Illustrative photo – Presentation of the edited project "Presenting" archaeological monuments Envy, 29 November 2022, Dolní Břežany near Prague. The picture shows the architect and author of the project, Josef Pleskot.
Prague – As his responsibility and challenge, Josef Pleskot takes the several times publicly stated proposal of the elected president Petr Pavel to cooperate with a leading Czech architect. Pleskot told ČTK today. He stated that he respects Pavel as a person and respects him as a president. However, according to both men, the first step in any changes must be to solve security measures when entering the Prague Castle grounds.
“I respect him as a person, I respect him as a president, and when such a call is made publicly, even three times, I certainly cannot let it pass me by. I have to react to it somehow, and I will. I take it as a responsibility, as a challenge,” Pleskot told ČTK today.
He does not want to talk directly about the fact that he would directly become a castle architect, similar to what happened during the first republic and during the collaboration between Tomáš Garrigu Masaryk and the architect Jože Plečnik. “I think my name sounded more like a trap, certainly no one can think that I would be some kind of monarchist abuser of such a mandate. The form of cooperation would have to be discussed,” he said. He is not yet aware of the formation of an advisory board for the area of architecture or culture at the Castle.
“I think that Mr. President Pavel wanted to point out that Prague Castle was closed to the public. He knows that under Václav Havel the tendency was completely opposite, that Havel wanted to make Prague Castle accessible to everyone,” said Pleskot.
“I drew attention to this many times when I criticized (outgoing president Miloš) Zeman and (his predecessor Václav) Klaus for their interventions, for closing the Castle, for not continuing Václav Havel's tendencies. Pavel certainly noted all this and knew that I've been interested in Prague Castle for a long time. We haven't talked about it personally, but I think we're on a similar note in this sense,” he said.
According to him, Petr Pavel is the one who understands the role of architecture as a wide-ranging social field. “He is perhaps one of the first politicians to turn his attention in this direction,” says the architect.
Bořek Šípek held the position of castle architect at Prague Castle under Václav Havel. However, his signature was more evident in the smaller architectural modifications and especially in the interior, when chandeliers, vases, sets of drinking glasses and furniture were created under his direction for the representative spaces of the Castle. Josef Pleskot is still the last architect who, in the form of the passage through the Prašné most bridge rampart, left a significant architectural mark on the Castle grounds.
“I think I am the last architect, but who knows who looks at it. For example, air conditioning , which Václav Klaus had done there, can be considered the greatest thing… But they probably didn't make Prague Castle famous with air conditioning,” says the architect.
According to Pleskot, solving security measures when entering the Castle is the primary task. “That's more or less what I was saying through the media, that the privatization of Prague Castle and the creation of new roadblocks must go. Pavel responded to this when he was asked what he would do in the 24 hours of his presidency. He replied that maybe it would be enough to remove the roadblocks.” recalled Pleskot.
Josef Pleskot celebrated his 70th birthday last December. On that occasion, he told ČTK that, in his view, architecture is a medium that helps to live life better and create the conditions for the best possible social ties. Pleskot can solve tasks ranging from family houses to public buildings to large residential, administrative or production areas. Pleskot's projects for Litomyšl are probably the most famous, and more recently the Dolní Vítkovice complex in Ostrava. His work can be found in other cities as well as the metropolis. In Prague, his studio is working on the reconstruction of the Dominican monastery in Husova Street, on the other side of the Vltava, the architect is awaiting the restoration of the area in front of the entrance to the Church of the Virgin Mary with the famous Prague Baby Jesus. It also handles the Sokol headquarters in Malá Strana and the project of the Center for Experimental Medicine in Albertov.