The new publication Prague on the Threshold of Modernity shows the architecture of the city from a perspective that does not normally occur from the sidewalk. four four unique images revealing home interiors and views from the roofs. Zdeněk Luke Hroch this time Miroslav and especially on the architecture of the second half of the 19th century. According to the authors of the unique guide, it is unjustly neglected.
“Pseudo-styles are not so creative, at first they copied more, but later the architects freely combined various elements, and finally various styles, as can be seen on the facades of houses in Pařížská Street,” says one of the authors of the book, historian of architecture Zdeněk Lukeš.
He enjoyed working on the book precisely because the period of the second half of the 19th century is not very elaborate. “Of course, with the exception of buildings such as the Rudolfinum or the National Theater,” he adds.
According to Lukeš, paradoxically, not much attention is paid to this time, perhaps because of contempt for styles that look back on the past, perhaps because we are too fused with them from everyday life and do not need to reflect on them.
Lukeš considers the collaboration of architects and artists at the time to be crucial and remarkable. “The various variations of stucco decoration, mosaics, stained glass, the rediscovered method of scratched plaster or sgraffito, but also frescoes or chiaroscuro. The artists simply had a harvest at the time,” says Lukeš.
The authors devoted more space to a number of major buildings, including pictures with details. The black-and-white photographs were taken by Pavel Hroch, who went at the right times without excessive traffic for pedestrians and cars, and above all he privately agreed with the residents to allow him access to the houses, from which he then took photos.
In the book, the authors thus present 160 buildings, sorted by Prague district. The guide leads through the districts of the historical core of the capital – the Old and New Towns, Malá Strana, Hradčany, Josefov and Vyšehrad – as well as the parts that surround them – Holešovice-Bubny, Karlín, Žižkov, Královské Vinohrady, Smíchov, Bubenčí. And as a bonus Dejvice, Střešovice and Dolní Libocí.
There are also names of authors, exact addresses, dating and original names of buildings, but also bridges, tunnels and monuments. These can be easily located according to a detailed map.
Architect and architectural historian Zdeněk Lukeš (1954) lectures at New York University Prague. He is the author or co-author of more than thirty book publications, especially on 20th century architecture.
Photographer and translator Pavel Hroch (1967) studied translation and interpreting in the field of Russian and Spanish at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University. He has photographed in Mexico, Russia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Spain and Slovakia.