The Czech Lanterns project, a collaboration between MVRDV and NACO, aims to transform Václav Havel Airport Prague, the largest airport in Prague and the Czech Republic. The expansion plan involves the construction of three new buildings with a focus on sustainability and flexibility for future expansion.
The first building to be constructed is a central security facility, along with business and VIP lounges, and a vertiport integrated into Terminal 1. On the opposite side of the airport loop road, another building will house a hotel, a conference center, and parking facilities. These buildings are designed to seamlessly blend into the airport’s environment, enhancing the overall passenger experience.
The exteriors of these buildings feature an illuminated, programmable satellite image of the Czech Republic, giving them the name Czech Lanterns. This unique aesthetic creates a new airport boulevard, making the buildings the first elements passengers encounter upon arrival, whether by air or road.
The expansion of Terminal 1 follows a two-phase approach. The first phase includes additional passenger handling areas, including security screening. The buildings utilize a hybrid structural approach, combining concrete, steel, and glued laminated timber joists, which reduces the embodied carbon of the structure. Transparent design elements allow travelers to have direct views through the buildings, minimizing the stress of navigating the airport.
The second-phase building is designed to match the size and structural approach of the security expansion. Its flexible layout makes it easy to repurpose additional airport handling areas in the future, avoiding costly reconstruction. Courtyards between the buildings are lushly landscaped with local vegetation, creating the appearance of a natural forest on both sides of the security area.
The third building in the proposal, situated across the airport boulevard, houses a conference venue and hotel atop a parking structure. Its exterior is also adorned with a satellite image of the country.
The sustainability elements incorporated into the design include photovoltaic glass for energy generation and programmable lighting that offers passengers information about current events in the country. The green satellite image reduces solar irradiation and adds to the project’s sustainability.
The aim of The Czech Lanterns project is to provide travelers with a sense of place and control, allowing them to connect with the Czech landscape as they pass through security and courtyards. The project is scheduled for completion in 2023 and will offer a unique and memorable airport experience for visitors to Prague.