Plan for SEFO: low-energy or passive building


The planned museum building – the Central European Forum Olomouc (SEFO) – has passed another milestone towards its realization. On 11 January 2024, the Olomouc Museum of Art signed a contract for design work with Šépka architects. The museum will thus have a design for the building permit and implementation documentation within two years.

The new SEFO building, which will stand in a gap in Denisova Street and will connect with the existing building of the Museum of Modern Art, will serve not only as an exhibition space, but will also be used to move the library, study room and archive from the unsuitable conditions and to create depositories for art collections. “However, the SEFO project is not only about the architecture of the new building, but also about the rich and varied content that will present Central European culture of the 20th and 21st centuries,” says Ondřej Zatloukal, director of the Olomouc Museum of Art. “This is one of the most comprehensive projects of the Czech cultural scene in many decades, which has a natural international professional background,” adds Barbora Kundračíková, Head of Department at the Museum of Modern Art – Central European Forum Olomouc.

Minister of Culture Martin Baxa supports the construction not only because the last new museum building in the Czech lands was built almost a hundred years ago, but also because the entire project connects the Czech Republic with foreign countries. “I think that SEFO fulfils one of the important things, that Czech culture should go beyond the geographical borders of our country and present itself in a wider international context,” says Minister Baxa. 

The design work – that is, the project for the building permit and the implementation documentation that will be used to select the construction contractor – will take approximately two years. “We are considering having the structure 3D printed using UHPC high-strength concrete, which would allow us to dispense with formwork. We have been testing this technology over the past two years and, in terms of strength and other properties, it will allow us to shape the building to our ideal specifications,” says Jan Šépka, the author of the architectural design, whose company Šépka architects emerged victorious from an open tender for the design work. “I would also like to add that the entire building should be low-energy, but we will even try to design it in a passive standard, which would significantly minimize the costs of its operation in the future,” adds Jan Šépka.

SEFOs founding charter was officially signed by the V4 Culture Ministers in 2008. A year later, a scientific research facility of the same name was established at the Olomouc Museum of Art. In 2019, the Czech government included SEFO in the Care for National Cultural Heritage programme and allocated almost 600 million kEUR for its construction.

Machine translated