Výstaviště renovation starting

The fair grounds will first be getting a new entry way

City Hall wants to begin the renewal of Výstaviště Praha in Prague's Holešovice district. The area, founded in 1891 for an international exhibition, has fallen into disrepair. The first step is an architectural competition to rebuild the entry gate and “restore dignity” to the area.

The architectural competition calls for renewing two entry areas including fences and box offices, green spaces, places to display advertising, connections to walking paths, furniture such as benches, and lighting. Architects can submit their designs until March 27, and the plans should be both functional and artistically appropriate to the area.

The winner should be announced in the spring and the plan could be implemented in 2018, according to the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR), which is sponsoring the contest along with Rozvojové projekty Praha, the owner of the fair grounds.

Part of the existing main entry gate was taken down in 2014 because it was in danger of collapsing. The original entry gate was made of wood and stood in place until 1948. Some preservationists and historians would like to see the original gate rebuilt, as the plans exist. They say the modern replacements so far have not suited the character of the exhibition ground.

But whether or not the new gate will look like the original one will be determined by the outcome of the architectural contest.

“Výstaviště is a very important area for Prague and I am glad that we are finally managing to develop it. In addition to the entry gate competition this year we will renovate the Lapidarium and restaurant Bohemia, where there is a new grill, and we would like to work on the aquatic habitat. I believe that, thanks to this, Výstaviště will be a place where people will be happy to go, and that it will finally fulfill its potential,” Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) said, according to the IPR website.

IPR director Ondřej Boháč said it is important to start the renewal with the entry gate as that is what people see first. The competition will have one round, and entries are anonymous.

The jury includes architects Miroslav Cikán and Markéta Cajthamlová, Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová, sponsoring company representative Pavel Klaška and Prague 7 representative Lenka Burgerová. The winner will receive Kč 120,000, while second place is Kč 70,000 and third gets Kč 40,000.

Since 2015, the complex has been owned by Rozvojové projekty Praha (RPRG), a joint-stock company owned by the city. The intention is to use the company to gradually restore Výstaviště. The first step was to create an overall plan, dividing the area into zones for sports, relaxation and open-air events. The Křižík Fountain, a light and water show that was part of the original complex, and a round theater called divadlo Spirála should also be renovated.

In addition, the left wing of the complex's main building, the Industrial Palace, was destroyed by an accidental fire in 2008 and has yet to be rebuilt. A second architectural competition, which will be announced in the spring, will be for temporary roofing for the left wing.

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