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Město v bouři

Město v bouři

Urbanismus a architektura historického centra Prahy 1830–1970

[A City in the Storm. Urbanism and Architecture of the Historical Center of Prague 1830–1970]

Biegel, Richard

subjects: architecture and urban studies

hardcover, 768 pp., 1. edition
published: august 2022
ISBN: 978-80-246-5289-4
recommended price: 2400 czk



This book presents the urbanistic and architectonic fates of the historical center of Prague during period when it changed from a picturesque historical neighborhood into an ambitious metropolis. The theme is opened by the first romantic changes which gave the city riverbank waterfronts and promenades. In a rather dramatic contrast to this, a period of radical redevelopment follows, which meant the demolition of entire quarters of houses and evoked an equally radical reaction by the defenders of “old Prague.” A separate chapter presents the period of remarkable interwar transformations of the city into the metropolis of a new state, as well as the dark Protectorate period of megalomaniac urban planning. With the post-war euphoria came not only new visions and dreams, but also the early onset of the Communist totality, whose urbanistic visions were seemingly a direct continuation of the Protectorate projects. The final part of the book is formed by the years between 1958–1970, which brought not only the return of modernism, but also essential discussion on the role that the historical center should play in the organism of a modern city.
The rapid formation of the metropolis shook up almost everything the centuries-old city had represented up to that time. This work therefore follows not only the birth and implementation of new ideas, but also the ever-strengthening awareness of the city’s historical value, which in 1971 culminated in its proclamation as the Prague Protected Heritage Area. Wherever it was possible, the actors in various discussions and ideological batters are allowed to have their say directly in the text. Through them, we can best understand the attitudes and dilemmas of that time, but also the deep inner continuity, which with hindsight proves to be much more significant than the quick succession of architectural styles and political regimes might indicate at first glance.