Silent Lab is the name of an ambitious Czech installation featuring this year at Expo 2015 in Milan, which begins later this spring. The installation, which brought together students at the technical university in Prague (ČVUT) students of architecture and the company Full Capacity, recreates the experience of the Czech forest, combining Nature and hi-tech.
Homage will be paid Wednesday to Czech architect Jan Kaplický on the sixth anniversary of his death. The association Jan Kaplický Dnes, which was formed in 2012, is holding a series of discussions about the world famous architect and the state of Czech architecture and urban planning today at Prague’s Oko cinema. Kaplický emigrated to Britain where he made a name for himself with his daring designs. But his attempts to realize his work in his homeland met opposition from architectural conservatives.
Prague Castle, which is said to be the largest ancient castle in the world, covering an area of nearly 70,000 square metres, is set to undergo some significant restoration work this year. The reconstruction, which concerns for instance the Old Royal Palace and Saint Vitus Cathedral, is expected to cost some 290 million crowns. I spoke to František Kadlec of the Prague Castle Administration, who says the restoration of the castle buildings is a never-ending process:
The Czech government has added 25 historic buildings, areas and objects to the country’s list of cultural heritage sites, bringing it to a total of 296. Among the newly listed venues is a dam with a water plant in Liberec and a historical fire station in Mikulov, built at the start of the 20th century. The spokesperson for the National Heritage Institute Jana Tichá told the Czech News Agency that modern architecture was increasingly becoming the focus of historic preservation.
More than one third of Czechs still live in panelaks, the communist-era prefabricated houses, which were built across the country from the 1950s to the 1980s. Nowadays, many of them are in urgent need of repair. A conference called Housing Estate, What’s Next, was recently held at the Faculty of Architecture in Prague to address the future of these housing estates. Michal Kohout is one of the architects behind the project:
If you think you know pretty much everything there is to see in Prague, you should definitely visit the website Praha neznámá or Prague Unknown. As the title suggests, it focuses on the lesser known historical, architectural and natural sights in the Czech capital, such as the first functionalist housing estate, a marshland situated just fifteen minutes from the city centre or an artificial lake where President Masaryk used to swim. I spoke to Praha neznámá’s founder Petr Ryska and started by asking him how he got the idea to create it in the first
A newly opened office and shopping complex above Národní třída metro station in Prague has been fitted with artworks by the well-known Czech sculptors David Černý and Maxim Velčovský. A small “square” by the Quadrio building is now adorned by a 39-tonne moving statue of Franz Kafka produced by Černý at a cost of CZK 30 million. Velčovský has created a large glass piece for the foyer of the complex which occupies a previously open space in the downtown area.
The Czech Ministry of Regional Development has earmarked 621 million crowns, or some 28.5 million US dollars, for the renovation of historical landmarks, buildings and other monuments, a spokeswoman for the ministry said. The objects to receive funding include Brno’s Špilberk castle, the Velehrad monastery, a burger’s house in Třeboň, and others. The funds, most of which proceed from the EU, will have to be allocated by the end of next year, the ministry said.
Punk as an artistic style is usually associated with music and fashion but Prague’s Jaroslav Fragner Gallery now explores punk elements in architecture. The exhibition, featuring structures built over the span of five centuries, looks as what elements of the punk movement can be identified in historic and contemporary architecture in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Countless Hollywood movies and TV series have been shot in the Czech Republic in the last two decades. Casting director Nancy Bishop, who moved to Prague in 1994, has worked on many of those projects, from The Bourne Identity to Mission Impossible IV to the as yet unreleased Child 44. We began our tour of “her Prague” at Náměstí Míru, a square close to where she lives. As Bishop and I spoke, a passer-by tinkled the ivories on a free piano metres from our bench.
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