Prague City council’s executive committee has backed demolishing the city’s historic Libeň Bridge, a 1928 construction with Cubist elements, rather than opt for renovation. If the plan goes ahead, a new bridge will be built in its place. Proponents argue that saving the original would be almost costly as building a new bridge and will require less maintenance moving forward.
The south Bohemian town of Slavonice, which is known mainly for its uniquely preserved Gothic and Renaissance town houses, has been named Czech Historical Town of the year for 2017. The prize, which comes with a one-million cheque for further preservation works, honours towns and cities in the Czech Republic that have excelled in preserving and renewing their cultural and architectural heritage.
The official residence of Czech prime ministers, the Kramář Villa overlooks the Vltava from a wonderful vantage point between Prague Castle and Letná Plain. It was built in the 1910s by Karel Kramář, who himself served as the first prime minister of Czechoslovakia following its foundation a century ago this year. However, the politician had already been extremely well-known prior to 1918, guide Irena Saidlová told me at the Kramář Villa.
The City of Prague has received the necessary construction permit for the long planned renovation of Wenceslas Square to begin. At least half. The spokesman for City Hall, Vít Hofman, confirmed that work on the lower part of Prague’s most famous square, will start next week and should be completed by the end of 2018.
There is a palace in Moravia like none other. You will find it in Kroměříž, not far from the banks of the Morava River. What used to be a summer representative residence of the bishops and archbishops of nearby Olomouc, later became a popular film location. Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list, Kroměříž is a „must see" for all travellers to Eastern Czechia.
The Church of St. Václav in Sázovice, in the Zlín region, has been listed as one of the top ten architectural projects of 2017 by Azure Magazine. The circular building inspired by Roman architecture was designed by Štěpán Atelier in Brno. It is a unique construction in the region. Among the other top ten architectural projects listed this year are the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and Apple Store in Chicago.
Historically, Olomouc used to be the historical capital of Moravia, the eastern part of what is now the Czech Republic. It all changed at the end of the Thirty Years' War when the city was ransacked by invading Swedish armies. All the important institutions were moved south to Brno and Olomouc never regained its previous privileged status. Luckily for the city, being sidelined by ruling regimes helped it to keep its charming rustic character. And now, in the 21st century, Olomouc is drawing young talent and energy.
Protesters this week braved freezing temperatures to protest the pending demolition of what they regard as one of the best examples of so-called Brutalist architecture from the 1970s in the then Czechoslovakia. They argue that the latest episode is one of many recent ones and epitomises the failure of local and national heritage authorities to properly protect a broad swathe of monuments in Prague and the rest of the country.
"Less is more" is an aphorism often associated with the German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He might be better known as the last director of the Bauhaus, the famous school of modern architecture in Germany in the interwar period. But before emigrating to the United States, Mies left an indelible mark in the heart of Moravia: the Villa Tugendhat in Brno.
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