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Church of the Most Sacred Heart

Praha, Czechia
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Another important example of Plecnik's work in Prague is the monumental church of the Sacred Heart in the district of Vinohrady (1928-1932). The church's exterior is composed of three parts: the nave, the tower and a small rectory. Vertically the complex is divided into a dark part covered with ceramic tiles, giving the facade plasticity, dynamism and rhythm with protruding concrete blocks, and a bright clerestory at the top, covered with a gentle gable roof. Critics labelled the facade an "ermine cloak". The tower is of the same width as the nave, its massiveness alleviated with a huge round window doubling as a clock. Unlike the dramatic exterior, the interior is very peaceful, almost industrially stern, decorated only with pilasters. Its only accent is the altar composition featuring freely placed statues on the altar wall. A simple crypt is located under the high altar. Because of its simple arched ceiling with clerestory, the interior most resembles an aircraft hangar. Nevertheless, Plecnik created a sacred atmosphere with a simple decorative arch on the altar wall and the stone altar table. When Plecnik received the commission, he confided a thought to his brother, revealing his fundamental ethical approach to church construction: "Generally speaking, I am not interested in building a new church in Prague; I am interested in the pastoral..."

Text by Peter Krecic