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Architecture Archives in Prague in Ruins

11-09-2002 ()
Architecture Archives in Prague in Ruins
An appeal to help safeguarding the unique archives of Czech architecture deposited at the National Technical Museum in Pargue, which was heavily damaged by the floods last August, has now been launched by a group of scholars and university teachers launched. The building located in Invalidovna was flooded by more than three meters of water inundating the collections.
Here is the full tecxt of the appeal

SOS ARCHITECTURE ARCHIVE!!!

The archive of architecture is in shambles. We all saw how it was flooded by 3 and a half meters of water.
We saw how archive workers desperately tried to save it.
We saw their solitude.
We saw volunteers do all they could.
We knew that the archive was always a secondary interest of the institutions to whose administration and supervision it was entrusted.

Therefore we are setting up a fund for the preservation and restoration of an internationally unique archive of 19th and 20th century architecture.
We want to acknowledge its historical value.
Let us think of the future documentation of Czech architecture.
We are asking for financial contributions for the preservation of plans of the National Theatre, of the Hradec Králové Museum, of the Municipal Building, of the Legiobank and of the Trade Fair Building - the work of Josef Zítek, Jan Kotěra, Josef Gočár, Kamil Roškot and Jaroslav Frágner among others.
Architecture needs our care and help.

Prague, Aug 23, 2002

Emil Přikryl, The School of Architecture, Prague Academy of Fine Arts
Vladimír Šlapeta, Architecture Department, Czech University of Technology
Jiří Horský, Architect Magazine
Karel Ksandr, The State Institute of the Care of Historical Monuments
Soňa Ryndová, The School of Architecture, Prague Academy of Fine Arts
Vladislava Valchářová, National Technical Museum
Dita Dvořáková, National Technical Museum
Kateřina Bečková, The Club for Old Prague
Richard Biegel, The Club for Old Prague
Marcela Steinbachová, Circle Civic Association
Martin Rusina, Circle Civic Association

Contacts:
The Club for Old Prague kzsp@mail.cz, Karel Ksandr, +420 603 594322
The School of Architecture, Prague Academy of Fine Arts, arch@avu.cz, +420 2 333 80 107
Architect magazine, redakce@casopis-architekt.cz, +420 2 24 93 15 50
Circle Civic Association, kruh@avu.cz, Martin Rusina +420 603 156 101
account no. of SOS ARCHITECTURE ARCHIVE: CEKO CZ PP 179310745/0300

SOS ARCHITECTURE ARCHIVE !!!

The architecture archive was founded on the land of the Prague Technical Museum in 1910 on the basis of a request by Czech University of Technology professors. The work of major Czech architects was gradually amassed here, beginning with the period of Historicism through Art Nouveau and Functionalism to present-day architecture. As one of the most important collections of European significance, it became an ICAM (International Confederation of Architectural Museums) member.

The archive contains drawings, plans, photographs, documents and models, which add up to roughly half a million separate museum exhibits. During the 1990s the archive took part in a series of expositions - mainly touring, monographic and thematic - such as Czech Functionalism 1918-38, Czech Cubism, Jože Plečnik, Shaping the Great City and Jan Kotěra.

In 1940 the archive was forced to move from Schwarzenberg Palace in the Hradčany quarter of Prague to the ground floor of an Invalidovna Baroque building. This building was flooded by 3.45 meters of water in August 2002. Ninety percent of the architecture archive was flooded. Thanks to an overwhelming effort by individual volunteers, most of the archive documents were removed from the building and frozen in order to allow for possible future restoration.

Now the rest of the archive documents that were not damaged must be removed from the building and a restoration workplace and depository must be secured in order to preserve at least part of this irreplaceable part of European cultural heritage.

In the best case scenario, restoration of the frozen archive documents will take decades and require enormous material expenses that are completely out of the realm of possibilities of all concerned institutions.

Therefore we are appealing to all Czech and foreign scholarly institutions, schools, restoration experts, architects and the European cultural public itself to provide urgent aid - financial, material, professional or other.

For the raised funds under the auspices of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, The Club for Old Prague, Architect magazine and the Circle Civic Association the account SOS ARCHITECTURE ARCHIVE no CEKO CZ PP 179310745/0300 was set up.


Prague, Aug 23, 2002

The following people were entrusted with the administration of the account:
Prof. Emil Přikryl, The School of Architecture, The Prague Fine Arts Academy
Prof. Vladimír Šlapeta, Architecture Department, Czech University of Technology
Prof. Milan Pavlík, Architecture Department, Czech University of Technology
Jiří Horský, Architect magazine
Doc. Rostislav Švácha, Institute of Art History of the Academy of Sciences
Karel Ksandr, State Instition of the Care of Historical Monuments
Soňa Ryndová, The School of Architecture, The Prague Fine Arts Academy
Marcela Steinbachová, Circle Civic Association
Kateřina Bečková, Club for Old Prague
Vladislava Valchářová, National Technical Museum

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