To tune into the community, a radio broadcaster in Prague opens a porous café

Prague – To be seen and not just heard: it makes perfect sense that a public radio broadcaster seeking to broaden its range and modernize should want to physically open its programming up to its audience. Czech Radio (Český rozhlas) briefed CMC Architects to create a porous café on the ground floor of its Prague headquarters to do so. Radiocafé Vinohradská 12 is a 150-sq-m space for face-to-face community-building, a place that enables locals to engage with the radio broadcasting they hear every day.

The oldest broadcaster in continental Europe, Czech Radio has a storied history. Its headquarters –a Functionalist building built between 1929 and 1932 by architect Bohumil Sláma – was bombed and partially destroyed during World War II. As a result, the listed cultural monument has since been extensively reconstructed. Undeniably, radio’s place in culture has changed dramatically in the course of the building’s existence and architectural evolution. As a result, the space where it’s spoken into existence needs to functionally develop too.

To set that mission in motion, Czech Radio requested an area suitable for hosting live broadcasts and social events. The goal is for the café to be inviting for people to meet up with friends and acquaintances, but also moderators and guests from shows.  CMC’s task was to take two commercial units original to the building and turn them into a single social environment, one visually connected with the broadcaster’s entrance hall.

Modern construction techniques and materials used by CMC build on the heritage of the site without interpreting the original aesthetic literally. A warm colour palette combines harmoniously with white glass, a reference to the lobby’s marble lining. Oak flooring, leather benches, marble tables, a brass bar and large circular light fixtures emanating a golden glow are the visual anchors of the space.

Of course, acoustics were a foremost consideration – the wall surfacing and ceiling cladding were selected to maximize sound insulation, attenuation and absorption.

Location Vinohradská 12, 120 00 Prague 2-Vinohrady, Czech Republic

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