Brno’s brutalist bus station reopens for new journeys | Concrete Ideas

Brno’s brutalist bus station reopens for new journeys | Concrete Ideas

24 May 2021

A Czech architectural firm has given a bright new life to Brno’s socialist-era Zvonarka Central Bus Terminal.

With its exposed concrete roof and steel frame, the original transport hub was designed by Radúz Russ and opened in 1988 — only to be privatised a year later as the Eastern Bloc collapsed. High maintenance costs then saw the building left to decay, alongside thousands of others across Eastern Europe. But unlike Prague’s socialist-era Hotel Praha and Transgas headquarters, which were demolished in 2014 and 2019 respectively, Zvonarka has been given a light and airy upgrade that incorporates its brutalist features into a modern design.

Architecture studio CHYBIK + KRISTOF painted the building’s interior steel structure white to create a more contemporary feel. After removing the temporary structures built in the 1990s, they integrated more lighting, a new information office, ticketing and waiting areas into a separate, self-contained building that rises from street level in a gentle, cresting wave.

Before

CHYBIK + KRISTOF embarked on a journey to restore the building back in 2011, when the studio had only been around for a year, spreading awareness about the bus station and its plight on social media, and sparking a dialogue between stakeholders and public authorities.

They say that revitalising Zvonarka was just one example of how architects can play an intrinsic social role in their work — in this case, by improving the lives of the 17,000 passengers who use the hub each day.

“Demolitions are a global issue,” CHYBIK + KRISTOF say. “[Architects] need to consider and also work from existing architecture – and gradually shift the conversation from creation to transformation.”

After

This article is part of Concrete Ideas, an architectural series highlighting creative and emblematic projects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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