Architecture Day opens buildings in Prague and across the Czech Republic next week

A week of events related to urban spaces will take place October 1–7 nationwide and in Slovakia

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 24.09.2020 16:16 (updated on 25.09.2020)

The 19th annual Architecture Day (Den architektury) runs from October 1 to 7, in over 100 cities and towns in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Despite the name, it is actually a week filled with open houses of normally inaccessible places, walking and biking tours, and lectures.

Many places and events require advance booking online, and due to the coronavirus pandemic the size of crowds has to be strictly enforced. Reservations in Prague, which has 80 events, will be launched September 27.

“The program of the Architecture Day festival has been based on walks for a limited group of people since 2001, and the events take place mainly outside, so we believe that this year's event will take place as planned. Of course, we will respect all safety measures and we believe that this year will be a dignified celebration of 10 years of our festival,” festival director and founder Marcela Steinbachová said.

Former factories, modern ecological buildings, sacred architecture, hospital complexes, former working-class neighborhoods, as well as trips through the urban wilderness are in this year's program.

Veleslavín Chateau / via Den architektury
Veleslavín Chateau / via Den architektury

Under the slogan Hooray inside! (Hurá dovnitř!), people can see interiors in a wide range of buildings from the Romanesque era up to recent construction.

Historical highlights in Prague are the Judith Bridge Tower on the Malá Strana side of Charles Bridge, the Baroque summer residence Portheimka, and Veleslavín Chataeu.

Modern examples include the Cubist-style House of the Black Madonna, the fantasy-inspired Art Nouveau studio of sculptor Ladislav Šaloun, the Adolf Loos-designed Winternitz Villa, Zdeněk Fránek’s multi-functional Eucon house with its Spunik extension, a boiler room designed by Karel Prager, and the villa of writer Karel Čapek, among several others. There is also a former sausage factory in Nusle that has been converted to offices.

Stairs in the House of the Black Madonna / via Raymond Johnston
Stairs in the House of the Black Madonna / via Raymond Johnston

Motorists and fans of architecture can peek inside the headquarters of the Autoclub of the Czech Republic, which was remodeled in the 1920s.

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The biking and walking tours in general are not English-friendly. A cycling tour takes place October 4 on the topic of transportation and urbanism. There are over 30 walks on topics ranging from Cubism to the impact of shared accommodation services like Airbnb. There will be chances to explore Karlovo náměstí, Čelakovského sady and the surroundings of the National Museum, and Štvanice island plus themed walks in several neighborhoods.

Places outside Prague shouldn’t be overlooked. There are significant new buildings and sites in some of the smaller cities and towns. The EXPO 2015 Czech pavilion, designed by Chybík + Krištof AA architects, can be seen for example in Vizovice, near Zlín. The building is now owned by Koma Modular.

Villa Winternitz in Prague / via Den architektury
Villa Winternitz in Prague / via Den architektury

The festival will commemorate important personalities such as Adolf Loos, Josef Gočár, Otakar Novotný, Jaroslav Fragner, and Zdeněk Fránek. The latter received the Architect of the Year 2020 award.

The festival’s ecological theme will take visitors to environmental centers and green buildings. It also monitors changes in the landscape and the importance of rivers for cities. Also in focus are the role of architecture and urbanism in society especially regarding the environment and the sustainability, the functionality of public buildings and spaces, and changes of individual locations in terms of society and architecture.

More information can be found on the festival’s Facebook page and website.