The freedom acquired after 1989 has been demonstrated in architecture as well. The western world of ideas that were difficult to access suddenly opens up; the Czech Republic witnesses the onset of democratic ideals, but also market principles and the authority of international economies.
After decades of central planning, the society follows the opposite direction – towards deregulation and the free market. The nationalized entities are privatized, the structure of businesses transforms from production to services. The cities become covered by houses and malls. The long period when everything belonged to everybody and nobody at the same time distorted our relationship to personal and common property. We inherited neglected physical and mental public spaces. The Czech Republic started to learn how to create strategic visions and appropriate regulations for the versatile and fine environment instead of using individual and ill-conceived decisions with primarily financial motivations. Thus, we can oftentimes find the illustrations of good architecture with private enlightened investors. There have been more positive examples from towns and municipalities which cooperate with architects and implement the outcomes of public tenders.
We have been trying to deal with our relationship to the building production of the second half of the 20th century. For many people, houses with prevailing brutalist aesthetics are the reminders of the communist regime. Thanks to individual initiatives, this attitude began to change slowly, and some objects get well-deserved care and protection. The housing estates are vast heritage full of contradiction. Even though they provided rather comfortable flats, they often missed the infrastructure. Living at the housing estates has seen the renaissance due to the present state of the real estate market. The formerly available wider centers have undergone gentrification, the prices of flats in Prague have doubled in the past five years, and the offer is unable to meet the demand.
Presentation of architecture
The National Gallery Prague has an architecture collection focused on development in the 19th and 20th centuries that is occasionally presented at exhibitions. The collections of the National Technical Museum cover the same period and are part of the permanent exhibition. Most regional museums administer a similar range. Contemporary architecture is administered by smaller galleries. The traditional space is Jaroslav Fragner Gallery, which does not only organize exhibitions, but also Landscape Festival. The younger gallery VI PER in Prague raises current topics and progressive figures of architectonic theory at exhibitions and lectures. The norm-a space platform is based on the ideological background of practicing architects and deals with issues based on experience. C.A.M.P. has a special position as it belongs to the Prague Institute of Planning and Development. C.A.M.P aims to be a basic source of information on planning and development in Prague and organizes activities addressed to the general public.
Brno has the established entity of the progressive association 4AM/Forum for Architecture and Media that administered the local Galley of Architecture and the PRAGUE cultural space. The Brno House of Arts organizes architecture-related lectures and discussions. The association and gallery Hraničář in Ústí and Labem, whose architectonic programme often carries a social drive. The House of Art České Budějovice lies at the intersection of free arts and architecture, including occasional expansions into public space.
The Kruh association does not have its own spaces but is an important actor in architecture. It has been two decades since it started to present principles and realizations of contemporary fine architecture, publish almanacs and publications, organize lectures, and Architecture Day and Film and Architecture festivals. The urban environment also plays the main role for the festival of contemporary art 4+4 Days in Motion, which is located in abandoned or inaccessible houses every year.
Periodicals and publication
The journal about architecture popular among readers is Era21. It conducts its research and topic-oriented issues to deal with current architectonic issues. The new journal Intro always thematizes one type of building material, which covers the whole issue. The Czech Chamber of Architects as an official professional organization publishes Bulletin four times a year, in which it summarizes activities in the professional institution, but it also gives an opinion on essential topics resonating among professional architects. The CCA publishes Czech Architecture Yearbook.
The biggest publishing house for architectonic publications is Zlatý řez – it publishes theoretical and historical texts and reading books, monographs, and guidebooks for professionals. The Mox Nox publishing house focuses on translations of essential writings. The Archa publishing house has an architectonic section as well. Many smaller publishing houses, such as Labyrint, the art publishing house Arbor Vitae and others publish architecture-oriented writings occasionally.
Websites, showcases, and education
The popular source of information is the archiweb website that publishes new Czech and international realizations and is also an arranged database of architects and studios in the Czech Republic. The newer Czechdesign platform deals with the design, but it also publishes illustrations of interesting interiors or small realizations. The shows PLUS/MINUS or Překvapivé stavby rank among the popular programmes hosted by Adam Gebrian, the architecture promoter.
CCA organizes the annual showcase Czech Architecture Award. The Society of Czech Architects association organizes the Architecture Grand Prix. The Czech Republic also acknowledges the most important Slovak CE.ZA.AR award.
It is possible to study architecture in Prague at Czech Technical University, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, and Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. It is also possible to study at the private school Archip. Technical University in Liberec offers lectures at the Faculty of Arts and Architecture. Moravia hosts Brno University of Technology and Technical University of Ostrava.