November 12, 2013

Soviet Style Architecture in Prague

Metro Station Staromestska

The city of Prague will not like this, but what I'd like to share in this post is not the picturesque old town and the majestic palaces along the Vltava river but the witnesses of the great Soviet style and Czech Brutalist Architecture that impressed me while visiting the Czech capital.

Metro station Jiriho z Podebrad

The first great surprise are the tunnels of the Line A of the 1970's Prague Metro Stations that are covered in a colorful patchwork of metallic tiles in flat, convex and concave shapes in hues of gold, silver, green, blue and red. This color concept is made by artist Jaroslav Votruba and the color scheme differs by station to make them recognizable.
On this site you can find analyzes of the color composition:

The Kotva Department Store

 kotva department store by vladimir & vera machonin
 kotva department store by vladimir and vera machonin

The Kotva Department Store (Revoluční 655/1) is famous for its strange Communist era architecture and for its separate kiosk stores located inside. Kotva designed  by Vladimir & Vera Machonin was finished in 1975 and consists of an iron and concrete skeleton that is divided into six units giving the building a unique design. Each of these six units features different shops and different spaces but put together form a rather dynamic space. This extraordinary building sticks out in Republic Square as it was built in between historic houses and is neighbored by some of Prague’s Art Nouveau masterpieces.

 kotva department store by vladimir & vera machonin
 kotva department store by vladimir and vera machonin

The Zivkov TV-Tower

Czech artist David Cerny added the crawling babies on the tower (not so sure if it was a good idea....)
The Zizkov Television Tower with 216 meters is the highest structure in the city of Prague. Built between 1985 and 1992, started by the Communists, the tower was once resented by local inhabitants, as the megalomaniac tower forever changed the skyline of Prague and also destroyed part of a centuries old Jewish cemetery where the foundations of the tower are located. 

the tower has a panorama restaurant and a one-room Hotel

eero aarnio chairs at the observatory platform
The lounge of the observatory 

This building is famous for being the second ugliest building in the world (I couldn't find out which one is number one) and of course it's not ugly at all (I mean for me) and it makes a fantastic lookout point to enjoy Prague's skyline from the observatory floor.
For more information:

The lounge at the entrance
the tower entrance

The former Czechoslovak Federal assembly

The building of the former Czechoslovak Federal assembly was designed by Karel Prager in the 1960's and built around 1972.
Prager designed the Federal Assembly as a „house over house“. He then developed the principle into a „city over city” when he suggested using bridge structures to grow the city into a third dimension instead of its growth out into the surrounding areas.
A symbol of its time – often hated and ignored – it was declared a cultural heritage in 2000.

Nova Scena Theater
Another project by Karl Prager from 1983

The brutalist buildings in Czech Republic are often associated with the soviet domination period (which lasted until Spring 1968, however most of the brutalist building were built after that) so they tended to have a bad reputation in a very Western oriented Czech Republic.

(This is the first post of my recent Eastern Europe Tour. Here in short the itinerary: Prague-Brno-Ostrawa-Krakow-Zakopane-Presov-Beograd.)

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