The Battle of the Blob Goes On

Still no settlement in sight in the case of the amorphous creature- like library that should observe the city center from the Letná hill. Generally known as “the Blob”, Kaplický’s project provokes an ongoing row between the magistrates, the architects and considerable segments of the public.

There were two major setbacks. Some Czech architects decided not to accept the choice made by the international jury. And, more importantly, the Prague magistrates lost their enthusiasm into a pioneer project, unclear whether they do want to build any new library building in the end.

There would be little to complain about weren’t for the jury’s decision. The project itself is bizarre and its setting is controversial. But it was the magistrates who held the competition, they chose the form and they should respect the result. If you set an international jury to decide over a project and it chooses a winner, not to say that well, you don’t like the chosen project so let’s do it some other way. If the location is the problem, and there are probably more convenient locations in Prague, why did the magistrates chose it in the first place? The projects were all meant for the Letná plain, taking it into account. A decent architectonic project cannot be moved into a different environment.

The question is not whether you like the green- yellow- indigo slimy-looking octopus or not, this is a political match played on a very wrong field. It draws international attention; our republic is no longer separated from the Western trends and standards. If we ignore the jury’s decision it will be a serious breach of the international standards and it will be remembered. Other world architects will have second thoughts about competing in the CR, we will stay off the A list we wanted to go for.

The critics of the project, led by the Prague mayor Pavel Bém, are still using legal methods to hold it, there is a hope that they don’t just cancel the project in the end. The other major question is if the author, known for impulsive and rather sensitive behavior, will have the patience to stay till the end. His withdrawal of the project would be an enormous embarrassment for the city.

© 2008 |