Reconstruction of the former prison in Uherské Hradiště,

Architekti Studio+Symbio Studio

What a challenge to transform prison to courthouse, public prosecutor and probation service building. How to turn building, which is so enclose in itself, into an institution, which should be representing, transparency, confidence and motivation?

We divided the building into three definite parts – courthouse, museum and public prosecution. Each of them has its own entrance and significant front facade. With opening inner yards and historical passages, we created new entrances. The only new part of the complex is the extension of the courthouse, which characterizes itself as contemporary and unsentimental. Behind the metal door we preserve the shabiness of the building and the former disposition in the museum.


We divided the historical prison into three parts according to the basic logic of spatial arrangements of the existing building. The western part becomes a courthouse, the north part becomes the museum of totality and the east becomes public prosecutor and probation service. Each part has its entrance and forecourt. Each part shows different character of the building according to the institution in it. One of the essential aspects is which parts of the building are open to the public. Each institution has a clearly spatially and operationally separated part of the building. The attic spaces are used for the technological background of the building. The historical building of the prison is interfered with as little as possible. New entrances to the premises of the museum and the representative office have been added. Together with the new wing of the courthouse, the historic western facade of the building is transformed into an arcade of the inner foyer. And it is precisely the addition of the new courthouse wing that is the only, but nonetheless significant, contemporary addition to the prison campus.

Western part of the building – the courthouse
The courthouse is situated into the western part of the campus, towards to the town center. Courtrooms, offices and meeting rooms are located in the new wing of the building, which is inserted into the smaller western courtyard. Between the historical building and the new wing is an elevated entrance foyer, in which is essentially the entire operation of the court. Although there is an open foyer, the public and private areas are clearly separated. The original eastern facade of the courtyard is opened just so, that the corridor spaces are opening towards the new foyer. The walkways around the perimeter of the foyer, in the public area, serve also as waiting rooms in front of the courtrooms. The ground floor in the new wing is open to the street “Politických vězňů” and the story is set back so that it creates the largest possible vestibule for this institution. The facade of the new wing is double-skinned. The outer glass layer is transparent and unifies the overall character of the new wing. It is separated from the inner facade by approx. 50 cm. The inner layer of the facade is divided by windows according to the internal layout of the building. The new wing stands on a solid concrete plinth. The individual rooms in the historic building are located in the logic of the existing layouts with a minimum of intervention, see the coordination drawing.
Northern part of the building – the museum
The rough character of the building is preserved precisely in this central part of the former prison. The premises of the museum are clearly defined and the museum functions as an independent unit with its own character. All interventions to the existing building are limited to a minimum – the entrance area is adjusted, the necessary elevator and toilets are inserted, the central area of the solitary cells is opened and repaired so that it corresponds to the historical dispositions. The facades of the buildings of this section remain shabby, crudely repaired to confirm the character and depression of the place. This corresponds to the character of the entrance, metal gate with a preserved peephole and the area of the courtyard defined precisely by weathered facades.
Eastern part of the building – Representative and Probationary Section
The State Prosecutor’s Office uses two wings directly adjacent to the eastern courtyard. Probation services are located in the ground floor and attic of the existing garage building. The perimeter wall is opened in place of the courtyard and only its pillars remain, thanks to that it creates a public vestibule from which both institutions can be directly entered. Interventions in these wings of the historic building are minimal. There is a new entrance, a new elevator and staircase are located as well. The historical connection between the eastern and northern courtyards is open.
The West Court is transformed into the foyer of the new court, which wraps around it. The East Court of the Representation and Probation Services is open to the public and serves as the vestibule to these institutions. The north museum yard is opened by a new gate in the east and a current gate in the north. It is freely open from morning to evening, when locals can pass through and shorten their way through the town center. Also, a cafe and a salla terrena are newly located here, which encourages the use of this courtyard. Western part can serve as a museum for outdoor installations. The northern part is structured in the logic of historical prison garden beds for growing vegetables.
Parking spaces are located around the perimeter of the block. The courthouse uses the parking lot adjacent to the original prison headquarters building. Part of the proposal is the redesign of the spaces in front of Art school, which makes a second half of the block, and their parking adjacent to Velehradská street. Parking for Prosecutor, Probation service and museum visitors is between the Prosecutor and Probation service buildings. We are considering parking for buses in the area of the bus station; however, it is possible to place them in the street in the area in front of the entrance to the courthouse building. At the same time, the street Politických vězňů is modified – calmed down in order to compensate for its narrow profile.

Garden behind the wall/the northern garden
A garden behind the wall with a wilder character atypical for Uherské Hradiště. A garden enlivening the adjacent streets with tree crowns. A sunny garden offering different atmospheres. The northern part, with flower beds with wilder plantings and multi-stemmed trees, is a reminder of the prison gardens. It brings shadier and more intimate spaces to the garden. A residential lawn with solitary trees expands the possibilities of the new use of former garages building converted to sala terrena. The lawn area with multi-stemmed plantings in the eastern part continues its character with the existing rich herbaceous vegetation. The internal arrangement of unpaved soft surfaces provides spaces for outdoor expositions. The combination of paved and unpaved surfaces allows for easy movement through the garden.
Reverential court
The closed, shady courtyard with a grid of aspen trees in the slatted surface is a place of contemplation as well as a living space, inviting to stay. The green canopy of the courtyard provides gentle shade. The unpaved surface allows free movement over the entire area of the yard. Shade-loving plants are planted along the facades and in some places under the trees. Open spaces with a water feature -memorial – are enlivened by climbing plants.
There is enlarged paved surface in front of the art school, the grassy areas are left unchanged. Groups of trees are planted on the corners of the school. We perceive the space near the eastern facade of the school as part of Palackého náměstí, where the shade under the trees invites you to sit.

The historic building will be insulated for the purposes of heritage protection – replacement of windows, insulation of the ceiling, implementation of measures against the rise of moisture into the structures. The specific source of heating will be verified, however, at the moment, ground-water heat pumps can be considered. To a reasonable extent, ventilation with heat recuperation can also be considered. Attic spaces and raised floors, where all technical networks will be led, without interfering with existing structures, can be used for that. The new building uses all modern measures to increase the economy of the building.
– the inner outer shell has a suitable ratio of glazed / non-glazed areas and meets the thermal technical requirements.
– the outer shell consists of transparent photovoltaic cells.
– air – recuperation.
– activated concrete structures are used for heating/cooling.
Rainwater from the roofs will be used in the garden and yard to irrigate vegetation and trees. Water from paved areas will be led to vegetation areas.


Authors: Architekti Studio (Ondřej Synek+Jan Vlach+Jiří Žid+David Pavlišta+Tereza Psotková+Štěpán Psotka+Alžběta Widholmová+Michaela Hudečková+Martin Kunc)+Symbio Studio (Marie Gelová+Pavla Drbalová+Sandra Chlebovská).
Website: /
Location: Hradiste, Czech republic.
Year: 2022
Competition: Reconstruction of the former prison in Uherské Hradiště.
Prize: 3rd prize.