The Rasin embankment building is situated at the intersection
of the River Vltava (Moldau) and a busy road link. The site itself,
destroyed by a bomb in the Second World War, had long been
the subject of intense architectural speculation due to its sensitive
location in the vicinity of richly decorated nineteenth-century
houses, the Prague Castle complex and the National Theatre.
The present building, a speculative office development designed
by Frank Gehry andVlado Milunic, has been surrounded by
controversy since its inception. Andersen Consulting therefore
took a brave decision when they decided to occupy three of the
five available floors for their headquarters in the Czech capital.
EJA were then invited to take part in a limited architectural
competition - a daunting task since the proposal for the interiors
was, by the nature of the building, very limited with regard to
internal flexibility, particularly for a client whose requirements
demanded a great deal in terms of office organisation and
environmental qualities. It was debatable whether the conditions
of quality that existed in their other offices globally could be
achieved in a relatively new country such as the Czech Republic,
and on a budget based to a great extent on local conditions.
However, this challenge helped to generate the enthusiasm
necessary for the competition entry, and EJA were eventually
appointed in the autumn of 1995.
Being on a corner, the building has two party walls and two
open elevations: one facing the embankment with its excellent
views, the other overlooking an internal courtyard.The external
walls take the form of an irregular curve that changes shape on
individual levels. Glass panels were introduced at the end of each
partition (roughly perpendicular to the external facade) to allow
a view of the curved wall all the way along the perimeter. These
panels give an impression of openness and underline the character
of the initial design.
As well as setting out the requirements for staff work spaces,
the brief called for various types of meeting rooms and training
centres. The company was keen to have as much open work space
as possible in order to create a closer collaboration between
employees. However, certain offices and meeting rooms needed
to be separated acoustically and this called for a complete