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This famous architect from the 1st half of the 20th Century left an indelible mark on the luxurious face of Prague in his short lifetime. His ideas are saved in his projects, in his theories about architecture, in his publications and in his urban solutions for Prague.

Czech architects: Antonín Engel and his urbanist contribution to Prague

Mgr. Jana Höger
14.Oct 2017
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A. Engel - sluice and hydroelectric power station in Poděbrady

After studying, he pursued his own creation with typical zeal. In addition to this, he became a professor and founded the institute of urban construction at the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague, where he served as rector in 1939-40. 

His artistic contribution to Prague

He earned the Rome Award and a study trip to Italy for his project for the ideal arrangement of the Letná Plain. He returns from this trip with a fascination for the Renaissance, which last his entire life. He continuously returns to historicising styles, and does not let the modern lines of the 20th century like Art Nouveau or functionalism affect his architectural signature.

He became known by all of Prague’s citizens with his luxurious, grandiose works, like the water and filtration plant in Prague - Podolí. This is an interesting neo-classicist building with a 45 metre water tower and witty sculptural embellishments on the tower facade. The statues are an allegory of the Moldau River and its tributaries. Its lightness creates an impression of luxury and fragility, even though it is a monumental structure.

Luxusní penthouse na Praze 1 - 226m
Luxusní penthouse na Praze 1 - 226m, Praha 1

He continued to devote himself to technical buildings - the lock and water plant in Poděbrady, the Ministry of Railways (now Ministry of Transportation) building, and the campus of the University of Chemical Technological Engineering, to name a few. His contribution to Prague is irrefutable. His conservatism may not have been in line with the coming modern era, but those who have visited the luxurious Rudolfinum concert hall are stunned nonetheless. It was Antonín Engel who converted it from the chamber of deputies to this luxurious music venue.

Urban solutions

Famous artists leave behind indelible traces admired by many viewers. But how can one admire something that is only visible from a bird’s eye perspective? The regular layout of Poděbrady, the urban project for Vítězné námestí in Prague 6 or the general project for the Czech Technical University campus. This is but a meagre list of everything in which Engel excelled. The technologically elaborate designs and their quality are indisputable.

A tribute to Czech architecture of the 1st half of the 20th Century is indeed due.

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