The Old Town City Hall Completed?

this is how it looks like The original Old Town City Hall was severely damaged at the end of WWII, after it became a target of the German occupation army during the Prague Uprising in May 1945. It was set on fire and had to be taken down. Since then, plans for a new building were in motion.

They were in motion even before the event, to be precise. The original building was not considered terribly interesting and it was not convenient enough to contain the offices of the Prague bureaucracy. At the beginning of the century several competitions have taken place and more were to follow.

this is how it lookd like One of the most remembered projects is the one by Josef Gočár form the 1909 competition. The modernist seems to have allowed his fantasy a free way and suggested a pyramid- like monument inspired by cubism, in a style that might have inspired some later art deco architecture. The project is interesting to have a look at and it is likely it was meant rather as an intriguing idea than something likely to be constructed. It would be enormously expensive and it just couldn’t fit the surroundings- it might look appropriate somewhere near The Chrysler Building, not on the Old Town Square.

The later projects offered many options. There were somber, neo- whatever and conservative. There were some very bizarre ones, like one 1988 project of building a cable railway from a newly built station at the square and leading it as far as to Letná. One can hardly imagine how costly and how ugly would that be.

the famous celebrated gocar's design Since the fifties, there were several very ugly propagandist projects, for example a wall, which would serve for film projections during major manifestations and some undignified attempts for something resembling the Kotva mall on Náměstí Republiky.

Now the city has decided the case should be solved at last. The reasons are obvious. The City Hall is apparently a torso and the park that covers the space today doesn’t make much sense, it creates sort of a square- within- a square. A new, tenth competition is supposed to take place this year and it is likely it will be international. Personally I’m curious how an international architectonic competition will go after all the confusions and endless delays of the National Library project, but one never knows.

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