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Cubist houses Review

Bordered to the north by Nové Město and to the south by Nusle, Vyšehrad is mostly visited for its citadel high above the river on a rocky outcropping. However, fans of 20th-century architecture—you know who you are—will find cubist gems between the area's riverfront street and the homes that dot the hills on the other side. Prague's cubist architecture followed a great Czech tradition: embracing new ideas, while adapting them to existing artistic and social contexts to create something sui generis. Between 1912 and 1914 Josef Chochol (1880–1956) designed several of the city's dozen or so cubist projects. His apartment house Neklanova No. 30, on the corner of Neklanova and Přemyslova, is a masterpiece in concrete. The pyramidal, kaleidoscopic window moldings and roof cornices make an expressive link to the baroque yet are wholly novel; the faceted corner balcony column, meanwhile, alludes to Gothic forerunners. On the same street, at Neklanova No. 2, is another apartment house attributed to Chochol. Like the building at Neklanova No. 30, it uses pyramidal shapes and a suggestion of Gothic columns. Nearby, Chochol's villa, on the embankment at Libušina 3, has an undulating effect, created by smoothly articulated forms. The wall and gate around the back of the house use triangular moldings and metal grating to create an effect of controlled energy. The three-family house, about 100 yards away from the villa at Rašínovo nábřeží 6–10, was completed slightly earlier, when Chochol's cubist style was still developing. Here the design is touched with baroque and neoclassical influence, with a mansard roof and end gables.

Updated: 10-07-2013

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