An exhibition mapping the history of six panelak housing estates in Prague got underway on Thursday at the city’s Dejvice district. It is the last in a series of fourteen exhibitions dedicated to the communist-era prefabricated apartment blocks around the Czech Republic, prepared by the Museum of Creative Arts.
Situated in front of the Faculty of Architecture in Dejvice, the exhibition displays dozens of large-scale photos, mapping various aspects of the city’s housing estates, including urbanism, apartment lay-out, artistic decoration and construction technologies.
Michaela Janečková is part of the project:
“The exhibition introduces six housing estates in Prague - Solidarita, Invalidovna, Ďáblice, Jižní město, Jihozápadní město, and Ďáblice. They represent six different periods in the history of housing estates and they are significant in terms of urban and architectural design.
“Solidarita is the oldest housing estate here in Prague, but it is not a common housing estate as we imagine it now. It was built around the years 1947 and 1948 and there are mostly low-rise houses. The latest one is Nový Barrandov, a so-called post-modern housing estate, finished in the late 1980s.”
The exhibition also presents sociological data collected during the five-year project, such as the age, educational and professional profile of the people living at Prague’s housing estates. The project, called panelaci.cz or panel housing estates was launched in 2012 by the Museum of Creative Arts in Prague.
Michaela Janečková again:
“The aim of the project was to research 50 housing projects around the Czech Republic. The estates were presented at exhibitions but we also published a catalogue. Just recently we have also published an English version. We will also have a big exhibition at the Museum of Creative Arts which will present the results of the project.”
Panelak housing estates present a significant urbanistic, architectural and historical phenomenon. Many of the early housing estates in Prague have been co-designed by renowned architects, who followed on the ideas of architects and urbanists of the interwar period.
Most of the Czech Republic’s pre-fabricated estates were built between the 1960s and 1980s and to this day they house around three million Czechs.
According to the last census, there are nearly 10,000 pre-fabricated houses, known as panelaks, in Prague, which accommodate nearly 45 percent of the city’s population, that is over 550,000 people.
The exhibition dedicated to Prague’s panelaks runs until January 1, 2018.