If you have ever seen the Czech National Theatre then surely you have noticed the modernistic glass cube lodged between it and an 18th century convent. That is the Nová Scéna, the seat of the well known Laterna Magika, or Magic Lantern, experimental theatre. Long one of Prague’s top attractions, Laterna Magika’s popularity has diminished over the years, and as of 2010 the building and the its programme management will be transferred to the National Theatre, which is quite literally giving it a new lease on life.
Prague’s famous 15th century astronomical clock, known as Orloj in Czech, is one of the oldest and most elaborate clocks ever built and one of the city’s best known attractions. Few tourists leave Prague without seeing it. However the crowd that assembled to hear it chime last Sunday was in for a shock. Due to a technical error the procession of apostles that appears in the windows above the clock failed to make its usual exit – instead it was spinning like a crazy merry-go-round.
The Czech architect Jan Letzel is remembered today above all for his design of what later became the Hiroshima A-Bomb Dome, a memorial to victims of the 1945 bombing. Having spent much of his short career in Japan, Letzel authored only a few works in Bohemia and Moravia. But recently, a tombstone designed by the famous architect was recently discovered in a cemetery in the south Moravian city of Brno.
Anyone who has ever visited the Czech capital will have visited the 14th century Charles Bridge; but if you think you know the city’s most famous landmark, think again. You may be surprised to learn that part of the structure houses two hidden chambers - large enough for dozens of visitors. The areas, not surprisingly, remain off-limits and even their very existence until now was known only by a very few.
No landmark in Prague is more famous than the 14th century Charles Bridge, which has undergone major renovation over the last two years - a project that has come under unparalleled scrutiny and also criticism. On one side, representatives of the city as well as the firm conducting the repairs say the project is slowly but surely nearing successful completion; on the other, activists - including a newly-founded civic association - say critical mistakes were made, resulting in damages to the historic bridge. One thing is certain: when it comes to
Karel Prager is regarded as one of the most important, and most controversial, Czech architects of the second half of the 20th century. Perhaps his best known work is the former Federal Assembly in the centre of Prague, a building many of the city’s residents would consider something of an eye-sore. It was the venue for an unconventional artistic performance on Tuesday night – dedicated to Prager himself.
All this week, events are taking place around the capital to celebrate contemporary Czech design, as part of Prague’s Designblok festival. On Tuesday night, ‘The Small House’ - an exhibition of modern, compact, living spaces - opened at Prague’s Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design. I went along to find out if less really was more, and meet the architects behind the project:
Prague may be famed for its fine old baroque architecture, but what about its newer structures? To mark International Architecture Week, a number of walking tours, open days and lectures have been organized to shine the spotlight on modern architecture in the Czech capital. Petr Soukup is one of the organizers of the festival, which is now in its third year.
The late Czech architect Jan Kaplický's buildings have been described as 'some of the most remarkable... that Britain has ever seen' and, by a disgruntled Prince Charles, as amongst the worst examples of 'the surrealist picnic' that is modern architecture. When Kaplický died at the beginning of 2009, British architecture lost one of its most creative, and provocative, figures. Long-time friend and head of London's Design Museum Deyan Sudjic has curated an exhibition called 'Remembering Jan Kaplický – Architect of the Future', which runs until November
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