It's decided: The new post-modern skyscrapers will be build in Prague

Another two skyscrapers will grow at Pankrac. Twenty years ago, Pankrac was a kind of left-aside place, close to the centre, yet somehow empty. Now, it has changed dramatically and another changes are planned – Pankrac is turning into the new Business centre of Prague. No matter how the denizens complain, those luxurious apartments and office complexes do not contribute anything to civic amenities, no matter that UNESCO intervenes.

Progress cannot be stopped, the city part of Pankrac already takes in account Pankrac will once become a changing station for new Metro line D, and ECM, the company that planed and now is going to build the Epoque residence (photo) have even more plans. They have reconstructed Motokov and Ceskoslovensky rozhlas buildings at Pankrac already. When they finish building Epoque, they want to build another eight post-modern buildings. At least one thing is indisputable – their designs are really professional.

Will Old Town Square Get a new Building?

Old town square town hall - how it looked like Prague stands before another architectonic contest. The Prague Municipal Council wants to give the Old Town Square the missing part back. The spot left after bombed Town Hall, with a little park and horse carriages, could be occupied again. Old town square town hall - how it looks like now

The reason, why it lays unused since the WWII are continuing disputes among two groups, one desiring to keep it the way it is; historic, the other claiming the Square is chaotic and needs a central point – probably with a center of travel movement with a permanent exposition of the city development.

There has been many designs before, but no one good enough. To build in the Oldest part of Prague is a controversial idea, for some much more controversial than the Blob library.

Second Big Reconstruction of Prague Congress Centre at hand

The Building is probably going to undergo another reconstruction again. Even when there were large innovations eight years ago, ‘Palace of Culture’ or Prague Congress Centre should be improved again.

The major event on the spot was the IMF and the World Bank Summit in 2002. Back there the modifications took place at the side close to Vysehrad, with new buildings containing places for multiple use, including cultural gatherings and administrative premises.

Now the managers speculate they would need more space for accompanying exhibitions. It would mean ‘moving’ of one of its sides forward. The new design wants to look like nothing has changed. And why do they need a space for exhibitions? They want to attract really big congresses to Prague. Reason?

Tomio Okamura, the speaker of the Association of travel bureaus and agencies affirms a common tourist spends 2800 CZK ( 100 €)a day (for everything) in Prague, but a congress tourist about two times more.

Charles Bridge statues Cleanup

Statues from Charles bridge are going to go under repairs and cleaning this year. The repair of Prague essential Charles Bridge wait until it gets less cold. The restorers are going to clean some of the statues, especially those at the Lesser Quarter. Statues of Charles Bridge are managed by Petra Hoftichova from City Gallery Prague.

Reconstruction is prepared for other well-known Czech sights too. The Prague City Hall plans to spend more than 80 million CZK for sights repairs in 2008.

Project of Letna Ocenaium Underwater World in Prague moved or ended

bye-bye underwaterworld Huge Underwater World, which should have been built on the place of former monument of Stalin in Prague, will be probably moved. It is even probable it will be moved for good.

People against the Oceanium in Prague can celebrate – Prague City hall admits there are many problems with the enormous building that should host 250 sea fish. The Australian investor Underwater World Oceanium wants for example the city to take the business risk by itself.

The place that over the past twenty years became a skate-park seems saved for this time. There was made a petition by the Green Party against the construction. I was signed by about three thousands people, among them by the ex-president Vaclav Havel.

Prague National Theatre under Reconstruction

The National Theatre has started its three-year reconstruction, which costs are estimated 160 millions CZK (5,5 mil. €)

The first item on the list of reconstructions is the 10-ton, 78 meters long cast-iron railing, that represents a golden crown on the top of the historic building. All the parts of the railing are going to be gilded again with two kilos of the best quality gold, worth 70 thousands €.

Two other symbols of the theatre, sculptural groups of prancing horses are undergoing reconstruction on the roof, where it was in 1940 fixed with concrete. There is a problem with water running into the sculptures.

Expenses for those items are estimated 22 millions CZK (760 000€). The facade reconstruction of National Theatre starts in 2009, conservators have both hands full of work inside, too.

The contest of National Library was regular

The expert commission of lawyers, that is supposed to solve law problems of the new National library had their second meeting.

The first concrete verdict: “Most of the members of the committee have found the architectonic contest conformable with international rules.” That means from the law aspect, the contest was regular, and Octopus can be placed at Letna, or moved in Prague – to Strahov, Vypich or Opatov.

The next meeting is in the first week in December. The Prague Office gave them new law questions, that need to be solved. The definitive decision should come before Christmas. The National Heritage institute also waits for UNESCO statement in the matter.

Palladium Opening Ceremony

palladium opening ceremony Palladium is located in Prague, Namesti Republiky square (at a metro station of the same name). It opens on 25th October 2007 and customers can start shopping at 5 p.m. There are two hundred shops to be opened gradually. The biggest supply is of designer boutiques offering fashion and shoes.

New brands are going to enter the Czech market, and to have their first shops here. Those are i.e. Adams Kids, Mothercare and Italy’s fashion retailer Conbipel. While Palladium is expected to profit from its advantageous location in the city center, (just a minute from Prague’s shopping street Na Prikopech) the customers will have to expect the prices to reflect the center position. Rents at this location are one of the biggest in the Czech Republic.

Kotva versus Palladium

palladium in prague - new mall 07 It will soon be possible to shop in a new supermarket complex at the Republic square (Namesti republiky). Let’s make a little comparison with the old one.

The old supermarket, Kotva (Anchor), at Namesti republiky, built 1970 – 1975, was supposed to became a symbol of richness and plenitude of socialism. It was the biggest supermarket in the former Czechoslovakia. However at the end it showed the exact opposite – thanks to the usual supply problem most of the time the shelves offered only gaping emptiness. According to the author’s opinion, the only people who go to Kotva nowadays are the Russians, and most of the store offers only over-priced leather goods.

Palladium has been built for about 5 years, the work was slowed down thanks to the fact the whole center of Prague stands on archaeological sites. It was build in a shell of a historical building, with new basement floors. This way, it didn’t make any harm to the face of Prague, as we know it. It comprises of office and dining facilities along with Prague’s largest inner city parking garage. It was built not only as a center of commerce but also as a lively retail anchor and meeting point. The selection of shops was based on questionnaires, filled in by 1500 locals, to assure to fulfill the needs. Not burdened by the communist past, Palladium is a new and fresh place for our shopping. Opens on 25th of October.

Imperial Hotel Prague opens again

Imperial Hotel interior Imperial Hotel in the centre of Prague (Na Porici Street), a valuable Art Deco building, has been reconstructed. The hotel, built between 1913 and 1914, was closed to the public for tens of years, now it will open again together with the famous café.

There are Art Nouveau mosaics with Cubist features inside the hotel, especially the café has a splendid decoration. These features were not affected by the reconstruction.

Several old hotels from the beginning of the 20 th century were reconstructed and opened again in Prague in recent years. For example, it is the Alcron Hotel or Adria Hotel. Some reconstructions, however, afflicted the historical value of the buildings – that´s the case of, for example, Palace Hotel or Savoy Hotel. Both these reconstructions were planned during Communism years.

Prague may be deleted from the UNESCO´s World Heritage List

Prague panorama UNESCO warns Prague: if the new skyscrapers, which are planned to be built in Pankrac and Holesovice quarters, affect negatively Prague´s panorama, the city might be deleted from the UNESCO´s World Heritage List.

Commissioners of UNESCO are heading to Prague to consider, how will the view over historical houses be changed by the skyscrapers. They will especially examine, if they won´t be taller than, for example, the St. Vitus Cathedral. They will arrive to Prague in February 2008.

Prague is on the UNESCO´s World Heritage List since 1992 and one of the main reasons is the panorama over the historical part of the city. Prague city council now prepares a document, which will state, how tall buildings can be built in particular quarters of Prague.

The National Library design acclaimed in the UK

The controversial octopus design of the future National Library in Prague has won an award at the Summer Exhibition in London. This traditional show of contemporary art is organized by British Royal Academy of Arts.

The design by Jan Kaplicky and his Future Systems atelier has won the most important award in the architecture category, “A. J. Bovis Award”. The jury appreciated the technical perfection of the future building, as well as its extraordinary appearance.

The design of the National Library in Prague has been discussed a lot in the Czech Republic, even president Vaclav Klaus expressed his reservations about the design.

Villa Bilek in Prague will be restored soon

Villa Bilek, a unique Art-Noveau – symbolist building in Prague, will be restored in the coming two years. There will be new expositions inside and the villa will be lit in the night.

Villa Bilek is situated near the Prague Castle. It was built in 1911 by Frantisek Bilek, an artist, sculptor, graphic artist and religious thinker. The building is exceptional because of its rare symbolist style. There are Bilek´s works of art exhibited inside and also the interior of the villa is valuable. Bilek´s atelier is accessible to the public as well.

The building is in bad condition, so it will be renewed: the facade, the balcony and the balustrade will be restored. There will be a new centre about Frantisek Bilek and a study hall for the public. The overgrown garden will be modified, too.

You can find Villa Bilek in the Mickiewiczova Street 1, Prague 6.

A new shopping centre in Prague-Vysocany

Prague quarter Vysocany is not a very nice place for living at the present time. All that people see from their windows is a huge sports arena Sazka, a parking lot and desolate surroundings. All this should change in coming years. New commercial and administrative buildings, entertaining centre and a park will be built there. The whole area will be called the “Green Island”.

The first building, a parking house, will be built in 2007. The existing parking lot will be then overbuilt by the shopping and entertaining centre. Also a hotel and a sport centre are planned there. There could be possibly an ice rink or a venue for cultural events.

At the present time, the inhabitants of the area have no proper place to go shopping, they have to go to the far centre in Cerny Most. A park should be built around the new houses, so the name Green Island will hopefully be fitting.

Villa Tugendhat will probably change the owners

The only Czech modern building written on the list of UNESCO World Heritage is villa Tugendhat in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic. It belongs to the city of Brno and it is managed by The Museum of the City of Brno. Now the original owners of the villa want it back. They want to do the necessary reconstructions and make a museum of it.

The owners, for whom the vila was built by famous architect Mies van der Rohe, lived in that house for 8 years. It cost them 5 million CZK. For this amount of money they could have built 10 houses. Then they had to escape to Switzerlands after the Natzi occupation. Since the Communist times the villa has decayed.

Villa Tugedhat was also a place where two prime ministers of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar, talked face to face. Four months later the country split up into two independent countries. In 2001the villa was added to UNESCO World Heritage List.

Department store Tesco is a cultural monument

The department store Tesco (former Maj) in the centre of the city on Narodni trida confronted the thread of being demolished or at least very changed. Architect Rostislav Svacha raised an objection against it this March. Also thanks to his action, the Ministry of Culture declared this building a cultural monument.

The building is a good example of the architecture of the 70’s in the 20th century – in the communist regime. It was built in 22 months, the ceremonial opening was on 21st April 1975.

There are a lot of discussion concerning the building. If Tesco company wants to change the building it must be done carefully with respect to the cultural monument now. Parties involved can still appeal against the decision of the Ministry of Culture till 27th October.

Luxurious hotel from a monastery

Forlorn monastery of st. Thomas (sv. Tomas) in Letenska street in Lesser Quarter (Mala Strana) will change into a luxurious hotel with a great view of Prague Castle and Hradcany. 101 luxurious room with the atmosphere of the old monastery dating back to 1285 will attract tourist at the end of 2007.

The reconstruction is according the author of the project Martin Kotik one of the most extensive and difficult one concerning historical buildings in Prague. Rocco Forte, the owner of the hotel network, says that the building costs are comparable with the costs of three five-star hotels.

The hotel called St. Thomas should not lose its historical character. The part of the hotel will contain original monastery gardens, wooden ceilings, a wine-cellar or stone vaults.

New 5 star hotel in Narodni trida

On the empty place in Narodni trida which has been used as a parking lot should stand a 5 star hotel with 140 rooms. The luxurious hotel will be built on the most attractive building site in Prague.

This building site was sold to Dittrich company last year for record-breaking 234 700 CZK (about 8 300 EUR) per square meter. The total size is 783 square meters. The investor of the hotel Central European Financial Management is going to invest about 500 millions Czech crowns to this project.

According to the plans the new building should be connected with the adjacent baroque palace in Mikulandska street. However this plan is criticized by many people that it does not fit into the neighbourhood. The territorial development committee had some remarks that will be reconsidered by the architects.