The documentary Oko nad Prahou (The Eye Above Prague), which premiered in the city on Wednesday night, is about Jan Kaplický winning the contract to build a new National Library building in the Czech Republic’s first ever international architecture tender. However, his futuristic design – nicknamed the Blob – soon met opposition from the president and others and the plan was abandoned. Tragically, the Czech-born architect died last year on the day his wife gave birth to their first child. I spoke to Kaplický’s widow Eliška Kaplický Fuchsová, who
The renovation of Charles Bridge, one of Prague’s most significant landmarks, has been hampered by serious mistakes, some of which are irreversible. That’s the verdict of a regional authority on preservation of historical monuments which reviewed the progress of the renovation, and fined Prague City Hall over three million crowns.
The authorities in Prague are considering limiting ads on construction sites in the city’s historic centre. Councillors have just approved an amendment tightening the rules on advertising which will now be discussed by officials in the districts of the capital as well as other concerned bodies. They said they disapproved of the fact that huge ads sometimes simply cover up the poor state of buildings and hide the fact that repair work is not being carried out. The mayor of Prague 1, Filip Dvořák, said currently owners are allowed to place ads on building fronts for the period in which planning permission is valid, but some had abused the system.
Built at the end of the 1980s to host communist party gatherings, Prague’s Congress Centre was the pride of the communist leadership. However, within years of building it, the communists lost power and the centre never became fully functional. In 2000 it hosted a summit of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but soon ran into debt and now finds itself on the verge of bankruptcy.
Last month spelt the end of a major six-year-project for Czech businessman Pavel Policar, the head of a company that helped build what is now the world’s tallest building, the Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifa (until recently the Burj Dubai). At an incredible 828 metres, it is the world’s tallest free-standing manmade structure. And it was the family-owned company, Pega, based in Pardubice - founded by Pavel Policar’s father-in-law - that designed and built the world record-breaking construction elevators that helped make the tower a reality.
Many historical monuments in the Czech are under threat and action needs to be taken to save them. So says the state-funded National Monuments Institute, which has just launched a campaign to draw attention to the subject. But what kind of sites are actually in danger? That’s a question I put to the Institute’s Věra Kučová.
One of the most important documents concerning the future of Prague is the rather unimaginatively named “Development Plan”. Since 1999, the plan has been the key public document laying out the broad rules for what can be built where in the city and its suburbs. For investors, developers, property owners and Prague’s 57 local authorities, the plan outlines development and environmental priorities: in terms of land-use, new building and the transport infrastructure. Since the plan was first drawn up in the early days after the fall of communism,
East Tilbury on the Thames estuary in Essex is a piece of the old Czechoslovakia planted in England. It was here in 1933 that the Zlín-based shoe empire Bata opened its first English plant. As well as the factory, the company also constructed its own small town for workers following the Czechoslovak model. The plant lasted until 2006, but in many respects it is still carries on. The Bata estate and factory have been designated a conservation area. A reminiscence and resource centre was opened in 2002 to serve as a sort of museum and focal point
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Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott