Brutalist Sculptures of Buildings in Miniature Version

Seven miniature versions of Prague’s communist-era Brutalist buildings stand in Holubička Park next to Malostranská metro station. Almost everyone recognizes Žižkov Television Tower and Emmaus Monastery with the twisted spires. All seven miniature buildings are made of concrete and each weighs about 5 tons.
Brutalist architecture is not popular. Prague-born artist Krištof Kintera has long been following what he considers an unpleasant process of erasing the city’s collective memory. He therefore decided to transform a number of still existing and already demolished Brutalist buildings into mini-sculptures.

Seven Brutalist Miniature Buildings

1. Žižkov Television Tower
The television tower was a prestige object of the communists and intended as a jamming station for West German radio and television broadcasts. Construction began in 1985, but the tower only became operational after the fall of communism: a typical case of losing face.
Address: Mahlerovy Sady, Žižkov

2. Emmaus Monastery
Dating from the 1960s, the iconic intertwining towers with gilded spires mark the Emmaus Monastery whose original spires were destroyed by fire in a bombing raid in 1945. The allied forces mistook Prague for Dresden because of bad weather condition.
Address: Vyšehradská 49, Nové Město

3. Kotva Department Store
The Kotva building has all the characteristics of brutalism: steel, raw concrete and dark-tinted glass panels and octagonal pillars supporting the construction. In the 1970s, the Kotva department store was the largest shopping center in the Czech Republic and the symbol of prosperity and wealth.
Address: Náměstí Republiky 8, Nové Město

Photo: Kotva Department Store


4. Praha Hotel
Prague residents genuinely disliked Hotel Praha, a favourite haunt of the regime. It was located in the Hanspaulka district in Prague 6, an upscale neighbourhood with villas. Hotel Praha was only accessible to the leaders of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and their communist colleagues from neighbouring countries. The hotel was demolished in 2014.

5. State Bank of Czechoslovakia
Designed by Karel Prager in the 1970s and built in the 1990s, the building is now home to a branch of the KB, Komerční Banka Smíchov. The building has the shape of a truncated pyramid and has two floors.
Address: on the corner of Štefánikova Street and V Botanica Street, Smichov

Photo: State Bank of Czechoslovakia

6. ÚTB Central Telecommunications Building
The Central Telecommunication Building (Ústřední telekomunikační budova) was built in 1979. After the Velvet Revolution it became the headquarters of major telecom operators such as SPT Telecom. In 2017, the complex was purchased by Czech developer Central Group and is now the headquarters of the telecommunications company CETIN, but is earmarked for demolition.
Address: 6 Olšanská Street, Žižkov

7. Never realized project by Karel Pragner (1923-2001)
Karel Prager was the mastermind behind perhaps the most daring Brutalist project that never got off the drawing board: a vast, interconnected series of shops and residential blocks resting on support posts over long and deep Košíře Valley in Prague 5. The buildings would rise dozens of floors and tower over the landscape. If it had been built, this building complex would no doubt be a tourist attraction today.

Vandals or Artist?

When you walk past the mini-buildings, it looks as if vandals have gone on a rampage because all the sculptures have been damaged. Krištof Kintera did this on purpose. Although brutalist architecture is robust, he wanted to draw attention to the fragility of these buildings that are demolished when they fall into disgrace or no longer fit into the streetscape.

Communists and Brutalism

Although the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia razed the existing culture to the ground, they nevertheless left a legacy of an architectural style that has acquired international significance: Brutalism
There is still a negative attitude towards brutalist buildings. They are unaesthetic and evoke an association with communism, a time that likes to be forgotten. This negative attitude results in the demolition of architecturally interesting buildings such as Hotel Praha and the planned demolition of the ÚTB (Central Telecommunication Building) in Žižkov.

Well-known Brutalist buildings in Prague still standing

* The new building of the National Museum next to Wenceslas Square
* Nova Scena the building with the giant glass front next to the National Theater on Narodni Street
* InterContinental Hotel and Hotel President at the end of Parrizska street near the Vltava
* Folimanka sports hall in the Folimanka park
* Hotel Pyramida, built on a triangular and hexagonal grid with diminishing floor space as it rose higher. Bělohorská 24

Photo: Nove Scena on Narodni street

Czechs associate brutalism with socialism because important brutalist buildings were built during and by the communist regime. Brutalism has nothing to do with ‘brutal’ but is derived from the French word ‘brut’ which means rough and refers to minimalist constructions showing structural element of rough, unfinished concrete.

Getting thereshow on map

The mini buildings are lit up, which means the best time to visit is when it gets dark.

Address: Park Holubicka, Mala Strana
Holubička Park is opposite the Kunsthalle and close to the Malostranská metro station.

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