You may know the feeling – you return to your native village after a long absence and come across an eyesore – a building that screams “money, power and influence” and sticks out like a sore thumb from its surroundings. That is the kind of building that architect and photographer Jan Kruml likens to a flashing gold tooth.
Architects and theoreticians, many of whom are of the younger generation, are giving free guided tours of significant historical landmarks and contemporary buildings at 45 Bohemian and Moravian cities and towns on Saturday and Sunday, as part of an event dubbed the Day of Architecture. Almost 70 individual activities are being held, including 16 in the capital Prague; these range from tours of some of the city’s estates of prefabricated tower blocks to lectures on the work of German-speaking architects that are today largely forgotten.
According to an old Czech saying, ‘každý správný chlap’ (every real man) should at some point build a house, father a son, and plant a tree. Viktor Filipi, our guest in this edition of Czech Life, isn’t quite there yet in the first two departments but the last category he knows a lot about. The 24-year-old – a student in his final year in the Masters programme in Landscape Architecture at Mendel University – began working on his family’s garden more than ten years ago; just recently it was voted by readers of idnes as “the country’s most
A children’s wing at Prague’s Motol hospital has been found to be structurally unstable. The wing, which is undergoing renovation and accommodates no patients at the moment, has moved by eight to ten centimetres, a spokeswoman for the hospital said. The hospital halted all renovation work and the building is being reviewed by experts. The facility, which is one of Europe’s largest children’s hospitals, was opened last June after a major reconstruction which cost 4.4 billion crowns.
A concert hall in České Budějovice, nicknamed Stingray, designed by the
late architect Jan Kaplický, could be completed in 2015, the head of the
local music fans’ association said. The project, which is the Czech-born
architect’s last design to be built in his native country, is expected to
cost around two billion crowns; however, the investor of the project has
not been disclosed. The supporters of the project hope that they will
secure all permits by the end of the year and construction should begin in
December 2013. The new concert hall could then open to the public in
Jan Kaplický, who died in 2009 aged 72, also designed a new National Library building in Prague, known as the Blob. However, the project was dropped under pressure from Prague City Hall.
Town and regional representatives as well as the Culture Ministry and private firm Incheba, signed a memorandum on Friday in Moravský Krumlov on joint cooperation on the renovation of the local chateau. The site, which is owned by Incheba, housed Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic for more than 50 years, and will receive an injection of 6.2 million in 2012. Moravský Krumlov’s Mayor Tomáš Třetina said he expected in 2014 to launch new efforts for the famous work to be returned. The Slav Epic is currently on display in Prague. Culture Minister Alena Hanáková stressed that Friday’s agreement referred in no way to Mucha’s famous cycle. She said the role of the ministry over its future would be to work as liason between Prague and Moravský Krumlov.
The Czech Republic is sometimes called the land of castles and chateaus. For historic reasons, many of those monuments, including some of the most popular ones such as Lednice, Český Krumlov and Karlštejn, are owned by the state and run by the National Heritage Institute. To attract more visitors to these sits, the institute this week opened an information office in Prague. Radio Prague spoke to Tomáš Brabec from the National Heritage Institute, and asked him what information visitors can find in the new facility.
The Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk is a unique work of Czech-Italian architect Jan Santini Aichel, who was known for using unlikely combinations of Baroque and Gothic styles. Such a marvel is it that in 1994 it was included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Its architecture was guided by symbols of the legend of the Czech St. John of Nepomuk, one of the foremost saints of Central Europe, but also by the disciplines of the Kabbalah.
The Czech artist and designer Eva Eislerová originally wanted to be an architect. Instead, she became one of the most highly regarded makers of art jewellery in the world, after emigrating to New York in the 1980s with her half-Czech, half-English husband, John Eisler. Today Eva Eisler, as she is known to her collectors, spends most of her time back home in Prague, where she teaches at the metals department at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design.
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