According to Cllr. Milan Richter, the adjustments should be done between the years 2010 and 2014. “It’s not only the form of the square itself, but also a revitalization of a bigger area including Mariánské Square, Clam-Gallas Palace and adjacent streets and also the building of the New City Hall.”
At present, Mariánské Square looks more like a car park than a square, which is not very respectable,” said Mr. Richter.
The area will form a whole
The basis of the project, made by Studio MAC Architecture which won the competition outright, is to create a unified whole. At present, the area is parcelled out and is not perceived as a square. “The area in question is located between Klementinum and the Old Town Square and we permitted ourselves to draw a municipal hall into the plans, which could be a solution to the Old Town Square but it is a purely theoretical idea,” said architect Petr Malinský.
Puddle as an attraction
The adjustment of the surface in Mariánské Square will have one particularity, which will refer to the name of the square, which was named after the destroyed Church of Virgin Mary on the Puddle. “We would like to mark the ground floor of the church and make it fill with water for a few minutes every time it rains and thus remind people of the original name,” said P. Malinský.
Open to the public for the first time
For the first time in its history, Clam-Gallas Palace will be open to the public. Until 1945, the palace served the Gallas family and tenants and after 1945 the Prague City Archives. It will open from Linhartská Street and the public will also have the opportunity to see two gardens, which are hidden inside the area.
Garages outside the area of the church
A three-floor underground car park is then planned under Mariánské Square. The underground garages would not touch the ground floor of the former church, though. The entrance would be from Platnéřská Street at Klementinum and the exit would also in Platnéřská Street along the City Hall. One-way traffic would remain as is today. Traffic from Husova Street and Seminářská Street would be directed along the area of the square so that the square would be not full of cars.
Common feature of Hradčanské and Mariánské Squares
The architects conceived the art of Mariánské Square in a very sober way. They will only add benches and one tree opposite Trautmansdorf Palace. “We will also place a replica of the gas lamp-post from Hradčanské Square,” said Mr. Malinský. The reason behind this intention is the analogy between the two squares – Hradčanské Square is where the head of the state resides,while Mariánské Square is the seat of the head of the City.
Changes in Mariánské Square
As for finances, it is not yet possible to estimate, how much the revitalization of the square and the construction of the underground car-park will cost. “It mostly depends on archaeological research. It is possible that the garages would not be built,” said Milan Richter. The extent of the adjustments is also determined by financial possibilities. Clam-Gallas Palace will definitely be the first, it has not been renovated for several decades. Other places would follow.
Changes in the New City Hall – the seat of the Mayor of Prague and the main city offices
According to current estimates, the adjustments would amount to 200 million crowns. The architects want to return to the original conception of space created by architect Polívka. It would clear the place from unsuitable later adjustments – and it would create space for Prague City Council, which is at present breaking the original line of corridors inside the building. The City Council would reside on the 3rd floor above the mayor’s part of the City Hall. Another plan is to restore the original artistic form of the interiors with original elements and surfaces. What is more, exhibition rooms should be created on the 1st floor (at present suitable only for small exhibitions). Exhibition rooms would then be on the ground floor as well as on the 1st floor and would serve the presentation of the city. The use of offices should also change according to the needs of the City Hall.
Changes in Clam-Gallas Palace
This valuable baroque monument is to change into a multicultural centre, which is estimated to cost about 450 million CZK. A truly revolutionary act should then be the opening of the palace’s parterre to the public in the form of a passage from Husova Street to Linhartská Street. New artistic shops, auction halls, information points and cafés near the courtyard and in the gardens should attract both tourists and Praguers. An auction hall for horses should be a kind of a cherry on top, as at the time of its creation, the parterre served as stalls for horses and carriages. “I think that it would be something really unusual and I do not see why it could be bad,” said Milan Richter. “Horse auctions do not have to take place only in the country, do they.” The first floor of the palace should be reserved for exhibition rooms and a VIP conference suite for the city representation, the second floor should then house the permanent exhibition The Gloss of Baroque Aristocracy, presenting unique baroque monuments of European significance. The ceremonial halls for cultural events, such as Prague Carnevale, would remain.