Transgas building facing demolition

The owners are likely to tear the building down in August

Days are numbered for the Transgas building on Vinohradská Street in Prague 2, just behind the National Museum. The new owner has applied for a demolition permit, and the complex of three connected buildings and a fountain could come down as early as the middle of August.

The public has 20 days to file objections, but previous efforts to get the building declared a landmark has been unsuccessful. After the 20-day period, it is likely the permit will be granted and demolition can take place.

The building was constructed between 1972 and '78 in the Brutalist style as a control center for the Transgas pipeline. Part of the complex served as the Federal Ministry of Fuel and Energy. Its architects include Václav Aulický, who also was involved in the design of the Žižkov TV Tower.

The exterior of the building is decorated with cylindrical metal rails meant to evoke the idea of pipelines. The courtyard has a large fountain, which has not been functioning for some time. Two of the buildings are towers, and the third is a round structure topped with a concrete square.

Preservationists such as the Klub za starou Prahu argue that the building is a unique example of postmodern architecture of the 1970s.

The Prague office of the National Heritage Institute (NPÚ), however, previously said that the complex does not fit into its surroundings and damages the urban environment. The Ministry of Culture has not granted it protection as cultural heritage.

Some 160 supporters of the building held a protest in December 2017. Co-architect Václav Aulický was among the speakers and said that there is a pattern of not granting protection to buildings from the 1960s, '70s and '80s so that a whole era of architecture can be eliminated from the city. The buildings interior designer, Jan Fišer, pointed out that it was hard to fight against wealthy investors when it comes to saving heritage., especially when public institutions don't give any support.

Developer HB Reavis intends to build seven mixed-use buildings that could be finished as early as 20121. The new buildings are designed by the studio Jakub Cigler Architekti, which also came up with the concept for current renovation of Wenceslas Square.

HB Reavis got possession of the location in 2014 from energy company ČEZ. Representatives of the developer have said in the past that the seven new buildings will revitalize the neighborhood. The new complex should include public space with greenery, restaurants, public terraces and barrier-free passage through the area.

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