Prague's Jiřího z Poděbrad Square to get complete renovation

Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad will be getting a facelift to make it more user-friendly

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 05.06.2019 15:43:04 (updated on 05.06.2019) Reading time: 3 minutes

Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad will be getting a facelift to make it more user-friendly. The Prague 3 district is seeking public input on the plan, and has an information booth on the square until June 10. People can also send comments online until June 30.

“Prague 3 has been trying to completely reconstruct náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad since 2000,” Prague 3 Mayor Jiří Ptáček said on the Prague 3 website. “The current arrangement from the end of the 1970s and start of the 1980s creates a number of areas that occupy valuable space, but do not fulfill their function.”

He added that the square is an important public space featuring a modern architectural gem, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, built 1929–32.

Ptáček said the goal is to create a square where people from across generations we will spend time. “Let’s make this plan together. We now have a unique opportunity to collaborate on the future form of Jiřák,” he said, using the informal name of the square.

via Raymond Johnston

The proposed changes include adding 154 new trees planted in organized rows, bringing the total to 247, making new crosswalks where metal barriers now prevent pedestrian traffic, and changing the square’s pedestrian pathways. The children’s playground next to the church should be renovated.

The two metro entrances on the square would be changed so they will no longer have the large glass and metal housing. An elevator would be installed on Vinohradská Street for barrier-free entry to the metro.

The asphalt approach to the church would be changed to a pattern of paving stones to create a better visual appeal. The approach would be wider, and the benches set back into shade from trees. The space for cultural events on the square would become larger and more coherent.

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The popular farmers market will remain, but be moved to a different section of the square closer to the side of the church and away from the elementary school. The area by the school will become a quiet area. The farmers market would be next to existing cafes and food shops, making a culinary zone.

The current plan is revised from the 2000 proposal. Originally, the granite fountain on the square was to be removed, but public outcry has led to the fountain being retained.

The fountain is called United Europe, and was made in 1981 by sculptor Petr Šedivý. It is meant to highlight an idea by Bohemian King George of Poděbrady (Jiří z Poděbrad) for European nations to settle differences without warfare. The idea was the first of its kind, but never put into practice.

What likely won’t survive is the less-popular metro air vent, a futuristic concrete and metal tower that takes up a large space in front of the church. It is also a part of the 1979–81 redesign of the square, and made by the same architect as the fountain.

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A new vent would be put in its place that directs air from the metro upward, away from the planned trees. The current vent disperses air from the metro sideways, and this would prevent trees from growing next to it.

A zoning decision has already been issued, so the types of changes that can be made are limited.

“We should not change fixed elements such as the fountain location, but we can discuss where the lawns are, what sort of trees will be planted and where, and what type of surface there will be,” Matěj Michalk Žaloudek, chairman of Prague 3’s Committee on Spatial Development, said. “Much can still be changed.”

The cost of the renovation is estimated at CZK 100 million, but the figure depends on the details of the final plan.

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