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Let the Building Talk: An Exploration of Chybik + Kristof’s Practice

Let the Building Talk: An Exploration of Chybik + Kristof’s Practice

The website of Czech Republic-based studio Chybik + Kristof lets buildings tell their own story: like a subtitle that appears as you scroll, they speak in first person. This is what initially piqued our curiosity to learn more about the studio. As we spoke with the founders Ondřej Chybík and Michal Krištof in The NESS Podcast, it became clear that an inquisitiveness shapes how they practice and create projects. Fittingly, the conversation also left us with more questions than answers. In a way similar way to how the studio develops theory through practice, we transform our curiosity into hypothetical questions juxtaposed with a selection of projects that continues the dialogue.

Can you share the struggles but also the successes?

Screenshot of the project in

Koma Modular’s Research Center of Modular Architecture in the Czech Republic is a new design system opening new ways of designing with modules. While celebrated for its sustainable and holistic nature, modular architecture requires a significantly higher design complexity, challenging architects to depart from the standard rectangular construction and spaces. In a reimagination of spatial configurations, the studio instead turns their attention to creating organic shapes through the vacancies between modules. 

While modular structures are usually created by placing right-angled modules side by side, the architects realize new spatial possibilities through a custom combination. Spatial modules containing facilities are leveled onto the planar flooring modules, which are anchored to the foundation. Both modules then function as columns, allowing them to hold the roof modules and form a continuous main space. Making sure to keep the workplace breathable, all-glass surfaces between the modules draw in an abundance of light from all sides of the structure, while a pair of skylights further relaxes the space. The Research Center will be a prototype of a new, adaptable system for various projects. 

Adaptable to the needs of engineers and guest researchers, the center in Koma Modular’s production grounds features 12 individual working stations, as well as a main space for collaborative research projects. The building will serve as a flexible space for developing new ideas in modular constructions and a think-tank for the Koma Modular factory. The open, shared central space will be spatially organized and segmented to avoid negative aspects of large open space offices, maintaining a collaborative community with fluid structure. Drapes and other mobile elements will allow the space to be further sectioned.

DATE: 2017 / LOCATION: / ARCHITECTS: Chybik + Kristof / AREA: 260 m2 / PROGRAM: Offices / CG: monolot / COLLABORATOR: Zdeněk Sendler / PHOTOS: LAN

Can theory be found in naivety?

Screenshot of the project in

Urban Infill Lofts, a five-story building, is comprised of fourteen modern residential lofts and commercial spaces, all offering panoramic views of Brno in the Czech Republic. The urban design maximized the potential of the limited area, amplifying the plot through an irregular polygon floorplan and a geometric sculptural staircase.

A neon light installation, The Riders on the Storm inspired by Petr Dub, crowns the top floor and mimics the verticality of the building’s physique. It is inspired by the Doors song of the same name, and the design references its lyrics “the house we were born in,” emphasizing a close relationship people have with their homes.

Read more about the project in our article here.

DATE: 2019 / LOCATION: Brno, Czech Republic / AREA: 1200 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: lofts and commercial spaces / STATUS: built / DESIGN: CHYBIK + KRISTOF / PHOTOS: Alex shoots buildings + Boys Play Nice

Do buildings talk?

Screenshot of the project in

Chybik + Kristof designed the expansion of the Lahofer Winery in the Czech Republic. Nestled in the Moravian countryside, known for its vineyards, the Lahofer Winery is a compelling fusion of tradition, nature, and modern winemaking practices. The winery has broken ground and is set to open in Spring 2020. 

The building consists of three interconnected structures varying in height, including a winemaking facility, the company’s administrative base, and a visitor center featuring a tasting room. An impressive undulant roof serves as the public amphitheater and will host concerts and cultural events for visitors and locals. 

The architects respond to the architectural language of the Moravian landscape. Veering away from interfering with the landscape, the architects lighten the volume and aesthetic of the building by dividing the space into three masses. The building echoes the natural slopes of the surrounding terrain most noticeably in the amphitheater’s incline. Aligning with the rhythm of the vine rows, the colonnade of arches creates perfect visual symmetry with nature. 

The two halls of varying height correspond to the production processes that take place within. The first, lower hall, centralizes the operations, wine-making production and employee facilities. The strip windows under the structure’s roof create an abundance of natural light. The second hall allows for operations that require lower temperatures – the wine-press, the cellar, and the wine store. 

The varying heights of the spaces corresponding to the terrain create an alignment of the functional courtyards. While one courtyard serves as the operational area, centralizing logistic and production processes, the other holds the amphitheater, offering far-reaching landscape views. The architectural design of the amphitheater engages visitors and the roof offers a panoramic outlook of the vineyard. It will be a community space dedicated to cultural events, such as grape harvest celebrations and theater performances.  

DATES: 2015—2020 / LOCATION: South Moarvia / AREA: 3842 m2 / PROGRAM: Mixed-use, civic, offices / DESIGN: Chybik + Kristof Architects & Urban Designers / ART: Patrik Habl / CG: monolot / COLLABORATORS: Atelier Partero, Jakub Finger, Babka+Suchma / PHOTOS: Laurian Ghinitoiu, Alex Shoots Buildings

How do buildings get old?

Screenshot of the project in

House of Wine is a wine bar and tasting room located in Znojmo, in the heart of the Moravian region in the Czech Republic. Set in a converted 19th-century brewery, which includes its adjacent technical space added to the structure in the 1970s, the project overlooks a 9th-century chapel and a neighboring Gothic church. The site reflects the town’s many architectural layers and histories. Merging two spaces with distinct heritages and adopting individual approaches and understandings of renovation for each, the architects respond to the respective building’s structural past and function, and in the process, rethink conventional notions on restoration.

Read more in our article here.

DATE: 2019 / LOCATION: Znojmo, Czech Republic / PROGRAM: wine bar / STATUS: built / DESIGN: CHYBIK + KRISTOF Architects & Urban Designers / TEAM: Ondřej Chybik, Michal Krištof, Ondřej Mundl, Luděk Šimoník, Martin Holý, Roman Koplík, Lenka Vořechovská, Vratislav Zika, Hanka AlGibury, Petr Novák, Michal Klimeš / PHOTOS: Laurian Ghinitoiu / Alex Shoots Buildings

Is teaching as important as building?

To conclude, we also wanted to leave this open question that links back to our discussion in the podcast episode. For Chybik + Kristof teaching is a question of necessity that comes from an impossibility to build. We are curious to see what they build, how they teach, and what continues to make them curious in the future.

You can listen to the podcast episode here!

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