The world’s weirdest skyscraper?

A controversial skyscraper that looks like an upturned oil tanker in a crash with an office block could soon become Prague’s tallest building. 

Bizarre new plans from Czech development company Trigema would see the 450ft-high structure towering over the historic city. 

It would cost an estimated two billion Czech koruna (£70,000,000) and would have a public lookout with a 360-degree view at its peak, reached by an external lift. 

Prague’s historic downtown is a UNESCO World Heritage site where high-rises are totally banned, so the skyscraper – dubbed Top Tower – would be built in the suburbs. 

Plans have been unveiled for a new skyscraper in Prague which would look like a oil tanker in a crash with an office block (Pictured, an artist’s impression)

Architect Tomáš Císař, who designed the tower with his Black n’ Arch studio colleague, sculptor David Černý, said the boat was a ‘fundamental element’ of the structural design. ‘It comprises a notional vertical public space,’ he said. 

‘It is publicly accessible both via the viewing elevator and staircase which link individual height levels – terraces which in future are designed to be used as outdoor galleries, lapidaria and gardens.

‘The boat is structurally connected to the building. One cannot stand, nor even exist, without the other. 

‘Thus the boat is not a mere addition, but rather a fundamental element both intellectually and technically.’ 

The controversial skyscraper would stand at 450ft in the suburbs of the Czech Republic capital

The building – dubbed Top Tower – would cost an estimated two billion Czech koruna (£70,000,000) to complete

The developer estimates that construction will begin in 2021 and take less than three years to complete. 

A promotional video for the scheme links the design to global warming and envisions the tower in a post-apocalyptic landscape, surrounded only by water. 

Then, in the clip, the flood waters recede and reveal the surrounding city. It’s a design that’s elicited a mixed reaction. 

Czech architect Michal Postránecký told Prague’s Lidové noviny newspaper that a ‘more realistic’ design should be picked. 

Top Tower would feature a public lookout with a 360-degree view of the city at its peak

The ground level would have space for shops, while the lower floors would be full of offices

He said: ‘From an urban perspective, I think a high-rise building could be there, but the chosen concept is not a happy one – it adds no value.’ 

Urban planner Ivan Kaplan of the Czech Technical University expressed reservations about the height of the building. 

‘Concerns about the climate catastrophe can be expressed differently, more subtly and more cheaply,’ he said. 

Architect Vít Máslo, however, wished the developers success. ‘Hopefully the building will succeed because there is a great deal of resistance,’ he said.

Top Tower would become the tallest building in the Czech Republic, overtaking AZ Tower

The peak of the ship-like structure would tower above the main building, with a propeller seen near its tip

A ‘notional vertical public space’ inside the ship-like structure is designed to be used for outdoor galleries and gardens

‘As for David Černý’s design, the shipwreck is such a transfer of sculpture to architecture, it can be interesting, yet difficult to implement. Sculpture and architecture are different concepts, but in an exceptional case – why not?’ 

The building is planned for Prague’s 13th district, close to the Nové Butovice metro station. 

Its developers say it will not be visible from the historic city centre and would not disturb the skyline there. 

The main area of the quirky building, which appears to collide with the ship structure, would contain flats

Marcel Soural of Trigema said: ‘We have been preparing the Top Tower project for more than two years and the final version was preceded by eight other alternative solutions. 

‘During this time, we have collected and are still collecting suggestions from experts, state and local authorities, and of course the local public, whose representatives have already held and will continue to hold a number of participatory meetings.’ 

The main structure will provide rental housing, while the lower floors will host offices and a multi-functional cultural center, connected with a publicly accessible roof garden. 

On the ground level will be space for shops. 

It’s envisioned as an energy-efficient building, accredited with a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certificate.

If it goes ahead, it will be the tallest building in the Czech Republic, overtaking Brno’s AZ Tower.

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