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House of Culture Ostrava

Ostrava, Czechia
1 of 6

The most famous project of the era resulting from a competition was the House of Culture in Ostrava by Jaroslav Fragner, a celebrated interwar modernist and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.

The competition The Ministry of Education and the Council of Trade Union sponsored the limited competition in 1954, and it originally included two separate buildings. One for the House of Culture and the other for the a House of Pioneers for the Communist youth movement. Three teams compete, each based at a university - Fragner at the Academy of Fie Art, Antonin Cerny from the Technical University in Prague, Bohuslav Fuchs and Miroslav Kopriva from the Brno University of Technology.

The new complex

The new complex was purposefully sited halfway between the historic center of Ostrava and the proposed new development in Nova Ostrav, but only the House of Culture was completed. Fragner's austere building, clad in travertine and ceramic tile, had oversized square columns topped with figural sculptures at the main entrance and a sprawling plan that connected movie and puppet theaters on the building's west side to a large auditorium on the east side. Multiple revisions of the facade design occurred in the years that followed as the slow pace of construction pushed the completion date back and the original proposal was no longer as desirable. Martin Strakos has described the stale of the final project, not completed until 1961, as 'intense modern classicism' rather than Sorela. Due to its size and position on a primary transportation route from the city center to industrial neighborhoods on the city's west side, the building remains an imposing presence in Ostrava even today.

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mariathuroczy, April 18th, 2014
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