Post-industrial architecture taking on a new lease of life. The Gong in Ostrava, featuring systems by ALUPROF

The regeneration of post-industrial areas is a challenge for architects and designers, who are continually outstripping each other in conceiving not only new forms, but also more functional adaptions of old buildings. In Ostrava, in the Czech Republic, on the site of the former Dolní (Lower) Vitkovice ironworks, stands a monumental gasholder which has now been transformed into a multifunctional arts, educational and conference centre known as the Gong. Solutions by ALUPROF S.A., a leading European supplier of aluminium systems for the construction industry, were used during this one-of-a-kind renovation.

There was no other place like the Dolní Vitkovice industrial complex, which operated for more than two centuries and also included a coal mine. The gasholder, which is almost thirty-two metres tall, was built in the nineteen twenties and it served with no major breakdowns until 1998.

The gasholder became the Gong in 2013 and the architect responsible for the transformation is Josef Pleskot. In line with his design, the original, steel structure was preserved, maintaining the historical quality of the gasholder. Inside, many of the old features have been retained, such as the original, iron floor with its distinctive riveting. The auditorium at the centre seats up to one thousand, five hundred. The Gong also offers two concert halls, an art gallery, catering outlets and conference facilities. The design has won international recognition and a number of awards. One such honour came at a construction industry trade fair in Munich, where the Gong was listed as one of the top ten buildings in the world.

A venerable building with state-of-the-art glazing

The design envisaged a built-in facility which leaves the original gasholder construction more or less untouched. The elevation is perforated in just four places. The visitors’ entrance is situated in the eastern section. The sheet metal was cut open and functional, modern glazing was installed. To the west, at the level of the stage, a massive opening was cut and then fitted with a large-scale window looking out over a view. The roof of the Gong is glass, giving a sense of space by filling the interior with natural light.

To achieve the architect’s vision for the glazing, ALUPROF S.A.’s MB-SR50 façade system, the MB-70HI window and door system with increased thermal isolation and the MB-SR50N A mullion and transom curtain wall system. As Marek Šišolák, Sales Director for ALUPROF SYSTEM CZECH s.r.o, explains:

During the renovation of historical buildings, preserving their character is of the essence. The choice of solutions is pivotal; they need to correspond to the original elements of the building and, at the same time, they have to provide twenty-first century functionality. The ALUPROF MB-SR50N A aluminium profile system can be installed into wood and steel, making it possible to combine construction materials of various material, functional and aesthetic properties. It’s ideal for developments involving the regeneration of post-industrial sites, where a particular décor has to be preserved. In the case of the Gong, this meant the interior steel profiles. What’s more, our MB-SR50N A meets the highest technical requirements in terms of both thermal and acoustic insulation, as well as air- and watertightness.

The ALUOPROF MB-SR50N A mullion and transom curtain wall in aluminium and wood or aluminium and steel, can be used for a number of purposes, including glass roofs and conservatories. The aluminium profiles can also be customised to meet the requirements of a given design. This is achieved by shaping the masking profiles accordingly.

The use of ALUPROF’s systems played a major role in creating the safe, aesthetic and functional space of that unique centre which is Ostrava’s Gong.