New David Černý locomotive walkway to bridge two Prague buildings

The latest piece from the famed Czech artist, based on the 1895 Montparnasse derailment, will provide a functional bridge above a street in Prague 9

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 25.02.2020 14:59:11 (updated on 25.02.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech artist David Černý is known for some of the more outré pieces of street art around Prague, including the Babies crawling up Žižkov’s Television Tower and Old Town’s Man Hanging Out. His latest work is no exception – though it also provides a functional use.

Based off the 1895 Montparnasse derailment in Paris, captured in an iconic photograph by Levy & fils, Černý’s newest piece will be a nineteenth-century train that will appear to onlookers to be crashing between two Prague buildings. It will also be used as a functional walkway between the buildings.

The locomotive bridge will be erected on Lihovarská street in Prague 9 – Vysočany, near the now-derelict ČKD Kolbenka factory. In the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the factory was one of the largest producers of locomotives in Prague.

“I think the construction will be complete in about two years,” Černý told Aktuálně.cz.

“The wreck will connect the two opposite houses, so it will be possible to cross [the street] from one side to the other.”

Černý’s Black’n Arch studio will be responsible for the construction and installation of the unusual project.

The buildings themselves are also new, designed by architect Tomáš Císař. SEN development, owner of the buildings, plans to implement both residential and office spaces in the premises.

1895 train wreck at montparnasse via Wikimedia / Levy & fils
1895 train wreck at Montparnasse via Wikimedia / Levy & fils

Due to the unusual bridge between them, residents will be able to make use of spaces on both sides of the street.


“I wished these were not just ordinary houses, somehow I wanted to recall the history of Kolbenka and its surroundings,” SEN’s Eugen Roden told told Aktuálně.cz

“David Černý began to play with the idea of ​​returning to the era of industrialist Emil Kolben and the later factory ČKD Lokomotivka. He recalled that over 8,000 locomotives were built in the factory.”

Prague 9 also supports the new project due to its historical connections.

“We like to see any imprint or reminder of the past in contemporary construction,” says Prague 9 Deputy Mayor Marek Doležal.

“It not only shows the continuity of life, but it makes the ordinary unusual and interesting.”

Construction on Černý’s locomotive bridge could begin later this year.

It isn’t the only “wreck” that the artist has planned for Prague. Černý is also responsible for the unique post-apocalyptic shipwreck design of Top Tower, which is slated to become the tallest building in the Czech capital.

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