Prague’s skyline gave the capital one of its nicknames: the city of a hundred spires. But in actual fact around a thousand spires, belfries and towers of various styles and ages now grace the city centre. Some of them are popular tourist attractions offering great views of the city, others only recently revealed their mysteries. One served as an observation post for the secret police; another hosted a morbid display of a dozen severed heads.
In this week’s Arts my guest is New York-based landscape architect Martin Barry who last year launched a new festival and conference in Prague called reSITE, focussing on urbanism and rethinking the public space. To this aim, he and organisers involved everyone from internationally recognised designers and urban planners, to students of arts and architecture, and last, but not least, politicians.
The inaugural Signal festival of light got underway in Prague on Thursday evening. The event, which runs over four nights, features leading European video mapping teams projecting moving images on to four buildings in the city, as well as dozens of installations created by Czech artists. The festival takes place between 19:30 and 23:30 every night and is free.
Students of Prague’s Czech Technical University have finished third in Solar Decathlon, an international architectural competition organized by the US Department of Energy. The jury appreciated the Czech team’s design of an energy-efficient building, entitled AIR House, for its simplicity. The Czech project won the architecture category of the competition, one of ten aspects included in the overall classification.
The district of Prague 1 has approved a controversial plan to demolish a building on the corner of Prague’s Wenceslas Square and Opletalová Street, a spokeswoman for the district said. The owner of the building is planning to erect a new structure on the site but was waiting for final approval before taking steps. If no one raises objections within 30 days, the project will be able to move ahead. The planned demolition has drawn protests from a part of the public and saw heated debate; however, the building was denied protection as a historic monument by the authorities.
When one half of the Čapek brothers villa was put up for sale by the relatives of Karel Čapek’s wife on May, some were worried that the famous writer’s residence, where many important works were written, would be sold to a private owner and closed off to the public for good. The Prague 10 district council put the concerns to rest on Monday when it voted to purchase the villa for 44 million crowns. The owner, Karel Scheinpflug, was willing to lower the original asking price of 55 million, in order to make the residence a public space. Radio Prague
Prague City Hall has cancelled a contract to renovate the Šlechtovka restaurant in Stromovka park. Councillors said that the project was over-ambitious and that its CZK 250,000 price tag was beyond the city’s budget. Tuesday’s decision means the long-discussed reconstruction of the protected landmark will now be put back even longer. The once grand building was completed in the middle of the 19th century. It was hit by fire twice at the end of the 1970s and has been in great disrepair ever since.
Originally from Bratislava, architect Barbara Bencová found a home in Prague quite a few years ago. But in the 30 years of her life, she has also had a chance to study in work in the major European centers of design and architecture. Having tried out remodeling flats, luxury interior design, student housing, Barbara has gained international success this year with a design of a kindergarten in Milan.
Adam Gebrian is a young architect and journalist who has a regular column in the newspaper Lidové noviny, so naturally a tour of “his Prague” included stops at a couple of the city’s most interesting contemporary buildings. But let’s start today’s show at what he considers the most vibrant spot in the Czech capital right now: the Náplavka riverside walkway beneath the embankment Rašínovo nábřeží. Over a beer at (A)void, a rusty old boat converted into a “floating gallery” with a great view, I put it to Adam that Náplavka can at times be
One of the leading local real estate developers, the Developer Central Group has expressed an interest in purchasing the so-called Dancing House in the center of Prague for a quarter of a billion crowns. The developer announced that they want to house a museum of architecture and design in the modernist structure, co-designed by the world-famous architect Frank Gehry. The building’s current owner, CBRE Global Investors, said a few weeks ago that they want to sell the Dancing House. The building, which was completed in 1996, was originally meant to house a library, theater and a café, but the Dutch investor at the time opted for commercial use of the space. Currently, it houses offices and a restaurant on the top floor.
Olga Lomová: Western misconceptions could let China export much of its system and ultimately contribute to our enslavement
Hitler no ‘gentleman’, but court rules Czech state need not apologize for president’s claim Ferdinand Peroutka said so
Bertha von Suttner – Prague-born peace campaigner whose ideas on cooperation and disarmament continue to have lasting effect
Forgotten Czech net bag makes a comeback
Iconic Czech brands that survived competition from the West after the fall of communism
Communist party official shocks nation ahead of freedom celebrations
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Cold War “king of Šumava” story brought to life in new film by Irish director