Culture

 

Renowned Danish architects present new vision for Prague’s divisive central highway

 
photo:  (radio.cz)
 

As well as the historic monuments, visitors to Prague might be struck by the busy three and four lane highway in both directions that dissects the city centre and complicates access to many landmarks and cultural sites. The city has called in the studio of a world famous Danish architect to suggest how the so-called Magistrale can be tamed and transformed.

 
 

Some of the estimated 100,000 cars using Prague’s north-south motorway or Magistrála every day. Constructed in the 1970s, there’s little argument that this is a noisy, polluting blight on the surrounding areas and an artificial divide between districts which were previously part of a coherent whole. Along parts of the busy road, such as near Prague’s main rail station, there is not even a pavement for pedestrians to walk or sufficient crossings or underpasses to get across.

The Magistrála’s blight is most evident at the top of Wenceslas Square where the imposing National Museum and monument commemorating Jan Palach is cut off from the rest. Czech-American Jan Mayer, who has his offices nearby, gave his take on how to solve the situation.

"This should be closed, put back to the original context before it was destroyed by the highway, and the oncoming traffic that goes up the hill here should traverse the other lane behind the old parliament building as an elevated with an over and under, behind the museum, and then re-join the original route up the street here so that this can be completely closed.ʺ

Other solutions have been suggested in the past, such as putting motorway sections underground through some of the centre or enclosing them with an above ground tunnel. But Prague City Council is now mulling a wide ranging study by the studio of Danish architect Jan Gehl which combines some radical suggestions and some more manageable first steps to deal with the problem. Gehl and his team have previously worked on transforming urban environments in Moscow, New York, Vienna, and London. But they admit tackling the Prague Magistrale has been one of the biggest challenges so far.

The Gehl concept combines some early step by step moves which might tackle some of the immediate blight as well as long term measures that could transform the motorway into more of a boulevard. Petra Kolínská is a deputy mayor at Prague City Hall and says the architects’ proposals have helped give a new perspective on how the motorway can be transformed. She says some of the early steps could seek just to make the immediate environment more inviting and liveable.

ʺThere could be interesting designer street furniture, benches, mobile cafes. We should resolve what to do with the green spaces and if people can go on them or not and to make the environment cleaner so that people would actually want to stay around there."

Some of the more ambitious and costly suggestions include demolishing part of the existing Magistrála which is built on pillars after the main train station. Kolínská says she would like to see the city decide within a few months about the whole concept looking forward to 2050. But she says the green light may only be given for work to start on some of the early specific steps to see how they pan out.

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 28.06.2017
 
 
 

Related articles

 
Culture
 
 

Czechs pay tribute to photographic...

Josef Koudelka, one of the greatest living Czech photographers and the only Czech to become a member of...

 
 
Culture
 
 

2018 Iranian film fest highlights...

Iranian cinema has been among the most critically acclaimed in the world in recent years. Czech audiences...

 
 
Culture
 
 

Biggest Josef Lada exhibition in...

The famous Czech illustrator and painter Josef Lada died on December 14, 1957 and was born on December 17...

 
 
Culture
 
 

Steampunk robot photographer one of...

With the Christmas season underway many of Prague’s museums and galleries are offering special events and...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity