It will be covered by the top Dutch studio KCAP

Bratislava 10 September 2019 - The Trade Union House in Bratislava is expected to undergo a fundamental change in the coming years, but its original function as a cultural and social centre will remain a priority. Inspiring urbanism, a high quality public space and culture are the main visions of KCAP, an internationally operating design office for architecture, urbanism and landscape design with offices in Rotterdam, Zurich and Shanghai, which is behind the architecture of new Istropolis.

Dutch  studio KCAP is the winner of the international architectural competition initiated by Immocap, the owner of the land under and around the Trade Union House at Trnavské mýto.

KCAP is one of the absolute leaders of urbanism and architecture in Europe, but for us their way of thinking about the urban space and the challenges of this important location at Trnavské mýto was important in particular," said Martin Šramko, Immocap CEO.

The first part of the tender addressed 32 studios from Slovakia and Europe, from which seven international architectural studios got into the first round. In the competition, Immocap looked especially for an inventive urban solution with regards to the recovery of the cultural and social function and the revitalisation of public space, whose potential is currently neglected.

The competition was challenging not only because of the high competition of highly competent studios, but also because of the nature of the area and the many limitations associated with it. It was felt, however, that Immocap did its homework honestly to address the studios that share the values they desire for the project. An example is that they visited all the participating studios in person to get to know their style and way of working. The tender itself included a detailed historical analysis of the space, a strategic vision of the future project and the preparatory process including stimulating workshops with the opportunity to get to know the Trade Union House complex and its surroundings more closely,”  said Jeroen Dirckx, a Partner at KCAP.

The former congress centre of the communist regime, which later also served social purposes, has fallen into disrepair for decades without any investment in its operation. The building and the adjacent public space do not meet current quality and safety requirements. Interest in its use has also declined significantly on the part of event organizers, resulting in a decrease in usability to less than 10% and an operating loss of more than EUR 100,000 per year. A comprehensive audit of the premises revealed that the technical condition of the building is very bad, almost all technologies are over their lifetime, there is no air conditioning, ventilation is not working and the original generous interior solution with huge demands on operation is uneconomical and does not meet today's standards. Usability of the main hall is insufficient, its fixed seating arrangement is intended only for a certain type of events that limit it in the offer of cultural events in our capital, demand for which is constantly growing.

The project is currently in the second preparatory phase, when the investor, together with KCAP architectural studio and experts from the relevant areas, are working on a more specific form of the territory, based on a number of detailed analyses, audits and studies, which over the past one and a half years examined the cultural and social needs of our capital.

We entered into the project with the ambition to bring to Bratislava a modern, multifunctional cultural and social centre with a capacity significantly larger than the current one, and with this intention we are continuing our preparatory works. The new Istropolis will be a venue for various multi-genre events, even those that have never been held in Bratislava yet, thanks to the flexible layout and the cutting-edge technical and acoustic equipment. After years of absence, the people of Bratislava will be given a magnificent cultural venue to be proud of, ” added Martin Šramko.

The 30-years track record of projects in which KCAP has been involved in countries all over the world proves that their goal is to create the best public spaces that bring new and authentic life to specific cities and neighbourhoods, with respect to human scale.  They also approach the project in Bratislava with the same intention.  “Our goal in all our projects is to make cities better places to live. For Bratislava and the area of Trnavské mýto this means creating a neighbourhood that combines cultural and social life, quality public spaces for markets and cafés, a pleasant environment that brings a piece of nature to the city centre and a good connection to other parts of Bratislava. All in a balance that is environmentally sustainable and promotes a healthy lifestyle, ” explains Jeroen Dirckx of KCAP.

Dutch architects are currently one of the most innovative leaders in public space design in Europe and we are delighted to bring KCAP to Bratislava with environmental solutions that have never been implemented in our country yet,” said Martin Šramko.

For KCAP this is their first project in Slovakia. “Bratislava breathes with vitality and ambition, which creates an exciting work context for us. It follows the tradition of experimental and visionary architecture alongside more familiar historical aspects, which opens up the potential for an interesting dialogue. Together with a client who has an ambition and is willing to change social conventions, we can create architecture and urbanism that can serve as an example of future development of the city and achieve something truly exceptional, “ added Jeroen Dirckx.


About KCAP

KCAP reputed for renown projects throughout Europe and Asia including several projects that contribute to the transformation of the centre of Rotterdamthe masterplan for HafenCity district in Hamburg, Europaallee station area development in Zurich, the transformation of the national stadium and Atomium site NEO in Brussels and the London Legacy Framework, the redevelopment of the Olympic Park after the Olympic Games of 2012. Their projects can also be found in Russia and Asia, with urban and architectural projects in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Seoul, Korea. Currently they are working on the urban design of Jurong Lake District, the future mixed-use central business district of Singapore including a new high speed train station.


KCAP’s projects have been awarded frequently with among others the ULI 2013 Global Awards for Excellence (HafenCity Hamburg), the Excellence of the Waterfront Awards 2012 Honor Award (FredericiaC, Denmark) and recently the Move Realty Awards for Golden City St. Petersburg (KCAP+Orange) as best business class project of the year in St. Petersburg. Projects like HafenCity Hamburg and GWL Terrein Amsterdam are awarded with TOD certificate in gold and silver, as well received several projects acclaimed sustainability awards like BREAAM Excellent and DGBN Gold.


Kees Christiaanse, founder and partner of KCAP has been awarded with several lifetime awards like the ‘2016 RIBA International Fellowship’ for his particular contribution to architecture, the 'ARC17 Oeuvre Award' for his lasting and innovative contribution to the improvement of the built environment and the 'ULI Leadership Award 2018' for his special commitment and courage with which he has committed himself to sustainable urban development and a better quality of life in the urban centres of Germany.