21 Sep 2013 - 22 Sep 2013
Open House London: Czech and Slovak Embassies
For the first time ever the Czech and Slovak embassies will open their doors to the local communities and anyone interested during the popular Open House London weekend, the capital's greatest architectural showcase visited by over a quarter million people each year. Entrance free, open from 10 AM to 5 PM.
The Czech and Slovak Embassies originally formed one complex – the Czechoslovak Embassy - designed by Czech architects Jan Šrámek, Jan Bočan and Karel Štepánský in association with Robert Matews of Johnson - Marshall and Partners. The realisation started in 1965 and finished in 1970.
In its time the complex of the Czechoslovak Embassy was considered an important modern architectural achievement. It was granted the prestigious RIBA Architecture Award in 1971. The jurors explained their decision by the following comment: "Unlike so many examples of precast concrete buildings which are weathering badly, this one is a refined example of its kind, skilfully detailed technically and aesthetically."
The aesthetic effect of the building lied in the creative combination of coarse concrete and glass surfaces, which makes the Czech and Slovak Embassies a prime example of brutalist architecture, a style that spawned from the modernist architectural movement and flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. Brutalist buildings are typically geometrical, blockish and predominantly concrete with key interest in the functionality of the construction.
In 1993, when the Czech Republic and Slovakia came into existence as two separate countries, the complex of the Czechoslovak Embassy was divided between them.
Czech Embassy, 26 Kensington Palace Gardens, London.
Slovak Embassy, 25 Kensington Palace Gardens, London.
Entrance Free, open from 10 AM to 5 PM
Open House London celebrates all that is best about the capital’s buildings, places and neighbourhoods. Every September, it gives a unique opportunity to get out and under the skin of London’s amazing architecture, with over 700 buildings of all kinds opening their doors to everyone – all for free. The dates for 2013 are 21 & 22 September.
As part of the Open House London 2013, the Czech and Slovak Embassies are also hosting an exhibition “Jan Bočan – Architect”, which will provide further context to the architecture style and historical period.
The young architect Jan Bočan, member of architect Karel Šrámek’s Atelier Beta Prague Project Institute, was assigned to elaborate a study of a representative office in London and together with his colleague Karel Štěpánský ended being the main architect of the new Embassy.
The Czech and the Slovak Embassies, 25 and 26 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY
From: 21 Sep 2013
To: 22 Sep 2013
Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event