Colour Apartment Blocks
Colour Apartment Block
Petrini Prague,
Czech Republic

"Prague is about individuality, and architecture should be as diverse as the society it serves". - 
Vlado Milunic

During the 1970's, a period of booming construction, Milunic designed mostly housing for the Communist regime. The massive apartment blocks surrounded old Prague like an impenetrable fortification wall. These "Panelaks" (so named for the prefabricated panels they were built with) house about 40% of Prague's population today. Petrini, one of the first post war housing estates, was developed along two main perpendicular axes and consisted mostly of prefabricated (G57) concrete panels. The housing estate accommodated 20,000 people in 4,850 apartments. The Hvezda (Star) hunting lodge The Star (Hvezda) apartment complex is set amidst one of the country's first Panelaks near the historic Renaissance Hvezda (Star) hunting lodge (1555-57), designed by Hans Tirol and Bonifac Wohlmut.

Milunic placed the new housing on the northern slope next to large green areas and an old laboratory building that he included in the master plan, and later converted into offices and apartments. In the master plan concept the location of Hvezda becomes a logical transition between the suburban one family houses on one side and the monotonous apartment blocks on the other side. Milunic's layouts are free flowing and use playful angles in horizontal and vertical planes. Balconies, ledges, overhangs, and dormer windows in the roof-scape give the facades rhythm and variety. Facade colors add vitality and freshness to the area.

The height of the apartment blocks vary from 4 to 7 floors with two apartments per floor in the big blocks and four in the tower. The attic spaces under the saddle roofs are equipped with dormer windows to let in light. The 350 individual apartments, varying in size from 60 to 170 square meters, are designed to be joined and form larger or multi level apartments. Hvezda is the first step on a long path towards the complete neutralization of the communist housing policies in Prague. Compared to the monotony of the gray monolithic apartment blocks, the Hvezda development's broken down interplay of volumes and forms brings new energy to the area.


9 photos and 3 drawings