light. Their materiality and character naturally refer to the client’s lifelong work.”
Neuhäusl Hunal create an elegantly raw space for artist Vladimír Bachorík within a Prague panelák.