Winner of Designer11th Honours Both Mathematics and Medieval Symmetry

The competition held to determine the tiling layout for St. Wenceslas rotunda has found its winner. His name was announced by the expert jury gathered at the Professed House in the Lesser Town in the last days of March. Doc. Oldřich Semerák is the author of the winning pattern that will serve as a blueprint for the distribution of flooring tiles in the reconstructed rotunda.

On Wednesday, March 22, 2016, the jury met in the Professed House building of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, Prague. Its ten members named the winner of the Designer11th for St. Wenceslas Rotunda competition.

The jury consisted of experts in the fields of historic preservation, architecture, archaeology, and fine art, all of whom are significantly engaged in the St. Wenceslas Rotunda Preservation Project. Expert evaluation was carried out by Dr. Jarmila Čiháková (NHI), Martin Müller (NHI), architect Jan Vrána, Tomáš Rafl, Dr. Jana Maříková-Kubková (Archaeological Institute CAS) and others. FMP CU was represented by its Dean, Prof Jan Kratochvíl, Vice-Dean for Mathematics, doc. Mirko Rokyta, and Vice-Dean for PR, Dr Martin Vlach.

Out of more than 30 submissions by 12 contributors, the jury handpicked the winning design: the layout aligning the tiles into symmetrical, heart-shaped patterns proposed by doc. Oldřich Semerák, Director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics, FMP CU.

Winner-oldrich semerak

The winner – doc. Oldřich Semerák

The organisers received contributions by the Faculty staff, students and alumni, but designs made by wider academic public were also represented. Doc. Semerák submitted more than 20 layouts charting the possible distribution of the tiles.
The jury was impressed by the mathematical explanation of the possible geometrical distribution of the different types of tiles, as well as by the winner’s adherence to the historical aspects of the monument and its architectural style



The jury also considered the layouts proposed by Vendula Klimetová from the 2nd Medical Faculty CU and those by Zuzana Štauberová from the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of West Bohemia, Pilsen.


Pavel Kaňkovský

Mathematical precision of the layout A007015, proposed by Pavel Kaňkovský from FMP CU, also caught the jury’s attention.





An original approach was used by Anna Otrubová, a FMP CU student, who created a computer programme generating random distributions of the tiles. She was also the only contestant to work with the possibility of variable orientation of the tiles.


youngest contributor, five-year-old Martin Hlávka

A special prize was awarded to the youngest contributor, five-year-old Martin Hlávka, for his design of “tiling number 2.”

The tiles will be laid in the restored part of St. Wenceslas rotunda in April 2016 according to the layout designed by doc. Semerák. The public will then be able to see the final product from September 28, 2016. The winning author’s name will be displayed inside the Rotunda, and he will also receive a prize in the form of a Klein bottle and a financial reward.

The competition was organised and announced by FMP CU on January 8, 2016. Individuals and groups from the academic public were encouraged to participate by submitting any number of designs. To enter the competition, the applicants were asked to create a design that would respect the distribution of the preserved original tiles.