Guided tours highlight interesting architecture around Czech Republic and Slovakia

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The 10th annual Architecture Day gets underway in the Czech Republic and Slovakia on Thursday, with more than 100 towns and cities taking part this year. Despite its name, the event will run for seven days, offering free guided tours of significant historical landmarks and contemporary buildings, as well as lectures, family workshops and artistic installations.

Nearly 300 events, including guided tours around old factories, hospital compounds, former working class neighbourhoods or the urban wilderness, are on the program of the upcoming Architecture Day.

The festival was established in 2010 as a one-day event to mark the International Day of Architecture, but it gradually expanded, explains its director and founder Marcela Steinbachová:

“We originally planned just a one day event, called Day of Architecture, but the first edition stretched into a weekend and then gradually it grew into a week. The towns have also become more involved, with city and town architects taking charge of the guided tours.

“What has also changed is the way people perceive architecture. It has become more of a community event attended by people who really live in the region and who are interested in what happens in their neighbourhood."

Photo: archive of Architecture Day

The main themes of this year’s Architecture Day are social and environmental issues. Many of the guided tours will take place in socially excluded localities but also around various public buildings, such as hospitals, explains Mrs Steinbachová:

"On Saturday we are going to visit the complex of the General University Hospital in Prague, and on Sunday there will be a tour focusing on brutalist architecture of the hospital buildings at the city’s Karlov district.

"We will also look into a private clinic in Mladá Boleslav, with its authors Martin Rajniš and David Kubík, and we will visit the hospital in Jihlava."

Diviš quarter, Brno, photo: archive of Architecture Day

To highlight the connection between architecture and environment, people can also visit all sorts of ecologically friendly buildings, including the Open Gardens, an educational and advisory centre, in Brno and the Krkonoše Environmental Education Centre KRTEK.

The festival will also focus on the role of water in urban planning and architecture, says Mrs Steinbachová:

"Several tours will focus on rivers. For example in Jablonec, there will be a walk down the river bed, highlighting the connection between the river and the town, and in Prague and Ostrava, there will be guided walks along the riverbanks."

As every year, Architecture Day will also mark important anniversaries of renowned Czech architects, such as Jaroslav Gočár or Adolf Loos, but it will also highlight buildings designed by young, up-and-coming architects.

Under the motto ‘Hooray Inside’ people will also have a chance to visit buildings that are usually inaccessible to the public.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak the number of attendants will be limited and many places and events require advance booking. However, since most of the program takes place outside, the organizers believe it will go ahead as planned.