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A 200 year old building accommodating shops, flats and offices in the middle of Prague has been restored and reinterpreted with elegance and economy.

Behind a dignified early nineteenth-century facade in Prague is a new set of spaces. Like many other structures in the magically picturesque centre of the city, the building was brutally restructured in the 1950s; apart from the finely proportioned spaces, little remained internally. The outside was however relatively untouched, and it has been restored to what everyone thinks was its original appearance.

Since, as the architects explained, it is very difficult to find good builders in the Czech Republic at the moment, steel has been used wherever possible internally, continuing the great Czech tradition of fine work in metal. Billie Tsien was particularly impressed by the elegance and economy of means of the conversion, which puts two large flats, duplex and triplex, over two floors of shops and offices. Both exterior restoration and the steel and glass minimalist stairs were excellent, but we were worried about some of the other detailing: perhaps no fault of the architects, bearing in mind the history of the building and the local shortage of skilled craftsmen.


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Title Annotation:old Prague building restored
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXCZ
Date:Dec 1, 1999
Previous Article:RAINBOW ROOMS.

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