The anchor city capital of the Czech Republic which brands diverse architectural styles is a genuine guidebook for students of architecture and history. The then architectural gems of this central European city stand out even today after having been precisely renovated and restored.
Just roam around any given street in Prague, and you will find yourself surrounded by a few majestic palaces, castles, and even abstract modernist buildings. It is this intact legacy of the city that attracts millions of visitors every year around. Where else in the world will you witness a blend between architecture having such distinct styles, all in one go? Only in Prague; the uncrowned capital of World architecture!
Developed as a style which brought sunshine into people’s life and remarkably into their churches; Gothic Architecture is all about tall masonry structures with stained glass window panels including flying buttresses, pointed arches, and ribbed vaults as its characteristics architectural feature. An evolved version of Romanesque architecture, having French roots Gothic style originated in the 12th century.
The style that featured symmetry, proportion, and geometry within a structure; Renaissance architecture quickly spread across European countries between the 15th and 17th centuries. Although Prague might not have a lot of renaissance buildings, the handful it has are however worthy of your attention. Renaissance style is a derivation from ancient Greek and Roman culture, reviving certain elements of it. Hence, the name renaissance, i.e. rebirth.
This highly decorative style was initially introduced by the Catholic Church as a way of reformation, celebrating its wealth. Adopting the basic elements of Renaissance style like the domes and colonnades; Baroque architecture simply made it more decorative, more dramatic, and more colorful.
The pioneer-style of late tenth-century Europe, which later evolved into Gothic, Romanesque architecture featured mighty towers, round arches, decorative arcades, cross vaults, and solid piers. As the name suggests, Romanesque architecture is based on Roman architectural elements.
The symmetry of Romanesque structures gives it a simple yet elegant look. Prague has quite a few Romanesque buildings including three majestic rotundas and a beautiful basilica.
Rococo or the late Baroque style is a decorative development of Baroque architecture, fused with French elements. The characteristics of this style are, asymmetric designs, ornate decorations, and a complete decorated work of art combining fancy furniture, sculptures, decorative mirrors, and wall paintings. The color selection within this style is predominantly pale pastel shades, including ivory white and gold. Rococo was substituted by the neoclassical style later on.
Classicism and Neoclassicism
The style that broke away the overly ornamented Rococo architectural style is primarily the architecture of the people, and for the people. It is balanced, sober, not overly decorative, and more importantly is a serious design affair, purposed to enlighten the needs of the people. Based on the architecture of the Roman Empire, this style was effectively influential in the 18th century after the Napoleonic code liberated France and the people of Europe.
The Art Nouveau movement which translates as the ‘new art’ movement; includes not just architecture but also, work of art into our daily life. Instead of fine applied arts, or the classical form; Art Nouveau characterized flower and leaf motifs intertwined with a beautiful lady, a new art along with new production methods.
Representing the most famous Art Nouveau son of the Czech Republic, AlfonsMuchahimself has left his influence and legacy in the city of Prague.
Cubism and Rondo Cubism
The most influential art movement of the 20th century which revolutionized European paintings, sculptures, literature, and even architecture, pioneered by the legendary Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, Czech Republic is the only exclusive place you will find Cubist and Rondocubist architecture. The artistic group influenced by this movement produced everything from buildings and paintings to even a famous lamp post. You can hence, find this interesting architectural and artistic legacy in Prague city!
Historicism in art and architecture was a deliberate attempt to revive the historical and architectural styles, in the last phase of Classical architecture. Often criticized as a backward step, in contrast to the modernizing age; the architectural style of Historicism was hence, an exaggerated mixture of different architectural styles from the past; the result was many times an awkward chaotic building. Historicism yet indeed leaves behind some beautiful structures and memories, if not overstated. And Prague certainly has quite a few of those.
The architecture of Prague has been highly influenced because of the social and political conditions. The revolution of 1989 witnessed the end of the Communist era, during which very little was done architecturally. Leading to the unfortunate mass-production panic post-1989, numerous buildings, headquarters, and malls have popped up. Some of which blended beautifully with the Old architecture styles and a few stuck out like sore thumbs!
Although Post-1989 may not be defined appropriately as an architectural style, it is an integral part of Architecture in Prague.