The building, whose reputation is associated mainly with the period of socialism, has long been a congress house in the Czech Republic. The megalomaniac project lying on the edge of the Nuselské Valley and the Pankrác Plain is unmissable, but at the same time you can see wonderful panoramic views of Prague from its interior. What makes this building so contradictory and at the same time admirable?
In 1975, the government decided to embark on a grand building project that would serve several different services. The immodest building was to transcend national significance. The task was not easy, because the duty was to achieve five specific building modifications. Modification of the bridgehead Pankrác, the main building with all equipment and accessories, transport solutions, underground lines and a gas converter.
Nothing complicated at first glance, but in connection with the monumental construction, it was a really expensive and complicated task. Administrative tasks were approved and construction could begin.
Opening with Husák
Political ideology completely overlaps the fact that, from an architectural point of view, this is not a socialist realism, but a very elaborate neofunctionalist project realized by a team of great architects. They were Jaroslav Mayer, Vladimír Ustohal, Antonín Vaněk and Josef Karlík.
The construction proceeded very quickly and the Palace of Culture was completed in 1981. On April 2 of that year, the grand opening took place, which was also attended by President Gustav Husák. He thus started an era when the leaders of the Communist Party met here. Hence the unpopularity of the building, which, despite its negative past and gigantic size, still serves exceptional congress events.
The congress center has a hall at its disposal, which, due to its perfect acoustics, hosted the best musicians in the world. Let the pianist Phillip Glass or the legendary David Bowie.
In December 1989, negotiations took place here on the post-November organization of the future government of Czechoslovakia. However, the mighty symbol of communism did not disappear even after the Velvet Revolution.
However, it was the communist ideology of the whole building in the eyes of the public that contributed to the negative perception, which overshadowed the unique architectural values of both the exterior and the interiors.
Breathtaking numbers testify to the fact that the building of the Congress Center is monumental. Under the roof of the building, which we have seen everyone who has ever crossed the Nuselský Bridge, hides an incredible technological network and several congress halls decorated with the best artists of their time. The largest congress center in the Czech Republic must be considered up to 9,300 people and the largest of the 70 halls has capacity 2,764 people.
If you develop air conditioning pipes, you will reach up to a hundred most often in the interior you will find a gigantic mechanical air conditioning and gas boiler room, which is with its output of 24 megawatts, as well as The Empire State Building in New York.
The Palace of Culture became the Congress Center in 1995 and a new chapter began. There were voices calling for his demolition, but it never happened.
On the contrary, between 1998 and 2000, a general reconstruction exceeding the amount of two billion crowns took place. Probably the most memorable meeting was hosted by the Congress Center in 2000, when a meeting took place here 55th International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
In 2014, the Czech state bought 55% of the Prague Congress Center (KCP) and thus became its majority owner. Thanks to this, the building got rid of the debt from the expensive reconstruction.
The planned completion could bring new blood to the shorter dead space around the unpopular Prague monument. Announced architectural competition the Spanish office of OCA won. Prague thus decided to compete with Vienna, Berlin or Paris.
Whether you call a gigantic building in the lucrative environment of the Congress Center, Palace of Culture, Pakul or Lidojem, the building offers several unique details that are often unfairly overlooked. From a technical point of view, this is a completely exceptional building. We recommend the main hall with its acoustics among the best in the world, and the view from the upper floors towards Prague Castle is inimitable.
Source: Congress Center, Adam Gebrian: Surprising Buildings
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