Project of a New Monastery of Dominican Nuns in Prague-Lysolaje

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A study of the New monastery

The urbanistic study of the whole site - as a material for the new plan of development of Prague - was made by Ing Arch Michal Ibl from the Atelier Vsehrdova 19 Ltd, Prague, in collaboration with Ing Arch Jiri Zavadil and Ing Arch Alena Zavadilova from the ATELIER ZAVADIL Ltd.

The following drawings and renderings are meant to give you an idea of the size and height of the chapel and the monastery, of the approximate number of rooms and their logical interconnection, of the site in the context of the countryside etc. Please keep in mind that this is not the final design of the monastery. Its final design will be a matter of search in further phases of the project.

The Layout and the Volumes of the Monastery

The layout and the design of the basic volumes of the monastery at this particular site is part of the urbanistic study. Another preliminary study made in 1992 by Ing Arch Vaclav Dvorak for a different site in Lysolaje was used as source material, among others. A survey on historical monasteries from the 8th century until the present and comparative analysis of Prague churches and chapels were used as guidelines for the basic layout of the designed monastery.

Basic Functions and Volumes of the Project:

  • A Public Chapel

  • B Belfry with an Entrance to the Monastery (Gate)

  • C Guest House

  • D Cloister and Courtyard

  • E Chapter Room, Infirmary, Sacristy

  • F Library, Oratory

  • G Parlours, Facilities near the Chapel

  • H Refectory, Kitchen, Store, Office

  • I Cells, Ateliers and Workshops

  • The public chapel, the belfry with the central entry to all other wings and the guest house (from east to west) is situated on the north side of the site at the entrance into the monastery. These buildings are meant as a face of the monastery towards the visitor and also as a volume separating the public and the private (enclosed) parts of the monastery. The three buildings accessible to the public define an entrance yard which is also a historical urban space in front of the chapel - a kind of a piazza or nartex. The road connecting the monastery with the municipality will lead from the north side as a natural prolongation of the Zakovska Street. Five family houses along this new road are proposed as a logical completion of the existing housing.

    The cloister with its central courtyard lies behind the separating volume formed by the three public buildings. Other functional sections of the monastery are connected to the cloister. A wing with the sacristy, the infirmary (cells for the ill sisters), the chapter room, the library and the private oratory are situated next to the chapel. Another section near the belfry contains facilities for visitors of the chapel as well as rooms where the sisters can meet with the public. Southwards from the guest house the cloister opens up to the refectory, the kitchen, the store and the office of the monastery which is accessible from outside the enclosed part.

     The south wing of the monastery, with the front facing south-east, is formed by a three-storey building with the sisters' cells on two floors above the ground plus one floor under the ground level. The cells are completed with workshops, ateliers and technical facilities, some of which are in the basement partly sunk in the hillside. A leisure terrace is designed on the roof of this wing, offering the possibility of making a roof garden.

    The volumes of the designed monastery gradually rise from one-storey buildings linked to the cloister to one-storey wings with the double-height library and refectory and further to the two-storey wing of the guest house with its attic and the two- or three-storey section with the cells and finally to the dominant volume of the chapel with the accentuated vertical of the belfry. This gradation can be clearly seen in views from the near as well as from the distance. The choice of conical opening of the volume of the chapel closed with the elliptic sanctuary contrasts with the rectangular volumes of the other sections of the monastery, thus introducing a visible difference between the sacred and the profane functions of the volumes.

    The ground floor The first floor The basement The cross-section
    (Click to open the enlarged plan.)