This year, the Open House Prague 2021 Festival recorded more than 53,000 visits to festival buildings open during the weekend and accompanying programs during the festival week. "Compared to last year, when the festival also took place on an alternative date, we observe a renewed increase in attendance from the years before the outbreak of the pandemic. This year, half as many visitors arrived as last year, "says Andrea Šenkyříková.
In the end, the main weekend program offered to visit a total of 79 buildings or spaces that are not usually accessible. The festival opened a total of 26 novelties this year, and already on Saturday, queues of people formed in several of them in the morning. "In order to comply with current government regulations, we initially limited the size of the inspection groups at some facilities. During the weekend, due to the great interest, we still had to increase them and check the infectivity, so that visitors do not have to wait too long, "explains Andrea Šenkyříková, adding:" We noticed the greatest interest at the Vršovice water tower in Michle. The daredevils could ascend to the 42 m high tower or descend to the underground reservoir and learn more about this technical cultural monument from the architect Jan Kotěra, whose reconstruction is currently being completed. ”Another place that attracted a large number of visitors was the Art Garden hidden under the Nuselský Bridge, which served as a sculptural plant during the First Republic. "It is admirable with what enthusiasm the current owner is gradually renovating the garden. His several years of efforts have slowly come to an end and we are extremely pleased that we were able to contribute to the fact that people finally learned about this place with a turbulent history, ”says Andrea Šenkyříková. Other widely visited buildings included the ARA Palace, Laichter House, Hotel International Prague, Šaloun Villa, the gardens of the Černín Palace, the Štvanice waterworks and the Kunsthalle Prague. In addition to the three water towers, visitors could also see several underground shelters, two castles, a former spa, sports facilities, an observatory, a mill and hotels. Art spaces and studios were a separate thematic area. The organizers also commemorated the 150th anniversary of Jan Kotěra's birth by opening several of his Prague buildings. Events to mark the anniversary of the founder of Czech modern architecture will continue in the autumn. Information about these programs will be published at the beginning of September on www.openhousepraha.cz.
The festival is a community project that could not take place without the active involvement of the owners and people from the buildings, as well as a large number of volunteers. "In the end, despite the time of holidays and vacations, almost 350 volunteers signed up to help organize the operation of the buildings and tours. A large part of them have been with us since the first year of the festival, because this work gives them meaning and provides inspiration in their other professional and private lives, "says the main coordinator of volunteers Klára Veselá and adds:" Coordination of so many volunteers who move in one time throughout the city is a really challenging task. Open House Prague is the only event in the Czech Republic that can involve so many people at once. ”
The motto of this year's Open House Prague festival was Architecture for All, selected tours were translated into Czech sign language, haptic plans and floor plans of buildings as well as 3D models of some buildings were prepared for people with visual impairments, which they could examine by touch in special commented tours. A rich program was also prepared for families with children - a lego workshop, interactive guided tours with sheets for small architects, a ride on a velodrome or a theater performance.
Open House Prague is part of the international network of Open House Worldwide festivals, which take place in 50 cities around the world and its mission is to arouse public interest in architecture and the city. Thanks to the involvement of hundreds of volunteers who help with the opening of buildings, Open House Prague is not only a cultural holiday of the city, but also a unique event with community and social impact.