The exhibition presents extraordinary “brutalist” projects, both materialized buildings and project proposals, in Prague between 1960 and 1980. In light of ever increasing demolitions, the exhibition encourages the public to accept and appreciate these buildings and their architectural qualities, which may not be obvious at first sight, as they are usually labelled “communist” architecture. The exhibition will help the public learn about brutalist architecture and inspire visitors to actively protect brutalist buildings.
The standard definitions of brutalism with criteria such as béton brut and “authenticity” of materials are too narrow in the Prague context. For this reason, the exhibition defines the term more broadly as a trend in late-modern architecture that revised modernist points of departure reducing architecture to mere “dwelling machine” or a structure containing an appropriate amount of air and sun. Brutalism renewed interest in architecture as an environment (in keeping with TEAM X principles) and incorporated a number of contemporary construction materials, aesthetic and technological tendencies, as well as international cultural trends (béton brut, organic shapes, naked constructions and oversized details). In terms of aesthetics, brutalism allowed for greater freedom and plasticity of expression, employing a diversity of colours and materials. Brutalist buildings enter the urban landscape with great intensity, their volume forming the space around them.
The exhibition will present, above all, original project documentation, in which the buildings often appear even more radical than in the actual urban setting, complemented with collages, photographs, original fragments of perished buildings and sculptures, furniture (design) and existing original models. The original documentation comes primarily from NGP's Collection of Architecture and is complemented with selected objects on loan from collections in Prague and its surroundings.