Designs for square honoring Czech author Bohumil Hrabal unveiled

The green, park-like urban oasis will replace a seldom-used bus depot in Palmovka.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 07.12.2021 15:49:00 (updated on 07.12.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

More details of the future look of Prague’s Palmovka area have been revealed. A square named after writer Bohumil Hrabal will stand next to the planned multi-use Palmovka One real estate development. Both should be finished by 2025.

Visualizations of náměstí Bohumila Hrabala have just been released, following a planning process that took public opinion into account.

Visualizations of náměstí Bohumila Hrabala. (Unit architekti)
Visualizations of náměstí Bohumila Hrabala. (Unit architekti)

"The preparation of the square is, in my view, a nice example of public-private cooperation," architect Filip Tittl from the studio Unit architekti said, according to news server iDnes.cz.

Pamlovka One and the creation of the new square are actually two separate projects. Landia Management and Discovery Group have temporarily suspended construction on Pamovka One real estate development so that it can coincide with the building of the adjacent square. The Palmovka One project includes a two-level shopping arcade, 300 apartments, restaurants, and a supermarket.

The city is behind the project to create the square. The estimated cost is CZK 80 million.

The square’s architects received input from the local civic group Palmovka Teď (Palmovka Now), a Prague 8 initiative aimed at connecting all the participants involved in redeveloping Palmovka.

“The appearance of the square is based mainly on proposals from the residents themselves. The square will finally look the way it deserves, not like the space you are afraid to walk through in the evening,” Palmovka Teď coordinator Petr Pelc said.

People decided, for example, that they did not want a transportation building in the square and that the surroundings of the New Libeň Synagogue also needed to be improved. The former synagogue is used as a cultural center.

Unit architekti’s Tittl said that the long-neglected Palmovka area has the potential to become as vibrant as Anděl in Prague 5.

“Potentially one of the liveliest places in Prague today has the character of a completely discarded area, where you would not even dream of spending your free time in any way,” Tittl said.

Visualizations of náměstí Bohumila Hrabala. (Unit architekti)
Visualizations of náměstí Bohumila Hrabala. (Unit architekti)

The square will resemble a small park, with greenery, a café, a playground and places where people can sit and spend their free time.

The existing bus station at the location is seldom used, and will not be missed once it is replaced. The city plans to introduce trolleybuses to Palmovka, and parking spots for buses will not be needed in the future. The trolleybuses will use the existing tram stops. The Palmovka metro stop is also nearby.

Mural depicting Bohumil Hrabal. (Photo: Raymond Johston)
Mural at Palmovka depicting Bohumil Hrabal. (Photo: Raymond Johston)

Hrabal spent a substantial part of his life at Na Hrázi Street, though the building was destroyed in the 1980s. A plaque in the sidewalk marks the spot. He is best known for his books “Closely Watched Trains” and “I Served the King of England.”

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Some details and visual elements will remind visitors of passages from Hrabal’s work. These will be overseen by sculptor Dominik Lang. A dozen Czech writers including Jáchym Topol will collaborate on a short story book related to the design elements in the square.  

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