[Events] Open House Prague 2015

‘Open House’ is a simple but powerful concept: showcasing outstanding architecture for all to experience, completely for free. Open House initiatives invite everyone to explore and understand the value of a well-designed built environment.


Gasometer in Libeň © OpenHousePraha 2015


For one weekend in year headquarters of companies, offices and modern technical buildings we are just used to pass by will be open. It will be possible to visit more than 40 places with exceptional interiours, interesting history and unusual views of Prague usually closed to public. More than 30 structures will be open in Prague, and not all of them are old buildings. Some of the newest, such as Florentinum, Main Point Karlín, Artgen, Fusion Hotel and Port #58 will be having visitors.


The list cuts across almost all architectural eras, with Strahov Monastery and St Agnes Convent from among historical religious buildings, up through Baroque houses and communist-era ministries, to 1990s works like theDancing House and then the new works. The houses will be open between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Their owners joined Open House deliberately and for free therefore it is up to their decision whether the building is open the whole weekend or just one day.


Invalidovna © OpenHousePraha 2015

Ministry of Industry and Trade © OpenHousePraha 2015


Open House offers also several technical constructions: a historical water power plant on Štvanice island on Moldau river; a high voltage lab and a Student e-Formula garage of the Electro-technical faculty of the Czech Technical University; a spherical gasholder in Libeň that was bombed in 1945 and has been used by the Aeronautical Research and Test Institute since. The most bizarre construction opened by the festival is a historicalvelodrome hidden in a residential area of Třebešín. Visitors can borrow a bike and a helmet and try its sloping curves.

A few places have limited capacity or specific guided tours, so registering in advance over the festival website is necessary for those. Registration is possible from May 12. The festival began in 1992 in London, and more cities join as time goes on. “The first open house in Vienna last year attracted 30,000 people, which greatly exceeded the expectations of organizers. In Prague half the number of buildings will be open, but we also have high ambitions,” Michal Tošovský, one of the local organizers, said in a press release.


Štvanice power plant © OpenHousePraha 2015

National Theatre New Scene © OpenHousePraha 2015


The purpose of the festival is to make people more aware of their surroundings. “The Open House festival provides access to buildings or their sections that are closed to the public for most of the year. While these buildings form the face of the city and determine our route, we usually move between the buildings. We want to bring people the opportunity to go inside so as to enhance the public’s interest in its surroundings,” said festival coordinator Andrea Šenkyříková of the NGO Open Society, which holds the license for the festival in the Czech Republic.

Internationally, the festival has been running in 32 cities in Europe, America and Australia, and comes this year to the Czech Republic for the first time. The founder of the festival, Victoria Thornton, will be coming to Prague for the inaugural event. The festival is under the patronage of architect Eva Jiřičná, who attended the London festival in 1992 and was a participant for more than 20 years.


Zlaty-Andel by Jean Nouvel © OpenHousePraha 2015

Dancing House © OpenHousePraha 2015

Dancing House plan © OpenHousePraha 2015


The international organizers of the worldwide initiative require that admission to buildings is free and that the building owners do not have to pay mandatory fee to participate as well. The primary aim of Open House is an architectural education event. “The Open House event should maintain the core values of the Open House concept: to foster appreciation, understanding and learning among your own communities along with the value of architectural excellence and showcasing outstanding design, including quality contemporary design,” the website for the Open House Worldwide states.


Main Point Karlín © OpenHousePraha 2015

Danube House outside © OpenHousePraha 2015

Danube House Inside © OpenHousePraha 2015



Open House Prague 2015

When: May 16–17, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: Various locations; info center at Fusion Hotel, Panská 9, Prague 1

Some of the buildings participating:

    Danube House

    National Theatre – New Scene



    Palác Kinských


    Klášter sv. Anežky

    Palác Langhans

    former seat of ČSOB bank

    Kramářova vila

    Palác Lucerna

    Palác Metro

    Štvanice power plant

    Libeňský plynojem (gasometer in Libeň)


    Dancing House

    Negreliho viadukt

    Dům odborových svazů


    Fusion hotel

    Main Point

    Ministry of Industry and Trade

    Masarykovo railway station




News source: Open House Prague