Golden Egg project moves forward

The City Council approved a land change to allow a new city gallery

The Prague City Council has agreed to change the land next to Štefánikův most (Štefánik Bridge) near the Ministry of Industry and Trade at the end of Revoluční Street into a building lot. The city wants to make a large modern structure there called the Golden Egg, which has been proposed as a place to house Alfons Mucha's Slav Epic.

City Hall, however, now plans to put the Slav Epic at another new gallery. The Prague 1 district intends to build the Golden Egg anyway.

“The alternative design by Prague 1 for the location of the Slav Epic will probably not be realized, yet today, the six-member council has decided to further develop the initiative to allow transformation of the green area,” Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Greens) said, according to news station ČT24.

The Municipal Commission for Territorial Development had recommended rejecting a change in the land use plan, but the City Council has now decided otherwise.

Prague City Hall presented the concept for the Golden Egg in January, and its original intention was to house the 20 painting Slav Epic. The descendents of Alfons Mucha claim that the city has a long-standing obligation to create a suitable gallery to display the paintings, as that was a condition of the city taking ownership of them in 1928. The City Council now favors putting the Slav Epic near the Florenc metro stop in a new gallery building at Těšnov, where a rail station used to stand.

Prague 1 spokeswoman Veronika Blažková previously said that the lack of the Slav Epic is not a deal breaker. “We want the space for a gallery and other cultural activities, and it does not matter if the Slavic Epic is there,” she said.

Prague 1 Mayor Oldřich Lomecký (TOP 09) agreed. “We are ready to invest in the project ourselves. If the capital decides that the Slav Epic will be elsewhere, we still intend to construct the building and put something else in it,” Lomecký told the media back in January. He added that he would like to see a wider pubic debate on where the paintings go.

The gold gallery is designed by architect Petr Malinský. It resembles a flattened gold ball raised up on three legs. The oval shape, which is the main part, would be covered by glass plates that are coated on the inside. The top of the building will have gold-colored spikes symbolizing sun rays. Malinský says the building will be like the sun rising above the Vltava river.

The inspiration for the building comes from Slavic mythology. A golden egg is supposed to have the source of everything that arose out of the darkness.

This is not the first modern-design museum suggested for the area at the end of Revoluční Street. A Salvador Dalí museum designed by famed architect Daniel Libeskind was proposed in 2004 and was to be funded privately. The design was heavily criticized for being too modern for the area, and it was never built.

An office building with shops called Novomlýnská brána by architectural studio DaM was proposed for the same general area in 2012, and also not realized.

Prague residents have been reluctant to embrace modern buildings. A library by architect Jan Kaplický that was proposed in 2006 for Letná was rejected after its was criticized by the public and politicians. The architect's widow, Eliška Kaplický Fuchsová is still hopeful it will be built and has recently been trying to revive interest in it. The public dubbed that structure “the Blob.”

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