Demolish permit now final for Transgas building

The efforts to preserve the unique structure have been unsuccessful

There are no more obstructions to tearing down the Transgas building on Vinohradská Street, just behind the National Museum. A valid demolition permit has been issued, and deadlines to overturn it have passed.

No one has filed an appeal against the previously issued demolition decision, Prague 2 spokeswoman Lenka Prokopová said. The building previously failed to get landmark protection, despite protests from some preservationists and the original architects.

Property owner HB Reavis wants to build seven new buildings on site, to create a mixed-use complex.

“There has been no appeal against the removal of the former Transgas complex filed at the Department of Construction of the Prague 2 District, so today the builder has picked up the verified project documentation and certified legal powers dated Jan. 29, 2019,” Prokopová said on Jan. 31.

The Building Authority issued a decision to allow demolition Jan. 9. Since the last party to the proceedings took action Jan. 14, the 15-day time limit for lodging an appeal has passed. It expired on January 29, but the office waited a few more days in case of delayed delivery.

The building was constructed between 1972 and '78 in a variation of 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 concrete 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 did not grant it protection as cultural heritage.

Co-architect Václav Aulický in December 2017 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, said 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 2021. 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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