Eva Jiřičná to receive lifetime achievement award from Czech Chamber of Architects

The Czech Chamber of Architects’ 2021 award for lifetime achievement will go to Eva Jiřičná, perhaps the best-known living Czech architect and designer. A native of Zlín, Jiřičná has lived and worked in London for more than fifty years and is famous for her distinctly modern style as well as her great attention to detail.

Eva Jiřičná was born in March 1939 in the Moravian town of Zlín, but spent most of her life in Great Britain, where she emigrated after the 1968 Russian-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Eva Jiřičná | Photo: Barbora Linková,  Czech Radio

She established her own studio in London, which soon become famous for its sleek, luxury fashion boutiques and subtle staircases designed from glass and steel, but in recent years, she has also designed a number of acclaimed buildings in her native country.

Throughout her long and fruitful career, she has received many awards, including the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and she was also appointed a member of the British Royal Academy.

Zlín University Centre | Photo: AI DESIGN

At a ceremony in Prague’s Wallenstein Garden on Thursday evening, Jiřičná will receive a prize for lifetime achievement from the Czech Chamber of Architects awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to the modern history of Czech architecture through their work and moral credit.

According to the head of the chamber, Jan Kasl, it is an honour which is long overdue:

“She is an excellent, international, world-famous architect with great results in architecture and design all around the world, mainly in Europe, the United Kingdom and in the Czech Republic.”

Orangerie at Prague Castle by Eva Jiřičná | Photo: Oleg Fetisov,  Radio Prague International

“I would say she does not differentiate between small design, including shops, boutiques or stairs, and the design of high-rise buildings that she will hopefully design in Prague within in a couple of years.

“She has contributed through her precise design and execution of glass, metal and concrete, as well as a perfect finish. She contributed with the simplicity of her architecture, for example for the Zlín cultural centre. She is also great in residential projects and interior designs. She contributed so much that it is it difficult to express in one sentence.”

Hotel Josef | Photo: AI DESIGN

Which of her works are your personal favourites and why?

“I would say that the Orangery within the Prague Castle area is an example of a really perfect glass and steel design. I also like her Josef Hotel in Prague. I like her British realisations, such as the Jubilee Line extension or the intervention in the Victoria and Albert Museums, just to mention a few.

“But I must say I like every detail she did. I like her stairs, I like her interior designs, because of the perfect detail. She is never satisfied with the result. She is always pushing hard to reach the best possible solution.”

And would you say she has made an impact on the younger generation of Czech architects?

“Definitely. She cooperates with young Czech architects in her Czech studio. She likes to work with colleagues who are several generations younger. Some young architects may be looking up to other icons or exploring other ways of design, such as wood constructions. But for many Czech architects she is definitely a symbol of a perfect designer, a hard-working architect delivering perfect buildings.”