Canaway Fleming Architects have designed a significant art gallery as an extension to the existing facilities for the West Bohemia Art Galleries in Plzen, Czech Republic. The design brief called for a building of high quality modern architecture which was nevertheless modest, without dominating the existing historic skyline that would be located on a sensitive historic site at the ancient gateway of this historic city.


The site, originally called ‘U Zvonu’, is located on an ancient access way, Prazska Street, to the historical city of Plzen, in front of a bridge across a protective moat and gateway in the fortified city walls. The first building on site was a city hospital combined with a church, constructed in 1320, the remains of which still lie on the site. The site was later converted to a bell making foundry and workshop. Buildings on the site were eventually destroyed by bombing in the Second World War and recent flooding in 2002.


The site area is currently defined by tramways and roads that combined to produce a triangular shaped piece of land bounded by U Zvonu and Prazska Street, both important routes, currently, and historically in and out of the city.


The proposed art gallery design is comprised of a six storey building, broadly triangular in shape with the supporting and ancillary facilities being organised along one ‘arm’ of the triangle and the predominant public and exhibition spaces located in the rest of the triangle. The two principal public elevations face the historic main access route and the remains of the existing church foundations, exposed as part of the proposed design and the main gallery access facing the old city.




Aalto University Campus

Helsinki, Finland