This Friday marks 140 years since the birth of the pioneering Czech architect and designer Josef Gočár. His legacy includes iconic works in a range of styles, most famously The House of the Black Madonna, in a Cubist tradition inspired by Picasso, and the “national” Rondocubist Legiobanka, born of independent Czechoslovakia.
A bridge in the form of a locomotive crashing from one building to another is the latest project by Czech artist David Černý, known for the black sculptures of babies crawling up Žižkov’s TV Tower or a statue of St. Wenceslas riding a dead horse in Prague’s Lucerna passage. The design of the bridge was inspired by a real incident -the derailment of a train in Paris in 1895.
They took a year to design, another year to make, and half a year to install. But the Czech lighting and glass artworks company Lasvit has realised a project of truly epic proportions – crafting two 20-ton dragons, covered in millions of crystals, and suspending them high above a grand hotel lobby, on a far-away island prone to earthquakes.
The Bohemian town of Kladruby is famous worldwide for its horse stud farm, founded by the Habsburg emperor Rudolf II. It is also home to a spectacular 12th century Benedictine monastery where the martyred saint of Bohemia, John of Nepomuk, was tried and tortured. An effort is now afoot to have the cloister and Czech Baroque Gothic style church named a European Heritage site.
A new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London brings together fifteen diverse cars to explore how the automobile accelerated the pace of change over the past century and the impact it had on the broader world, from visual culture to climate change. One of the cars selected for the show is the legendary Tatra 77, designed in Czechoslovakia in 1934. I spoke to Brendan Cormier, one of the exhibition’s curators, to find out more about the exhibition, which will run until April 2020:
Prague has obviously changed enormously over the last 30 years. But what have been the city’s most, and least, impressive construction projects since the Velvet Revolution? After the Dancing House, why did interest in audacious projects seem to cool? And how has Wenceslas Square fared? Who better to answer those questions than architect Jan Kasl, who is president of the Czech Chamber of Architects and served as mayor of Prague from 1998 to 2002. We chatted recently on Na příkopě St., in the very heart of the city centre.
Prague has a new attraction in the form of 17 circular units – with enormous glass doors – in the walls of riverside embankments on both sides of the Palacký Bridge. The cool spaces will open fully next month and are set to house cafés, galleries and other facilities. At a public presentation of the project on Wednesday I discussed it with architecture critic Adam Gebrian.
Architects Věra Machoninová and Vladimír Machonin designed some of the Czech Republic’s most distinctive modern buildings, including Prague’s Kotva department store and Hotel Thermal in Karlovy Vary. The couple’s legacy is being kept alive today by their granddaughter Marie Kordovská, who campaigns for Thermal in particular to receive sensitive treatment. The Machonins’ architecture is frequently described as Brutalist and when we met, at Kotva, I asked Kordovská if there was anything about their work that made it stand out from the genre, which
A remarkable-looking wooden church is to be built at Nesvačilka on the
outskirts of Brno, the news site Novinky.cz reported on Sunday. The
structure, which resembles a lighthouse, will be constructed without using
any nails. The plans earned architect Jan Říčný an award two years ago.
Parishioners began collecting money to erect a church on the site a century ago. The cornerstone was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI a decade ago and the local priest says the church should be completed and consecrated next year, or in 2021 at the latest.