Day of Architecture will open doors across the country

Tours of buildings and a film festival will offer treats for architecture buffs

Some 63 cities and town across the Czech Republic and Slovakia will open architectural sites to the public Oct. 1–2 for the Day of Architecture (Den architektury) festival.

Places on the list for the sixth edition of the festival include abandoned industrial sites, historical villas, modern buildings and examples of exceptional interior design through the centuries. Many places have guided tours at specific times, so it is important to check the schedule. Most tours are in Czech, though some are in English or German. One event in English, for example, is a tour of three department stores including Kotva, Máj (now Tesco) and the former Družba store on Wenceslas Square. This tour takes place Oct. 1 at 3 pm, starting in front of Kotva.

Also of interest to an English speaking audience is a program of films called Film and Architecture, with most but not all films being English-friendly. The films run at Kino Světozor (Oct. 1–5), Kino 35 in the French Institute (Oct. 1–2 and 5) and Prague Gallery (Oct. 1).

The festival is meant to raise questions among the public about the future development of urban areas, whether spaces should be for developers or for people, and how cities should be renewed for future generations. The largest amount of events will be in Brno, Hořice v Podkrkonoší, Prague and Šumperk.

A highlight in Prague is the tour of the Pragovanka industrial area in Prague 9. The area is in part now being used by artists.

Fans of controversial socialist-era architect Karel Prager can see several of his works: the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in the Troja district, the Institute of Regional Planning in Prague 2, the boiler plant of the General University Hospital in Prague 2 and perhaps his most famous work, the New Building of the National Museum, which was formerly home to Radio Free Europe and the Federal Assembly.

Other topics range from pet architecture in Karlín to tours of municipal infrastructure, housing estates, First Republic villas and historical sites like monasteries.

A colony of homes for workers in Prague 5 built in the early 1800s called Buďánka has fallen into ruins, and the first renovated building will be open for a tour.

There will also be happening on Senovážné náměstí with installations and a human chain on Oct. 2.

Some events, such as a tour in the in the footsteps of the 1929 Alexander Hackenschmied short film ‘Aimless Walk’ require advance reservations.

Brno will also have tours of housing estates, looks inside some historical buildings and a tour around the Černá Pole area of modern architecture. Films will be shown at Villa Tugendhat from Oct. 1 to 6.

The festival is organized by the architectural civic association Kruh (Circle), which was founded in 2001 by a group of architecture students at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Its focus is on an ongoing cycle of lectures on architecture held by leading Czech and foreign architects and architecture critics, as well as organizing excursions and film festivals. Architecture Day was founded in 2011 and since then every edition attracts thousands of visitors.

For more information and a complete program, visit www.denarchitektury.cz

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