Photograph showing aerial view of building with glowing lantern rooflight

Atelier38 reworks furniture store into home for Czech Radio

Architecture studio Atelier38 has converted a former furniture store in Olomouc, Czech Republic, into a broadcast centre arranged around a light-filled atrium. 

Atelier38 refurbished the building, which was built in 1911, to give it the necessary technical and acoustic fixtures needed for a modern radio broadcaster.

Photograph showing narrow facade of building onto street
The original building dates from the early 20th century

The Czech Radio broadcast centre occupies a narrow plot in the middle of Olomouc and is characterised by its exposed reinforced concrete frame and long skylight window that can both be seen in the cavernous central atrium that spans four storeys.

Throughout the 20th century, the building remained a furniture store, but the skylight was closed off with mineral wool to keep the building insulated.

Photograph showing coolly-lit circulation space
The atrium's pitched skylight floods the interior with natural light

The studio reopened this central atrium and made it the heart of the building. It added additions that highlighted the existing concrete structure to avoid detracting from the original fabric of the building.

"We tried hard to preserve the visible supporting structure and not to destroy the integrity and sculptural quality of the central space," said Atelier38.

Photograph showing coolly-lit circulation space
Original balustrades line the walkways and that span the void in the atrium

A monochromatic scheme was chosen for both the circulatory and private areas to unite the interior – regardless of function and era – and highlight the building's unique original structural details.

Glass partition walls allow the ample natural light from the atrium to reach into the side rooms, which contain meeting and conference spaces, studios, offices and editing rooms as well as archives and storage facilities.

Photograph showing neutral-coloured meeting space with original archway detail inset into wall
Original details sit beside modern conveniences

"The shape and proportions of the broadcast studios, control room, and self-service studios arose from the possibility of building into the existing skeleton structure," the studio explained.

"[The installed elements] form an artistic technological dialogue with the original supporting structure without suppressing it."

Photograph showing interior of broadcast recording room
Recording studios are equipped with audiovisual and acoustic technology

The studio also upgraded the thermal, sanitary and electrical services needed to meet contemporary standards and to ensure the smooth running of broadcasts.

Other adaptive reuse projects published on Dezeen include a retreat for professionals inside an abandoned girls' school by Artchimboldi and Emma Martí, and a former prison in Berlin converted into a hotel by Grüntuch Ernst Architects.

The photography is by BoysPlayNice.

More images and plans

Site plan of building within centre of Olomouc
Sectional view of building
Basement floor plan with key for rooms and amenities
First floor plan with key for rooms and amenities
Second floor plan with key for rooms and amenities
Third floor plan with key for rooms and amenities
Fourth floor plan with key for rooms and amenities
Fifth floor plan with key for rooms and amenities
Sixth floor plan with key for rooms and amenities
Photograph showing detail of narrow facade of building onto street
Photograph showing narrow facade of building onto street
Photograph showing detail of entryway
Photograph showing detail of entryway
Photograph showing coolly-lit atrium circulation space
Photograph showing coolly-lit atrium circulation space
Photograph showing coolly-lit atrium circulation space
Photograph showing coolly-lit circulation space
Photograph showing neutral-coloured meeting space
Photograph showing neutral-coloured meeting space
Photograph of outside of broadcasting room with red lit 'on air' sign above door
Photograph showing aerial view of building with glowing lantern rooflight