Stripped of her citizenship by Czechoslovakia’s Communist authorities after 1968, architect Eva Jiřičná, then in her late 20s, remained in London. In the UK her sleek interiors were a major success and she soon developed an international reputation. It was not until the 1990s that Jiřičná was able to return to her native land. However, she wasn’t long in making up for lost time, designing a number of buildings that made their mark on Prague and Zlín, the town of her birth. In the second half of a two-part interview, I asked the architect about her
Eva Jiřičná is perhaps the best-known living Czech architect. Her London-based firm Eva Jiricna Architects is famous for its sleek boutiques and dramatic staircases, while in recent decades she has designed a number of acclaimed buildings in her native country. Based in the UK since the late 1960s, Jiřičná was born in the Moravian town of Zlín, where her dad was an architect with the Baťa shoe company. In the first half of a two-part interview, Eva Jiřičná, who is 77, recalls her early childhood in the Nazi Protectorate.
The Culture minister has rejected an appeal by the investor behind the 'Marshmallow', news site Novinky.cz reports. The move follows others which effectively sent the building project in the historic centre of Prague back to square one. The Marshmallow, a complex of buildings in pastel colours that was designed by architect Zdeněk Fránek which evoke friendly square faces, met with opposition after the project was initially given the go-ahead. The building project will have to receive a new assessment from the city and gain approval from heritage site conservationists.
The first weekend of October sees the return of Den Architektury (Architecture Day) in the Czech Republic and Slovakia: some 50 Czech towns and cities are taking part. The theme in this year's sixth edition is the 'city centre'. Key sites in Prague and other towns will be open to the public as part of the event.
A four-star hotel opened at Prague’s landmark Dancing House building on Tuesday. Most guests at the city’s best-known building of the post-1989 era can enjoy views of Prague Castle from the two-storey part of the structure that has been converted into the hotel. One of the investors in the project, former soccer star Vladimír Šmicer, said the hotel might be expanded in a couple of years if the venture proves a success. The Dancing House was designed by Frank Gehry and local architect Vlado Milunic and was opened in 1996.
An auction of Prague’s historic Invalidovna complex with a starting price of more 637 million crowns has attracted no bidders. The site was built from 1731 to 1737 to care for war veterans. The tender on the sale was announced in June and drew protest from university academics who warned that the sale and redevelopment of the site could damage its historic value. Invalidovna was used in a number of key scenes in Miloš Forman’s 1984 masterpiece Amadeus.
Studio Znamění čtyr – Architects has won an architectural competition for the design of a new university research centre planned in Prague’s Albertov. The centre represents the largest university project of its kind in Prague in 100 years, Charles University’s rector Tomáš Zima confirmed. The university facility (which will reportedly cost some 2.5 billion crowns to build) is to be used for research in the areas of health, biotechnology and biodiversity and is to staff around 1,200 people. It is to begin operation in 2022. The runner-up in the competition was Atelier M1 Architects.
One of Prague’s most impressive architectural secrets, the massive baroque Invalidovna complex in the city’s Karlín district, is up for sale. Used as a backdrop to many films, the former home for war veterans constructed in the 18th century had found no takers from various state institutions and is now set to go under the hammer in spite of protests from well known architects and the local council.
The inhabitants of Prague are signing a petition against plans to build a 60-metre wheel on the bank of the Vltava River. The Prague 5 district authority has already approved the project and signed a contract with an investor, but the plans have met with opposition from conservationists, members of the public and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová. Since Prague is on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list the wheel cannot be built without approval from conservationists. Over 600 people have signed the petition against the wheel so far.
Karlovy Vary’s Hotel Thermal was recently, as it regularly is, the backdrop for Central Europe’s biggest film festival. The complex was designed, outside and in, specifically for the film festival in the West Bohemian spa town. But the controversial 1970s architectural work of the husband and wife team of Vladimír Machonin and Věra Machoninová is showing its age with its owner, the state, blowing hot and cold about its future. That has prompted the granddaughter and grandson of the architects to step in.
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