Studio Egret West and Snøhetta reveal winning designs for their Bratislava scheme

The two operations – working in a 50:50 collaboration alongside local practice Gro Architekti – won the competition organized by Penta Real Estate Last month.

Other UK finalists include Zaha Hadid Architects, William Matthews Associates and Michael Riches. The shortlist also included the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in Copenhagen, the Rotterdam Office of Urban Architecture (OMA) and KCAP. The competition received 52 applications in total.

The practices were asked to submit master plan concepts for a site between two major city bridges crossing the Danube.

The winning 210,000 square meter project, dubbed ‘Shape with Nature’, consists of 52 per cent office and retail space and 48 per cent residential use in ‘layered and interlocking’ buildings, with towers up Its height is 100 metres.

David West, founding director of Studio Egret West, said the scheme was inspired by the landscape found along the river. ‘We asked ourselves if we could shape a place as if it had been sculpted by nature and sculpted by the elements,’ he told AJ. The result was a suggestion of undulating residence ‘banks’ and ‘vessels’ of nature and the environment.

“The focus is on five distinct ‘plates’, which are areas of the public realm carved out from the elevated level of the master plan, each with a unique character and function that roots our proposal in the environment of the place.

Initial proposals, he said, included a “layered landscape” with a connecting walkway.

Discussing the team’s approach to sustainability, Patrick Loth, Managing Director of Snøhetta, said: “Nature is a key presence on this site, and it showed up on our first site visit.

‘Bowls’ retain and surround pockets of established mature plants and trees, helping to create sculptural landscapes while providing a sustainable urban drainage solution – making water a key aspect of the landscape design.

Three teams have been previously selected as finalists for the competition – BIG, OMA and Zaha Hadid Architects – with the other three selected through an open competition. All six finalists received €30,000 to participate in the design phase of the competition.

The jury evaluated the design concept, the quality of the proposed urban and architecture, and the quality of the proposed public space and green spaces within the natural context of the site.

Bratislava is the largest city in Slovakia with a population of about 430,000. In 2021, a competition for international students was held for New complex of 17,500 square meters for the Slovak University of Technology in the city.

Penta Real Estate is one of the largest independent developers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and has worked on previous schemes by Serie Architects and Fuksas. Thirteen years ago, Zaha Hadid Architects won a competition held by the developer to develop the high-rise Sky Park in Bratislava.

Czech architectural studio ADNS architekti won a competition launched three years ago by Penta Real Estate Design of a mixed-use development in the post-industrial suburb of Vysocany in Prague.


  • Snøhetta + Studio Egret West + Gro [WINNER]
  • Bjarke Ingels (BIG) + Pantograph + Inflow Collection
  • Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Metropolitan Office of Architecture
  • kcap
  • William Matthews Associates + Boele + Sadovsky & Architects + Mikhail Riches + Expedition Engineering + LOLA Landscape Architects + Studio Akkerhuis

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