Providing quality service to our clients is more important to us than building ambitious projects. Nevertheless, we create remarkable architecture as a goal of our work. Partnership makes our company exceptional.
The architecture firm dkarchitekti was founded in 2016. We have realized several significant projects, such as the swimming hall of Louny or the new tram maintanance hall in Brno-Pisárky.
We design architecture of different scales. The client themselves, the topic of work and the location are important to us every time.
Interview with the architect David Kudla, leader of the dkarchitekti firm
Why was dkarchitekti established?
We feel that the combination of quality architecture with superior service delivery is a very scarce commodity. There are few of us who grasp our work as providing a service to the client, meaning we do not build houses for ourselves, but to the satisfaction of the investor.
What makes you different from your competitors?
It's about our working principle. First we help the client sort out the economics of the project, then we devote maximum effort to obtaining a building permit. As a team of several people, we constantly communicate with the authorities in cooperation with local experts. If we encounter a barrier, we immediately look for ways to overcome it. Everything is dealt with within hours, so if we run into a problem, it's usually only a matter of moments before it's resolved. It is crucial for us to work with the client to get to the point where we know that the investment project will get the permit to build. We then have a more relaxed conversation about the future shape of the house, the particular details and the benefits of the whole building.
Why should I work with you as a client?
I am convinced that we are able to listen to the client's needs and to help fulfill their wishes. Our goal is not to build a modern design house at any cost. Above all, it is important to us that the investor likes the result. Often this will lead us to a completely different solution than we originally had in mind, because we don't understand everything and therefore we have to understand the client's business first. But believe me, we always arrive at the final stage where we are all happy with the result. The whole process of collaboration is very rewarding, adventurous and we are always learning new things.
What kind of clients do you work for?
Most of the time, clients who want to work with us are not just looking for someone who can do a project. They are looking for a partner who understands the given goal, finds a suitable path and does everything possible to reach the goal. And it doesn't matter whether it's a project of an entire city district or a single showroom with luxury goods.
How many people are in the office?
After four years of operation, there are twelve people in our team, which is equivalent to a standard design company (state of 2020). I expect that there will be a bit more of us next year. Our team is made up of architects, who slightly outnumber our civil engineers. However, we do not differentiate between those groups because it is not only the architects who fundamentally influence the concept of the project. Everything is done as part of a team discussion and the best solution is applied to the design. Moreover, I believe that an architect must be a very good designer first and then a visionary.
What are you working on today?
We are currently working on several projects with investment costs between 50 million and 1.5 billion Czech crowns. Besides that, we are also working on small projects with an investment of a few million, which bring the charm of being realised very quickly. What all of our assignments have in common is that we work for interesting clients, they present interesting subjects and I am sure that the mutual cooperation makes both parties happy. And we do it for that feeling, actually.
Where do dkarchitekti want to develop? Where would you like to be as dkarchitekti in the foreseeable future?
Our company is slowly but continuously growing in numbers, which is how we are able to maintain the quality of our work. In five years, we will reach yet bigger numbers, do more projects, but we want to keep the same structure and size of projects. We are now starting to create specialisations within the team to ensure we have experts in certain types of construction. This way, we will be able to better provide the client with a successful project including modern architecture that they can be rightly proud of.
What have been your recent successes? What has made you happy?
Of course, we are happy with projects such as the Pisárky tram depot or the swimming hall in Louny. Once again, we have proven that we can do it. But I am more pleased that we managed to push through the construction of an administrative building on a site where others claimed it was not possible to build according to the zoning plan. We found a way and pushed it through the authorities. And today it is already being built.
What characterises you? What do you think makes you special?
It might be the success rate of the enforcement of the plan. I'm not saying we can always get a building permit, but our method of handling a project is very successful. And if there's an insurmountable obstacle, the client knows that right from the start. We do our best to attend to the investor's expenses for the design service.
What kind of architecture are you aiming for?
We want every project to be unique, to carry an idea, and for people to like it. Houses should make people happy and create a pleasant environment. Inherently, that means the houses have to be cleverly designed because beauty is strongly linked to rationality.
How expensive are your building projects?
Our aim is to execute buildings at good value for money. Every project’s equation for that lies somewhere else. It's an important topic that we often discuss with the client to get as close to the ideal as possible together. Moreover, the quality of a building in terms of operational, technical and aesthetic aspects is not determined by how much money you put into it. Even cheap investments can boast great architecture. It's just a question of how you allocate the finances in the different parts of the building. And I believe we know how to do that.
Can you give an example of good value for money?
To illustrate, this is evident in the project for the tram depot in Brno Pisárky. The whole project is designed in a purely rational way, 99% of standard solutions are used. Simply by, for example, unifying the colour of all elements in the interior and leaving only some parts in the symbolic red used by Brno public transport cars, you are able to create an architecturally interesting space. And then in 1 percent of the building’s investment, due to the requirement in the official statement of the public health authority, you have to find a non-standard solution to the absorption of the façade. No one has ever made a noise barrier this big. We designed a solution that successfully meets the public health requirement by combining three principles. The shape of the façade scatters the noise, we let some of the sound waves in through the lower panels into the structure where the noise hits the absorbent material, and by using smaller perforations in the upper panels, we manage to keep the sound waves within the building envelope. The façade, which is making our client very popular, is therefore only a purely technical rational solution as required by the regional public health authority. It looks very good without making the building any more expensive for aesthetic reasons.