Prague’s Villa Bílek, an intriguing piece of modern architecture, has opened to the public after two years of renovation. Designed by the Czech Art Nouveau artist František Bílek as his studio and family home, it stands out as one of the more unusual architectural landmarks of the capital, reflecting Bílek’s vision of a “stronghold of a higher realm”.
Ostrava’s Dům Umění is readying to open a new exhibition on the work of architect Daniel Libeskind, best known for his design of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the original plan (since modified by others) for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site in New York. The show in Ostrava will open on September 16. Besides many well-known designs, never-before seen work is also included, as well as an accompanying documentary. Next year the show will move to Poland. Ostrava cooperated directly with the architect’s studio in New York, but Mr Libeskind is not expected to attend the show’s opening on Thursday. An organiser has said the architect and his wife could visit at a later date.
No visitor to Prague can fail to admire the beautiful National Museum, the dominant feature atop the long boulevard of Wenceslas Square. It is home to millions of items of natural and social history. However, today’s edition of Spotlight focuses not on the exhibitions inside, but on the building of the National Museum itself, one of the instantly recognisable landmarks of the Czech Republic.
No visit to Prague is complete without a stroll across Charles Bridge. A masterpiece of mediaeval architecture, the bridge has survived floods, sieges and even some poorly executed renovations. In this edition of Spotlight, we walk across the bridge with architect Martin Krise from a preservationists’ association called the Club for Ancient Prague.
The City of Prague has wasted no time reacting to a proposal made public this week that the famous Strahov Stadium, overlooking the city, could be demolished to pave the way for new development. The idea was floated by the Czech Sports Association, which owns ten percent of the stadium and underlying buildings and grounds. But the city, which owns the rest and was not consulted, says flat out it is not going to happen.
The south Bohemian city of České Budějovice has decided to build a two-billion-crown concert hall by the late architect Jan Kaplický and has changed a part of the city’s zoning laws in order to do so. The planned structure, in keeping with the avant-garde style of Mr Kaplický’s work, uses organic shapes to resemble a black sting ray with a triangular ground plan of 1.5 hectares. The Antonín Dvořák Conference Hall, as the building is to be called, will have two concert halls for a total of 1,400 seats.
Prague's National Museum this week introduced a plan for a complete renovation of its main building, located at the top end of Wenceslas Square, which has long been in urgent need of reconstruction. The National Museum plans to re-open to the public in four years’ time with new exhibition grounds, a lookout from the dome on top of the building and much more.
Architect Jakub Cígler has won a tender to rebuild part of the Industrial Palace at Prague’s Výstaviště trade fair grounds. One wing of the building was destroyed by fire in October 2008. Mr Cígler’s studio Cígler Marani Architects secured the contract after promising to reconstruct it using technology similar to that employed when it was built in the late 19th century. His design had already been chosen by a selection commission before Prague City Hall announced on Tuesday that he had won.
A flower market on a giant paddle boat, a floating cycling path along the Vltava River or a special high-heels lane running across the cobbled centre of Prague – these are just a few projects created within the Urban Interventions initiative, which is currently on display in Prague’s Dox gallery. The organizers have asked architects to find ways of livening up what they see as problematic public spaces in the capital.
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