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.
Prague Castle, the Cathedral of St Vitus, Charles Bridge and the astronomical clock on Old Town Square are some of the architectural jewels that attract millions of visitors to Prague every year. What is special about the city is its historic authenticity documenting the city’s urban development of over a thousand years. The integral complex of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, its romantic cobbled alleys and gas lamps give visitors the impression that they have travelled back in time.
The Museum of Decorative Arts in the centre of Prague has finally reopened after a protracted renovation. The largest Czech museum dedicated to applied art and design, which boasts one of the most extensive glass collections in Europe, had been closed since January 2015. It opened to the public with a new exhibition called Director’s Choice, presenting an exclusive selection of items from its collections.
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.
Petr Kučera was a successful journalist and later pursued a career in politics. But twenty years ago he decided to swap the hustle and bustle of Prague for life in the country. He bought a dilapidated castle in East Bohemia and turned it into his new family home. Radio Prague travelled to the Castle of Nové Hrady or New Castle to pay him a visit: