Kaplický building may come to Štvanice

A city concert hall might use a design rejected by České Budějovice

Prague may have a new concert hall on Štvanice island in the Vltava river based on a design by Czech-born architect Jan Kaplický, who died in 2009. Construction of the Stingray (Rejnok) would cost between Kč 1.5 billion to Kč 2 billion and would take until 2022, according to City Councilor Jan Wolf (KDU-ČSL/Trojkoalice). The venue was originally designed for České Budějovice in 2008, but plans to build it were abandoned in 2014. The dark-colored triangular venue would cover 1.5 hectares of land and have two halls inside, with one seating 1,000 people and the other 400.

Wolf said that the city needs another cultural venue and has funds set aside for culture. “Given that the Stingray wasn't built in České Budějovice, I would love to have it in Prague,” Wolf said. Few public buildings have been built in the last 25 years aside from the National Technical Library, which opened in 2009 in Prague 6.

Wolf claims the city has long needed a modern concert hall, and that it could also benefit from a building by a significant modern architect. There is vacant land on Štvanice due to the demolition of a stadium by the previous city administration, and the city owns the land. The Štvanice stadium had fallen into disrepair and was in danger of collapse. It was torn down in 2011.

The location for a city-owned concert hall is uncertain though, as the island is in a flood zone. Another possible location would be at the Vltavska metro stop. If it is built at Štvanice, it could be on pillars with a parking garage on the lower levels, to avoid flood damage. Wolf says it is realistic to estimate that constriction could begin in 2018 and last until 2022.

A previous proposal to build a structure in Prague designed by Jan Kaplický's firm Future Systems was met with widespread disapproval. His proposal for a National Library at Letná won an architectural competition in 2007 but was never built. Both the then-mayor of Prague, Pavel Bém, and the then-president, Václav Klaus, opposed it. The public referred to the design as the Blob or the Octopus, and said its modern look was unsuitable for Prague. The project was canceled in 2008 and so far no new library has been built. A bus stop in the shape of the Blob was eventually built in Brno.

Buildings by Future Systems that have been realized include the Media Centre at Lord's Cricket Ground in London, completed in 1999; the Selfridges Building in Birmingham, England, completed in 2003; and Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari in Milan, Italy, completed in 2012.

Jan Kaplický JKOK exhibition (Dancing House Prague) running till March 12, 2017 - Prague.TV 04.11.2016 

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