Ondřej Chybík foresees architectural renaissance in Central Europe. He is co-founder of Chybik + Kristof, which sheds light on the overlooked architecture studios in Central Europe.
In an exclusive interview, he expresses a commitment to showcase the talents of his home region—the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary—on the global design stage.
Chybík emphasizes the lack of recognition for Central European architects and aims to change this narrative. His studio, now the largest in the Czech Republic, plans to open an office in London to elevate the international presence of Central European architecture.
If I go somewhere and I talk about Czech architecture or Central European architecture, almost no-one can name anybody.- Ondřej Chybík, co-founder of Chybik + Kristof
I think there is a huge opportunity to show off a bit. I'd like to work on that for the next decade – not just to promote our studio, but to explain what our generation is about to the general public all around the world.- Ondřej Chybík, co-founder of Chybik + Kristof
Chybik + Kristof will launch their London office next month, co-locating with the nearby Haptic studio.
He says that this is done in part to boost the international profile of the firm's peers and in part because Chybik + Kristof has become a large fish in a small pond domestically.
The true motivation was to offer the opinion of our generation to other territories – our right to be a voice in the contemporary architecture discussion.- Ondřej Chybík, co-founder of Chybik + Kristof
Ondřej Chybík (left) established Chybik + Kristof together with Michal Kristof in 2010.
Accompanying the London office launch, Chybik + Kristof unveils its inaugural monograph, "Crafting Character." This book explores 14 projects organized around essential themes in contemporary architecture, including adaptive reuse, affordability, and materiality.
We believe that buildings should have a certain character, but not in one direction.- Ondřej Chybík, co-founder of Chybik + Kristof
Previous generations of architects were very proud of their very strong formal style. I think that's not the case today, because the profession is changing from making design into solving problems – the architectural form should represent the quality of the solution.- Ondřej Chybík, co-founder of Chybik + Kristof
Chybík discusses the evolving nature of the architecture profession, emphasizing a shift from a trademark house style to problem-solving. He believes that each project should be unique, reflecting the diverse challenges faced in today's built environment.
Chybík traces his architectural journey back to childhood memories and a competitive spirit with classmate Michal Kristof. The duo, initially competitors, joined forces in 2010, establishing Chybik + Kristof, which has now grown into a 60-person-strong team.
Highlighting the burgeoning architectural scene in Central Europe, Chybík mentions notable studios in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. He sees the region as a hotspot for contemporary architecture, with several studios gaining international recognition.
Completed in 2020, the Lahofer Winery features a publicly accessible amphitheatre on its roof.
Chybík rejects the term "sustainability" and instead focuses on creating buildings that people appreciate and maintain. He stresses the importance of character, flexibility, and positive user experiences in making the building industry more sustainable.
Chybík expresses optimism about the future of Central European architecture and his mission to communicate the region's architectural achievements internationally.
He envisions a new era where the architectural community collaborates, learns, and thrives together.
The average age of a commercial building in Europe is around 40 years, and that's something that is extremely unsustainable.- Ondřej Chybík, co-founder of Chybik + Kristof
I think one of the major [reasons] why we demolish those buildings is that they are lacking a character, and they are not flexible enough for future transformation. Our mission is to create buildings people like and will maintain.- Ondřej Chybík, co-founder of Chybik + Kristof
I don't want to say sustainable – I hate this word, it's overused. I don't want to be another architect talking about sustainability. Every building we design should be designed in this way.- Ondřej Chybík, co-founder of Chybik + Kristof
Ondřej Chybík, co-founder of Chybik + Kristof, champions the elevation of Central European architecture onto the global stage.
With a mission to overcome historical oversight, the studio's London office and the launch of their monograph, "Crafting Character," signify a pivotal step.
The changing landscape of architectural professions, a departure from a singular style, and the rich architectural tapestry of Central Europe converge to shape a promising future for the region's architects.