The New Identity Given to a Home in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic is “Interior of the Year

The ninth Interior of the Year competition for 2023 has been won by the BYRÓ ARCHITEKTI architectural studio. Jan Holub and Tomáš Hanus, the architects who designed the winning project, accepted the award for their spectacular and exceptional reconstruction of a home. How was the choice among the many contestants for the prize made and what does the nineteenth century home that won have hidden within its walls?

Strict Standards that Only the Best Attempt to Meet

Two hundred thirty-three projects from the Czech Republic and Slovakia were entered into the 2023 competition, breaking the previous record for the most competitors. It is obvious that “Interior of the Year” really means something in the architectural world of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Only projects completed in the previous year are allowed to compete. Thanks to its strict entry requirements, the competition can be a source of inspiration to the public at large and design professionals and chart a course for future developments. The competing projects were judged by a 19-member jury whose members came from all over the world.

After an Earlier, Haphazard Reconstruction, the Interior Received a New Look

In the heart of historic Kutná Hora stood a medieval house that had been destroyed by fire. In its place an entirely new house was built in the nineteenth century, which underwent a reconstruction in the 1970s. Unfortunately, that work was not done well. Nothing at all of the building’s interesting original interior was retained. Architects Jan Holub and Tomáš Hanus decided to restore it and uncover its original elements as best they could.

Did they succeed? Petr Tschakert, the head of the Interior of the Year competition, says, “The house in Kutná Hora is not the kind of reconstruction where you’re struck by one room that is fit for the cover of a magazine. Rather, you have to go through it gradually to understand the overall concept, the relationships between the spaces, the use of light, and the subtle decorative function of the materials and structures. This is a carefully thought-out house that makes you want to go in, put your toothbrush down in the bathroom and immediately start living.”

The Architects’ Consistent, Careful Approach Won Out

It was not easy for the nineteen members of the jury to choose from among the large number of architectural studios and co-working centers or the 125 private homes submitted to the competition. BYRÓ ARCHITEKTI stood out however. “The international jury appreciated the sensitive way new elements were added to the original construction, the clever way the architects worked with light and color, and their consistent approach to the interior and exterior of the house. They singled out the varnished plywood elements that run throughout the house, the restraint and consistency of the materials used on the surfaces, and the refinement of the decorative elements like the millwork.” Those were the conclusions of the jury as they closed the 2023 edition of the Interior of the Year competition

The Interior of the Year competition is sponsored by the Czech Institute of Interior Design and every year rewards exceptional public and private interiors designed by Czech and Slovak architects. The designers and architects entered their projects completed in 2023 into the ninth year of the competition. The awards were presented on May 14, 2024 at the DOX Center for Contemporary Art in Prague, Czech Republic.

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