Tips for Open Buildings to Visit at 8th Open House Prague Festival 2022

22. 4. 2022

Do you need help deciding which buildings to visit during the Open House Prague Festival 2022 on May 21–22, or are you just looking for inspiration? Below is a list of selected buildings and premises across different architecture styles. You can visit not only historic but also modern and recently designed buildings and spaces in the very center of Prague. Admission to all buildings is free with no need of prior registration, except for the Thun Palace. English guided tours also take place in selected buildings – availability is indicated in the description of each building.

Representative Palaces & Villas

City Mayor’s Residency

The plain Neoclassical façade of the Municipal Library of Prague hides exceptional interiors influenced by late Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and many significant Czech artists contributed to the decoration. The first floor features representative reception rooms, and you can also see the winter garden.

photo: Tomáš Sysel
photo: Eva Mořická

Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic

An indispensable part of Prague’s skyline, the building from 1934 was designed by Josef Fanta, the architect of the historical building of Prague Main Railway Station. A major attraction is the glass dome which dominates the palace, whose façades are complemented by a rich sculptural decoration symbolizing Industry, Trade, Crafts and Navigation, and no less architecturally significant spaces furnished with marble and stucco ceiling decoration can be found inside the building, too.

Thun Palace – embassy and residence of the ambassador of the United Kingdom

The Thun Palace at Malá Strana (Lesser Town) has been the property of the British Government since 1925. This originally Baroque palace on the hillside under Prague Castle was given a Classical appearance by Ignac Palliardi at the end of the 18th century. Visitors to the festival can explore representative interiors full of artistic works as well as beautiful gardens and will also learn about the eminent figures that have resided here in the past. Admission to this building is only available to visitors with prior registration.

photo: building’s archive
photo: building’s archive

Villa Lanna

Located in the district of Bubeneč, this opulent villa was built as a summer residence of businessman, art collector and benefactor Vojtěch Lanna Jr. The authors of this Neo-Renaissance gem are architects Antonín Viktor Barvitius & Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann, the latter being born exactly 200 years ago. The villa shows clear signs of inspiration by the Italian Renaissance; both the interior and exterior are richly decorated with scenes from ancient mythology and there is a beautiful garden with a gazebo, too.

Sacral Spaces

Church of St. Anne – Prague Crossroads

This formerly Gothic church houses an international spiritual center created by the former Czech president Václav Havel. It is a venue used for lectures, discussions, concerts, exhibitions, etc. You can visit the nave and the organ loft and see a unique piece of the only Gothic roof truss in Prague that has been preserved.

photo: Tomáš Sysel
photo: Tomáš Sysel

Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord

This Roman Catholic church in Prague’s Vinohrady district was designed by the renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik. This year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the architect´s birth. Ranking among national cultural monuments, the church is considered one of the most significant religious constructions of the 20th century.

Theaters

DISK Theater

Disk Theater was designed by Karel Hubáček, the author of the iconic Ještěd Tower near the city of Liberec. Hubáček came up with the theater’s unusual space with a submarine-shaped roof and had it built right inside the faculty’s courtyard. Gothic underground and otherwise inaccessible cellars are parts of the building our visitors can explore.

photo: Tomáš Sysel
photo: Tomáš Sysel

Na Zábradlí Theater

The theater, located on Anenské Square, underwent a major renovation a few years ago, and now there’s a spacious foyer with a gallery, which was created after a glass roof was erected above the inner courtyard. This unique yet thoughtful concept has enhanced the theater’s genius loci. The theater is associated with famous names, such as Jiří Suchý, Václav Havel and Jiří Menzel.

This Year’s Highlights & Anniversaries

EA Hotel Juliš

Located on Wenceslas Square, this high-rise functionalist building with a reinforced concrete structure built in 1932 for the confectioner Karel Juliš, operated as a hotel with a café, a cake shop, and a movie theater. With its huge glass-walled façade and upper floors decorated with ledges made of milk glass, the modern steel framed building belongs to the biggest projects of architect Pavel Janák, whose 140th birthday we are commemorating this year. Aside from visiting selected interiors, you can also explore the terrace and see the city from above.

photo: Tomáš Sysel

photo: Roman Mlejnek

Former Electrical Enterprises – Bubenská 1

At the time of its completion in 1935, this vast functionalist palace, located in the Holešovice district, was the largest administrative building in Prague. Also, it was one of the first buildings in Czechoslovakia to have air-conditioning installed. The 2020 reconstruction designed by TaK Architects has been named one of the biggest and most technically demanding renovations in the Czech Republic, having received a special jury award at the 2021 Estate Awards and titled the 2021 Building of the Year.

Sokol Gymnasium in Nové Město

The Prague Gymnastics Union, later known as Sokol Pražský (Prague Sokol) was established 160 years ago. Constructed on the site of demolished city walls, this building was the very first Sokol gymnasium. The Neo-Renaissance building erected by Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann in 1863 was used for sports as well as social events. The main hall with a painted coffered ceiling and a gallery was named after one of the founders of the Sokol movement, Jindřich Fügner. 

photo: Tomáš Sysel
photo: Peter Fabo

UMPRUM Technology Center Mikulandská

This new center is situated in a historical Neo-Renaissance building, restored in 2021. Strategically located in the city center, this building is rightfully considered the most modern and technologically best equipped building of its kind in the country. It also contains multifunctional areas, such as an impressive glassed-in courtyard. The terrace offers a beautiful view of Prague perfectly capturing the idea of openness which was assigned to the project. The festival open lego workroom will be open here during the festival weekend – both children and adults keen on constructing can build the house of their dreams here from the flood of cubes.

Hidden Gems of the Old Town

Ericsson Palace

The palace’s current name originates from the 19th century when it housed a Swedish company called Ericsson. The history of this house dates back to the Middle Ages and it is linked to the name of the famous Czech Gothic builder Matěj Rejsek, who built the ribbed arched hall inspired by the St. Vitus Chapel at Prague Castle. The tour also includes a visit to the vast Gothic cellars with preserved stone vaults featuring traces of almost all historical periods. 

photo: Tomáš Sysel
photo: Vojtěch Florian

Institute of Philosophy, Institute of Sociology, Institute of Art History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

A large complex of buildings with a spacious courtyard gives evidence of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist style. Apart from an elaborately decorated Renaissance portal or the oldest preserved corner verge post in Prague, there is a sculpture of the Hanged Man, supposedly representing Sigmund Freud contemplating the possibilities of decision-making.

Štenc House

The building of the premium Opero coworking space dates back to 1911 and was designed for Czech publisher and printworks owner Jan Štenc. It housed the publisher’s flat, a study and photo studio, as well as the graphic factory and representative rooms. The author was a young architect Otakar Novotný (a student of the renowned architect Jan Kotěra) who boldly designed the house in the style of Geometric Art Nouveau.

photo: Peter Fabo

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