Open House Prague 2021
Once again, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Open House Prague took place on a different date, this time on August 2–8, 2021. The accompanying program on the weekdays featured a number of events which disclosed architecture to visitors in an unconventional way. People could take a cruise on the Vltava steamship, take the Kotěra tram and listen to a commentary provided by architect Zdeněk Lukeš, enjoy a contemporary dance performance combined with a night tour at the Laichter House, or attend a debate and a film projection on the topic of abandoned buildings at the stands of the Great Strahov Stadium. There was also a tour and a discussion regarding the reconstruction of the Zenger Transformer Station, the future location of Kunsthalle Prague. During the week, there were other guided tours and walks, for example on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the foundation of Prague Exhibition Grounds, the 150th anniversary of the Gröb Villa, or the 150th anniversary of the first train arriving in Prague.
Open House Prague 2021 saw more than 53,000 visits of the open buildings and the accompanying programs in total. Compared to last year when the festival took place on a different date as well, we are once again seeing an increased number of visitors as in the years before the pandemic. The 2021 festival was visited by one half more people than in 2020.
The main program included 79 buildings and spaces that are not usually accessible. These included 26 newly participating buildings, and on Saturday morning, there were queues at a number of them. The most visited building were the Vršovice Waterworks in Michle. Those who were brave enough could climb up to the 42-meter high tower, or climb down into the underground water tank and learn more about this cultural monument designed by architect Jan Kotěra whose reconstruction is just being finished. The waterworks were opened on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Kotěra’s birth.
Another place that was popular among visitors was the Garden of Arts, which also served as the venue for the opening reception attended by a number of our partners. Other frequently visited buildings included ARA Palace, Laichter House, Hotel International Prague, Šaloun Villa, gardens at the Czernin Palace, Štvanice Power Station, or Kunsthalle Prague. Visitors could see three different water towers, several underground shelters, two châteux, a former spa, sports premises, an observatory, a mill, or several hotels. Artistic spaces and ateliers were a separate theme route.
A festival for everybody
With the motto of this year’s festival being Architecture for everybody, selected tours were interpreted into the Czech sign language; people with visual disabilities could use tactile plans and ground plans of the buildings as well as 3D models which they could explore by touch during special guided tours. There was a rich program for families with children, too – a lego workroom, interactive guided tours with worksheets for little architects, an opportunity to take a ride on the Třebešín Velodrome, and a theater performance.
The festival is a community project that would never be able to happen without an active participation of the owners and the people from the buildings nor without a large number volunteers. Although the festival took place during summer holidays, nearly 350 volunteers helped us with organization. Many of them have been with us since the very beginning because this work makes sense to them and inspires them in their professional as well as personal lives. Open House Prague is the only event in the Czech Republic that is capable of connecting such a large number of people at once. The volunteers are people of different ages and professions, and thanks to Open House Prague, they can meet throughout the year as well thanks to various tours that we prepare for them.
Aside from the accompanying program during the festival week, visitors could attend more accompanying events on the weekend which were prepared directly by our partners from the participating buildings – special guided tours with architects, exhibitions, presentations, lectures, and other surprises.
Open House Prague is part of an international network
The concept of Open House was born in London in 1992 and founded by Victoria Thornton, who holds the Order of the British Empire for her services to architecture. Thanks to the festival’s success, it has expanded to 50 cities over the world. The festival was originally a community project which was supposed to strengthen the dialogue between the public and architects, the city, and its public spaces. Open House Prague is a proud member of the Open House Worldwide network, which was officially founded in 2010 and is administered by Open City, a charity registered in the UK.
Open House Prague 2021 in numbers
events in the accompanying program
Open House Prague 2021 was held under the auspices of the following people: Lubomír Zaorálek – culture minister; Nick Archer – ambassador of the United Kingdom; Zdeněk Hřib – mayor of Prague; Petr Hlaváček – deputy mayor of Prague; Hana Třeštíková – councilor for culture, protected buildings care, exhibitions, and tourist industry; Jan Chabr – councilor for property managament; Naděžda Goryczková – CEO of the National Heritage Institute; Petr Hejma – mayor of the Prague 1 Municipal District; Jana Černochová – mayor of the Prague 2 Municipal District; Jiří Ptáček – mayor of the Prague 3 Municipal District; Irena Michalcová – mayor of the Prague 4 Municipal District; Michal Hroza – deputy mayor of the Prague 4 Municipal District; Renáta Zajíčková – mayor of the Prague 5 Municipal District; Ondřej Kolář – mayor of the Prague 6 Municipal District; Jan Čižinský – mayor of the Prague 7 Municipal District; Ondřej Gros – mayor of the Prague 8 Municipal District; Tomáš Portlík – mayor of the Prague 9 Municipal District; Renáta Chmelová – mayor of the Prague 10 Municipal District; Miloš Růžička – mayor of the Prague-Ďáblice Municipal District; Tomáš Bryknar – mayor of the Prague-Troja Municipal District.
Hlavní město Praha, Ministerstvo kultury ČR, Ministerstvo vnitra ČR, Státní fond kultury, Architekti Headhand, Nadace české architektury, Městská část Praha 1, Městská část Praha 2, Městská část Praha 4, Městská část Praha 5, Městská část Praha 6, Městská část Praha 7, Městská část Praha 10
Mapy.cz, Bageterie Boulevard, pizza360, ekolo.cz, Rekola, Czech Repubrick, EMPYREUM Information Technologies, anygence, Institut dokumentárního filmu, AI DESIGN, Česká rada pro šetrné budovy, Hestia – centrum pro dobrovolnictví, Centrum architektury a městského plánování (CAMP), Umělecká zahrada, Pražská paroplavební společnost, Prague Pride
Partners of programs for people with disabilities
Ústav jazyků a komunikace neslyšících FF UK, Transkript, Česká unie neslyšících, Nadační fond Českého rozhlasu Světluška, Středisko Teiresiás, Technická univerzita v Liberci – Fakulta umění a architektury, Radost