V7_underground: turning no-go area into a safe + vibrant hub
czechian firm U/U studio is finalizing, in cooperation with prague 7 municipality, the revitalization of neglected underpasses at the vltavská intersection – transforming the once no-go area into a vibrant and barrier-free spot for people to meet. featuring a skate arena, basketball court, cafe with amphitheatre, new concrete floors, painted murals, and 24/7 lighting, the V7_underground project presents itself as a family-friendly park that is safe for all. to the surprise of U/U studio, the space has already gained heavy success before its official opening – attracting hundreds of visitors every day.
all images © U/U studio
always at the ‘trinity’ of sports, music, and visual arts, the team at U/U studio wanted to attract a wide range of residents and visitors to a place where no one wants to go or is afraid to go to. ‘we had no intention of building another enclosed skate park. we mapped the needs of everyone – women and men across generations. at one point, [their needs] crossed paths. only open sharing – in this case, the sharing of a sports site – has a chance to awaken empathy and respect in people within the contours of contemporary big-city stress,‘ comments U/U studio.
V7_underground combines leisure and sports activities in a family-friendly and 24/7 lit park
celebrating urban life with ‘light’ and colorful designs
the architects and authorities, however, initially faced – and quickly resolved – a challenge while designing the space: ‘no one had experience with a park combining skateboarding, bouldering and basketball, operating not behind a fence but on an open transport road. in the labyrinth of rules, we searched together for – and found – a solution that can be considered a ‘sample’ for other similar projects.’ in other words, they managed to elevate the positives of traffic movement while suppressing its negatives.
vltavská street is one of prague’s most prominent nodes – desirable with its permanent movement and highly burdened with its externalities (noise, smog, etc.). the latter was counteracted by adopting a ‘light’ design approach – i.e., introducing sports activities that don’t require complex and expensive infrastructure. ‘we are discovering dead spots in the city and looking for their hidden potential. we never wanted to demolish and build new solutions. we rely on low costs and fine-tuning,’ explain the architects. as a final touch, to elevate and humanize the lightness of the structural layout, a vibrant color scheme runs across the concrete surfaces for riders, players, and passersby to enjoy.
U/U studio designed a park that is well lit and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
colorful elements inject new energy into the long-standing concrete