The Seven Most Interesting Buildings Designed by Architect Eva Jiřičná

The Seven Most Interesting Buildings Designed by Architect Eva Jiřičná

The world’s most famous Czech-born architect is celebrating an important life milestone in March: her eightieth birthday. Do you know which buildings in the Czech Republic she designed and where you can find her work?

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Eva Jiřičná, a native of Zlín, has lived and worked in London for fifty years, where she has her own architectural firm, Eva Jiricna Architects. In 1999, she opened the AI Design Prague studio together with Petr Vágner. She has been awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, she is a member of several Royal Academies, and she has been inducted into the American Hall of Fame. Some of her most famous clients include Lloyd’s of London, Hugo Boss, Kenzo, Joseph, Vidal Sassoon, and other fashionable names from famous streets in London and New York, as well as many cafés and restaurants.

Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín

Why in Zlín? Because Eva Jiřičná was born there in 1939 and Baťa’s functionalistic tradition had a significant influence on her approach to architecture. She designed the Congress and University Centre of the Tomáš Baťa University, along with the concert hall and the Spirit rooftop restaurant, and recently also the building where the Faculty of Humanities is seated. The Cultural and University Centre received the title Building of the Year of the Zlín Region and the Grand Prix of the Society of Czech Architects in the New Building category.

Prague Castle

Eva Jiřičná was also one of the artists who helped former President Václav Havel improve the area of  Prague Castle. She designed the Orangery, the most modern building of the Royal Garden, which you can find right above the Deer Moat, next to the Ball Games Hall. The almost ninety-metre-long glass tube with stainless steel frame was built in 1999 in place of an older greenhouse, and it instantly catches one’s eye with its modern design. Did you know that citrus trees, almond trees, and other thermophilic crops were grown there by the royal gardeners during the reign of Rudolph II? You can tour the interiors of the Orangery daily during the season.

Prague Crossroads

For the Václav and Dagmar Havel Foundation, Vize 97, Eva Jiřičná modified the interiors of the Gothic Church of St Anna, which is a part of the former Dominican convent in the Old Town in Prague. The multicultural centre known as the Prague Crossroads was created there, which, among other purposes, serves as a gallery where you can see many works of art such as the sculpture Annunciation by sculptor Olbram Zoubek, vases by glass artist Bořek Šípek, the installation Václav Havel’s Wheels of Time by conceptual artist Daniel Pešta, several works by sculptor Kurt Gebauer, and A Heart for Václav Havel, an object made from candles lit in streets and squares all over the Czech Republic when Václav Havel died.

Prague: Hotels Josef and Maximillian

‘I find the light and working with light inside objects fascinating. Lightness, transparency, and materials in their pure form,’ Eva Jiřičná says. This applies 100% to the Hotel Josef, located on one of the streets in the historic centre of Prague, right in the heart of the Old Town. The modern, spacious, and perfectly illuminated hotel surprises with minimalism, pure lines, as well as genius forms. The architect not only designed the building, but also the interiors, including the furnishings, textiles, and other details. This first-ever design hotel in the former Eastern Bloc countries received many awards. Eva Jiřičná also participated in the reconstruction of the Hotel Maximillian on Haštalská Street.

Prague Cafés

If you are not planning to visit the hotels, go to one of the cafés where Eva Jiřičná left a distinctive trace. You can admire the dazzling glass spiral staircase in Cafe B. Braun in Lékařský dům at I. P. Pavlova Square or the view of the Prague roofs from the Černá labuť café, which refers to the building next door, the Bílá labuť department store in New Town.
 

Jiřičná

That’s the simple and straightforward name of the retrospective exhibition organised by the DOX Centre in Prague on as part of the jubilee celebrating Eva Jiřičná. It will open on 22 March and you can see the models, project materials, and examples of the interior designs by the world-famous Czech architect until 12 August. And since fragile staircases made of glass and steel are so typical of Eva Jiřičná, you can see one of them at the exhibition: it was made in 1994 for the interior of the Parisian branch of the Joan & David boutique chain.