Quadrio Shopping Centre
I looked through my old photos of Prague to see if there were any from this area before the Quadrio Shopping Centre was built but I didn’t have anything. Not surprising really as apart from the old fruit and veg market during the day and the drug dealers around the entry to the metro station at night there was not much else. How things have changed.
The Old Days of the Quadrio Shopping Centre Site
This area has Gothic history but has been reconstructed several times. Between 1977 and 1985 three Baroque buildings were demolished in order to create the current Národní metro station which left a dismal open square with a single floor building above ground.
More Recent Days
In 1998 the City of Prague proposed selling this land for redevelopment so they had a tender in 2000 for potential replacement designs. The winner was a design from the COPA Leisure group and originally the complex was to be called the COPA Centrum Národní. The design was finished by 2007 and permission was given for an archaeological excavation of the site in 2009. Unfortunately for the COPA Leisure group this excavation found much of the original Gothic basements on the Spálena side of the complex were still in good condition so the city ministry of culture put a preservation order on them and forced a redesign of the building (parts of the old Gothic basements are visible on the -2 Floor). This excavation triggered a wider exploration of the area revealing large Jewish Cemetery grounds and protection orders were placed on several other buildings. In 2011 the project was taken over by the CPI investment group and in 2013 the building acquired a new name, Quadrio.
The Finished Quadrio Shopping Centre
If you like numbers then consider that 100,000 cubic metres of earth was removed from the site and it reaches down 24 metres from ground level. This puts the foundation of the Quadrio just 15 metres above the metro station and the project cost CZK3.1 Billion. Constructed between 2012 and its official opening date of October 31st 2014, the complex is actually multi-purpose with a mix of public facilities (metro), offices, commercial retail space and residential space. The Quadrio Shopping Centre takes up 4 floors i.e. two floors above and two floors below ground although the upper floor is a foodhall. The retail space is largely a mix of Nationally and Internationally known companies with very little independent presence. If you are looking for a quick lunch on the food floor, a more leisurely lunch at a restaurant, some food shopping or you need a drugstore/chemist then you’ll find all that here.
The David Cerny Franz Kafka Head
As an investment designed to draw people into the area in 2012 the CPI Group commissioned Czech Sculptor David Cerny to create something. What he created and installed in 2014 was a 16 metre structure with 42 moving levels that form the shape of Franz Kafka’s head. As this is firmly on the tourist map of the city I believe this was a good investment. I put a video below and it operates between 8am and 9pm in the first quarter of each hour.