Prague Minos Guide

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20. století


Czech architecture specificity around W W I
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Cubist architecture is the only original style that can safely be connected to the Czech artistic environment. Its main interpreters were Pavel Janák, Josef Gočár, Josef Chochol, and Vlastislav Hofman. They managed to transfer the broken-up spatial Cubism compositions from the painter's canvas into architectural language, which, almost surprisingly, became part of the unique "collection" of architectural styles in Prague. Despite the relatively low number of buildings realized, we can say that the potential of Cubist architecture was admirable. In a totally sovereign way, it succeeded in solving the difficult problem of designing new buildings within a historical context, House u Černé Matky Boží, Josef Gočár 1912, corner apartment building, Josef Chochol, apartment building in Neklanova Street, 1913 to 1914, a grandiose representative villa, Josef Chochol, villa beneath Vyšehrad, 1912 to 1913, or even only a streetlamp (Emil Králíček and Matěj Blecha, streetlamp

on Jungmann Square, 1912 to 1913). After World War I, the pyramid-shaped Cubist forms which dominated the architecture in Prague during 1912 to 1914 were replaced by the more robust architectural structure of Arch Cubism. From the European viewpoint, it can be placed within the wider "Art Deco" style. The most famous realizations of this short post-war Rondocubism era are the Legiobanka Na Poříčí Street by Gočár (1921 to 1922) or the marvelous Adria Palace by Pavel Janák and Josef Zasch in Jungmannova Street (1922 to 1925). The unconventional red-and-white colors of the Rondocubism structures reflect the search for a "national architectural style" that would correspond to the needs of the newly formed Czechoslovak Republic. In the end however, this peculiar and cumbersome style did not become the typical expression of the inter-war Czechoslovak cultural and economic rise, the opposite happened in the shape of the elegant and austere Functionalism.


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