About the organization
We founded Open House Praha, z. ú., a non-profit organization, in 2014 because we were excited about the idea of opening buildings that are usually inaccessible. We are a group of enthusiasts who love their city, and we want to make other people interested in the place where they live, too. We think that the quality of our life depends, among other things, on the quality of the architecture and the public space around us. We open the city for everyone, and we want people to explore the city’s architecture and public space in a wider urbanistic, historical, and cultural context. Architecture is a part of our everyday life, and thanks to Open House Prague, you can explore it in an unconventional way!
What do we do?
- We organize a weekend-long festival with tens of open, usually inaccessible buildings and other events for the public throughout the year.
- We liven up and open the city.
- We make it possible for the general public to have a direct experience with architecture, design, and art, and we popularize architecture in all its forms.
- We provide educational materials for children and we organize workshops for them.
- We foster a volunteering culture to an extent that has no parallel in the Czech environment.
- We offer hundreds of volunteers to spend their festival weekend actively and meaningfully.
- We develop and take care of the volunteer community even throughout the entire year.
- We connect people from different generations, educational backgrounds, and professions in our volunteer program.
- We involve elderly citizens and citizens who are disadvantaged in terms of their health in an active participation in the organization of the festival.
- We prepare special tours for hearing impaired and visually impaired people.
- We contribute to change by educating the lay public, which can then become an informed client or an equal partner of architects and urban planners.
- We support an active participation of the public in the public space.
- We connect architects and specialists with the general public.
About the festival
We discovered Open House in London in 2013, and we started discussing the conditions of organizing the festival in Prague. By obtaining a trademark license, we made a commitment to stick to the license standards, and we joined the international network of Open House Worldwide in 2014. Since the beginning, the festival in Prague has been patronized by Eva Jiřičná, an architect of Czech origin who was at the start of Open House in London and was involved in it for nearly twenty years as a member of the administrative board as well as a volunteer in buildings.
Open House Prague took place for the first time in 2015. The festival is traditionally held under the patronage of the city mayor, the director of the Prague Institute of Planning and Development, the director of the National Heritage Institute, and the mayors and councilors of those municipal districts where the festival takes place. Thanks to the effort of a small organizing team as well as hundreds of volunteers, Open House Prague is now one of Prague’s important cultural events that is visited not only by the people of Prague but also by people from all around the Czech Republic and from abroad.
Open House Prague is part of an international network
The concept of the festival was born in London in 1992, and the idea of opening borders between buildings and passersby has since spread to more than 45 cities on five continents. Originally, it was a community project that was supposed to strengthen the dialogue between the public and architects, the city, and its public premises. Each year the festival in London attracts up to 350 thousand visitors and opens around 800 buildings. We are proud to be part of the Open House Worldwide international network, through which we can promote Prague all over the world as an open, cultural city.
“The festival opens eyes, mind, and doors, so that we can help the citizens of the city start their perception of their surroundings in terms of design and architecture. My goal was to create a festival that would be for everyone and be accessible for free because the city belongs to all of us, and we should get involved in it and become a part of it,” says Victoria Thornton, founder of Open House London. Architecture has always been a part of her life. She was born into a family of architects, but she herself studied art management. In the beginning of her career, she worked as an independent producer and advisor of architects in different ateliers. She founded the Open House London non-profit initiative in 1992 and inspired the foundation of an international network. Victoria holds the Order of the British Empire for her contribution and service in architecture and education.