Housing in Prague: Strasnice Neighbourhood

Housing in Prague in the Strasnice neighbourhood is different from the apartment blocks in other suburbs. Prague has 1.3 million inhabitants. Not many live in in Stare Mesto, Nove Mesto or Mala Strana: the three most visited neighbourhoods of Prague by tourists. Prague residents live in the suburbs in tower blocks that have recently been painted in pastel colours and almost look inviting. Residents of Strasnice, and in particular in the Solidarity neighbourhood are lucky. Here you will not find many high-rise apartment buildings but terraced houses of two floors, unique in Prague.

A novelty was that prefabricated elements were used for the first time in the construction of the houses in the Solidarity residential area. Later this construction method took off and many houses in Czechoslovakia were built after this example.

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Housing in Prague Solidarity Neighbourhood

The Solidarity neighbourhood was built between 1947 and 1951 and was the first major post-war housing development in Prague. Six housing associations, six industrial companies and state-owned companies were the clients. Frantisek Jech was the executive architect. He had a great deal of experience with pre-war functionalism and was a champion of simple, efficient housing for everyone, a concept that fitted well with communist ideas.

Community facilities were housed in a separate building directly connected to the housing units. There were two types of houses: three-story apartment blocks and two-story terraced houses. Behind the terraced houses is a communal garden for the entire row of houses. Each house has a small garden at the front. The sitting room overlooks the communal garden, but this room does not have a door to the garden, only a window.

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Floor plan of a Terraced House in the Solidarity Neighbourhood

The front door is between the kitchen and the toilet. The tiny bathroom is on the ground floor and is the same length as the bath. In the komora, storage space, on the first floor is an attic hatch that opens to the attic. The living room has windows and no patio doors. The garden behind all the houses is communal.

These houses are now mainly home to young families. The first thing almost every new homeowner does is a rigorous renovation. The bathroom is moved to the storage room on the first floor. The old bathroom is often added to the kitchen as an open kitchen with the living room. A new staircase leads to the attic which is surprisingly spacious. Folding or sliding doors are placed in the living room. All windows get double glazing, the walls and the roof are insulated

Terasa = balcony
Loznice = bedroom
Komora = storage space
Obytny pokoj = living room
Reading = bathroom
Kuch = kitchen
Spiz = pantry

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Solidarity Neighbourhood: attracive and loved

The communist ideal was that the neighborhood would provide for all needs so that the residents had everything at hand. A school, a pharmacy, shops, a doctor’s post and clinic and a theater with a cafe and restaurant were incorporated. The residents of the neighbourhood met in the theater café and restaurant and local residents gave performances in the theater. Nowadays the Solidarity district is a popular place to live, affordable and small-scale and much better than the high tower blocks on the outskirts of Prague. The theatre, the restaurant, the school and some of the shops are still there.

How to get there

Solidarity neighbourhood is bordered by Cernokostelecka, Detska, Uvalska and v Olsinach streets.

Metro line A to station Strasnicka
Tram 3, 7, 13 to Zborov – Strasnicke divadlo stop

photos: Marianne Crone

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