The Open House Prague 2022 festival is over, 64,000 people have visited the open buildings and accompanying programs
May 23, 2022 • 4:30 p.m.
“The festival has returned to the traditional May date after the coronavirus pandemic, and we are glad that people took advantage of the nice weather and the opportunity to look at many architecturally interesting objects throughout Prague. We were also surprised by the number of visitors to parts of Prague further away from city centers such as Zbraslav, Komořany and Staré Ďáblice. “ says Andrea Šenkyříková, director and founder of the Open House Prague festival.
In the week from 16 May 2022, those interested could go for a walk from Hlávkov to the Libeň Bridge, which commemorated this year’s 140th anniversary of the birth of architect Pavel Janák. Another important personality that the organizers paid attention to was Jože Plečnik. “We wanted to commemorate 150 years since this important architect of Slovenian origin in a somewhat unconventional way, so together with the curator of Plečnik’s house in Ljubljana Ana Porok we prepared an exhibition of his unrealized works in Ljubljana right in front of the Church of the Sacred Heart and invited those interested to a lecture not only with Anna. Porok, but he is Professor Vladimír Šlapeta, “ says Andrea Šenkyříková. The exhibition in front of the church can still be seen until the end of May. The church itself, one of the most important sacral monuments in the Czech Republic, was open to visitors not only on weekends, but also as part of a concert evening. People listened to the music of Plečnik’s contemporaries performed by the Stamic Quartet. The accompanying program of the festival also included other events, such as a debate on the future of sports venues, development plans in the Bubna area and then a number of guided walks and tours.
The weekend opened the gates to 100 free buildings (out of 101 originally announced), which are usually inaccessible. (In the end, the lounge at Prague Main Railway Station could not be opened.) The greatest interest was traditionally in the festival news at all – a total of 26 buildings and spaces, which are being held for the first time in the program this year. Guided tours to the Palace of Electric Companies in Prague, today known as Bubenská 1, have formed queues of people since the morning, and so it continued throughout the weekend. At the time of its creation, the largest office building in Prague and today a cultural monument is proud of several awards for quality reconstruction from the TaK Architects workshop.
May 22, 2022 • 16:41
“We tried to open this unique example of functionalist architecture from the first year of the festival, and this year the circumstances wished us and the owners let us look inside after the reconstruction completed last year. Architect Marek Tichý, under whose leadership the reconstruction took place, also carried out one of the guided tours, which was an interesting experience, “ is added by Andrea Šenkyříková.
Visitors were also very interested in the representative premises of the club house of the Autoklub ČR and the EA Hotel Juliš on Wenceslas Square, where people could look into the area of the former restaurant or the terrace overlooking the Franciscan Garden. People can soon enjoy breathtaking views from the roof of the Adria Palace by the same author Pavel Janák and the roof of the former Hotel Gráf, today IP Pavlova 5.
Among the new buildings, the UMPRUM Mikulandská Technology Center or the building of the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRK) of the Czech Technical University in Prague Dejvice, where there are not only offices, laboratories and teaching rooms, but also the Rector’s Office, were frequently visited. For the first time, the ambassador’s residential building and the embassy headquarters – the Thun Palace in Malá Strana – were also included in the program. Visitors were accompanied here both in the interiors and in the garden by HE Ambassador Nick Archer himself. People could also enjoy the beautiful gardens at the Černín Palace in Hradčany, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Vlašský Hospital in Malá Strana or Villa Lanna in Bubeneč. This magnificent residence is the first Neo-Renaissance villa in the Czech lands and its author was most likely Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann. The organizers are commemorating its round anniversary of 200 years since its birth. “The villa attracts especially with its rich artistic decoration, not only the reliefs on the facade, but also the wall frescoes, which draw inspiration from ancient mythology, “ specifies the guide and volunteer of Open House Prague, Michal Šedivý.
The not very well-known brutalist building of the Central Boiler Room of the General Hospital by Karel Prager served as an exhibition space for contemporary art. People here admired the works of contemporary authors from the KOOJON collection, which was installed directly in the bowels of the technical background of the gas boiler room. Technical enthusiasts could also learn interesting things during tours of the Štvanice hydroelectric power plant or the engine room of the Small Sports Hall at the Exhibition Grounds.
Among the buildings that are involved in the festival, and yet many visitors are interested in them, are especially Kramář’s Villa, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Hotel International Prague or the abandoned Desfour Palace, which is awaiting reconstruction in the coming years.
Only on Sunday it was possible to look into one of the few Cubist realizations in Prague – the Diamant apartment building by architect Emil Králíček. In the building with a distinctive Cubist façade with crystalline motifs, a number of original interior furnishings were restored during the reconstruction, and there was even a tour for visually impaired visitors. Other special tours in selected buildings were also prepared for visually impaired visitors, who could touch 3D models and haptic maps, as well as for families with children.
This year, people could look into the ancient underground, two anti-nuclear shelters, climb to the tops of the water towers in Michle and Letná, look at the stands of one of the world’s largest sports stadiums in Strahov, ride a track on the Třebešín velodrome, discover more about the bell tower tradition in the museum in Zbraslav or look into the engine room and wheelhouse of the historic steamer and the background of the fire station. In addition to the sacral buildings, visitors could also look at several falconry.
“On Friday afternoon, we were not sure whether we would be able to open all the announced facilities. Therefore, a big thank you goes to all volunteers, owners and building managers, thanks to which we are able to ensure a smooth process and the whole event, “ adds the main volunteer coordinator Klára Veselá. The festival is a community project and 400 volunteers are preparing for the festival, accompanying visitors and their coordination, especially this year, without the right to a fee. As part of the volunteer program, volunteers can then visit selected buildings throughout the year. The event, which opens the premises to the public free of charge, would not be possible without a number of partners, including supporters and individual donors.
Open House Prague is part of the international network of Open House Worldwide festivals, which take place in 50 cities around the world and its mission is to arouse public interest in architecture and the city.
May 23, 2022 • 12:49
May 22, 2022 • 20:48