Prague to launch renovation of the Výstaviště exhibition ground

Industrial Palace at Výstaviště, photo: Jiří Němec

Exhibition Grounds, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Thursday. The reconstruction of Výstaviště, which is used for fairs, exhibitions, concerts and other activities, is expected to cost hundreds of millions of crowns. It should begin with a completion of the Art Deco Industrial Palace, which was partially destroyed by fire in October 2008.

Industrial Palace at Výstaviště, photo: Jiří Němec
The Výstaviště Exhibition Grounds, located at the edge of Bubeneč’s Stromovka Park and the Prague district of Holešovice, have been in bad need of renovation for years. Prague City Hall has now taken steps to launch an extensive renovation of the premises.

In the future, the Prague City Hall would like to see a new swimming pool with saunas, an underground parking, or a skate-park at the Prague Exhibition Grounds. But their priority is to complete the left wing of the Industrial palace, which was destroyed by fire.

The City Hall had originally planned to build a replica of the historic building, but, due to administrative and financial reasons, decided against it. Instead, councillors are pushing for a temporary hall with movable walls that could be adjusted to various needs.

The ambitious project is likely to meet with opposition form conservationists- The head of Prague Heritage Institute, Jiří Skalický, told Hospodářské noviny that it was impossible to make the building part of a cultural heritage site.

However, Jan Čižinský, the mayor of Prague 7, which includes the Exhibition Grounds, supports the project, arguing that Výstaviště needs to stay in operation. The temporary tent, which has replaced the destroyed wing of the place, is not suitable and as a result, many events have been moved elsewhere.

If the city decides to build a replica of the Industrial palace in the future, the temporary hall could be moved and kept in use somewhere else. Experts predict that an exact replica of the historical building could cost up to 1.2 billion crowns, so it is quite possible that the temporary hall might stay at the Exhibition Grounds forever.

The City Hall is expected to announce public competition for the completion of the Industrial Palace after the summer holidays.