What are today’s most pressing housing challenges? What are the current trends in residential development? And how to plan and build for well-being? These are among the questions that will be discussed in Prague this week by some of the world’s leading architects and urban planners, who will be attending the annual reSITE conference.
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 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.
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.
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.
The Transgas building in Prague, described by some historians as an
exceptional example of Brutalist architecture, will not be added to the
list of cultural heritage sites, the dailies Hospodářské noviny and
Právo report, citing information from the Culture Ministry, which
allegedly stopped a preliminary evaluation over the matter.
The news has not officially been confirmed by the ministry as not all relevant parties have been informed in writing; until then, the ministry has declined to comment. Without heritage status, the site can be cleared for demolition to make room for new flats.
Canadian-born Don Sparling first spent time in Brno in 1969 and moved to the Moravian capital permanently eight years later. Sparling, who describes himself as a Brno patriot, taught at the city’s Masaryk University for over three decades and is known to many Czechs for the best-selling textbook English or Czenglish? Our tour of “his Brno” begins on the downtown square Moravské náměstí.