This interesting and luxurious building which has become a natural part of the banks of the River Vltava, is located not far from the Dancing House and the National Theatre. Its interior has recently undergone major reconstruction. The exhibition and conference hall is complemented by modern technology and luxury facilities. What was the reason for creation of this luxury functionalist building and what does it offer visitors today?
The Mánes Association of Fine Artists was founded in 1887. Before they had their own premises, members of the association organised exhibitions in various rented locations. The idea of having their own place to exhibit prestigious works from all over the world was so strong that it was deservedly implemented in 1930.
At the time when the association was considering purchase of part of the embankment, the Šítkov Mills stood on the site of the current building. These had to be demolished if the plot was to be purchased. Another requirement of the city as regards sale was that the River Vltava would flow under the new building. And as we can see today, these requirements were met.
Demolition of the mills was a very costly operation and during this work, the statics of the adjacent water tower were also disturbed. The whole construction project under the management of the architect Otakar Novotný was financed by the association from its own resources and also gained a financial contribution from the then president T. G. Masaryk. Some funds were provided by the state and other benefactors. Building work was completed in 1930.
The last reconstruction of the Mánes Gallery took place in 2015. The main area is made up of an exhibition hall which is designed for holding of world-class exhibitions. This continues to the 2nd floor which is crowned by a luxurious glass roof. The lower floor house two rooms intended for lectures, workshops and smaller exhibitions.
The original restaurant with a terrace and the frescoed ceilings by Emil Filla have also been restored. The elegant premises of the luxury Art Café are embellished by a Steinway grand piano made in 1897 which the famous composer Jaroslav Ježek played in these rooms.
Construction work on the building of the Mánes Gallery was awarded the Special Prize of the Mayor of Prague in 2014 in the Building of the Year 2014 competition.