Průmyslový palác reconstruction takes a step forward

A tender for plans to rebuild the destroyed wing should occur this year

One wing of the Industrial Palace (Průmyslový palác) at Výstaviště in Prague's Holešovice district was destroyed in a fire in 2008 and has yet to be rebuilt. The city, which owns the complex, is now looking at two options. One is to create a replica of the landmark historical structure. The other is to build something completely new.

The winner will be chosen in an architectural competition that should take place this year, according to City Councilor Karel Grabein Procházka, as quoted by new server Euro.cz. A replica would cost around Kč 1.5 billion, according to previous estimates.

The city will evaluate the cost and the utilization of the space. The left wing needs to be a flexible and multifunctional space. The city has already considered building a temporary structure, but preservationists oppose this. A replica would be ready by 2024, while a temporary structure could be ready in a year and half, Procházka said previously.

Opponents fear that the temporary structure might become permanent in practice, as once it is built there will be little incentive to replace it. The temporary structure is being considered because the tent that currently covers the space of the left wing is in poor condition. The two-story temporary hall osting some Kc 300 million to build was proposed in February 2016.

Procházka also told Euro.cz that the city is looking at possible new functions for the building, as the city does not need another convention center. It is important that the city comes up with and implements a conceptual plan for land use before the revitalization of the space starts, he added.

The fire at the Industrial Palace (Průmyslový palác) occurred around 7 pm Oct. 16, 2008, during a dental trade fair. Hundreds of firefighters were called to the scene and it took hours to get the blaze under control. The entire left wing was destroyed. The cause of the fire seems to have been volatile chemical vapor from one of the exhibits having come into contact with a heating plate with a coffee pot that was left on. The chemicals in the air exploded when they came into contact with the heat.

The Industrial Palace (Průmyslový palác) was built in 1891 in the Late Historicism style for the General Land Centennial Exhibition. The architect was by Bedřich Münzberger. Its dominant feature is a 51 meter tall clock tower in the central section. The exhibition was inspired by the Paris World's Fair of 1889. During the communist era, party congresses were held at the Industrial Palace.

Prague is currently in the process of rebuilding other parts of Výstaviště as well. The entry gate will be redesigned and rebuilt. The grounds will be upgraded to include a grilling area and exercise areas, and several buildings such as the Lapidarium and Marold Panorama will be renovated. The last large renovation of the area in 1991.

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