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CZECH PAVILION AT WORLD EXHIBITION OF BRUSSELS 1958

Out of 45 participating nations, the Czechoslovakian pavilion was given the Exhibition’s highest award - “The Golden Star” - and 2 major awards for its innovative mixture of modern technology, architectural design and function.

The pavilion was designed BY architects Cubr, Hrubý and Pokorný, in simple form recognizing the content, construction and assembly character of a cygnet-like ground plan. The basic architectural idea behind the plan was the contrast between the glazed “airy” sections and the massive cubes of the pavilion.

The greatest acknowledgement was awarded on the basis of a high evaluation not just for using new techniques in constructing dismountable pavilions (a steel frame) in combination with glass and plastics, but also for the perfect interiors made up of original furniture, works of art and utilitarian objects, which became a portent for the so-called „Brussels Style“.

The Czechoslovakian architects demonstrated to the world that following the ideological inventions of the 1950’s, after the imposition of socialist realism, they were able to establish inter-war Czechoslovakian architecture at a world level.

Project designers:

Main designers - Ing. arch. František Cubr, Ing. arch. Josef Hrubý, Ing. arch. Zdeněk Pokorný

Others - arch. J. Cafourek, arch. J. Čermák, arch. J. Kadoun, arch. A. Kropáček, arch. J. Saal, arch. P. Smetana, arch. J. Svoboda, arch. V. Šimice, arch. F. Tröster

THE HIGHS & LOWS OF EXPO 58 (1959 – 2000)

One of the project’s conditions was the requirement that after the World Exhibition of Brussels 1958 had ended, the construction could be dismantled, transported and used in Czechoslovakia with a minimum of loss.

The Czechoslovakian exhibition pavilion was located at today’s Exhibition Ground, what was then known as the Julia Fučík Park for Culture and Relaxation, and the restaurant found its place in Letenské Orchards (Letenské sady), where it was erected in a harmonious location. It was built on the foundations of a former wine press from the end of the 17th century. The observation tower gave a wonderful view of Prague, which was one of the reasons why it became so appreciated by Prague citizens.

In 1964 the building restaurant Expo 58 was listed as a cultural monument, as an example of architecture from the 1950’s. Until 1989 the building was state property. In the framework of privatization, it was auctioned off.

However, with the collapse of public funding after the 1989 “Velvet Revolution” and subsequent private owners, Expo 58 was left an abandoned ruin. Only the steel support remained. The construction was stripped to the bone. Vandals appropriated whatever could removed. Through decay Expo 58 lost all of its beauty and its prominent role within the city. ….

However, the building was not removed from the Cultural monuments list.

A NEW LEASE ON LIFE FOR EXPO 58 (2001 – TO DATE)

Havas Worldwide Prague seized the opportunity to bring the symbol of 20th century Czech creativity back to life and turn it into a symbol of creativity and technology of the 21st century. After a complete reconstruction, which was awarded with The Best Realty 2002 Reconstruction Work Award, the company moved during the month of October 2001.

The reconstruction work on the devastated building began in autumn of 2000. EXPO 58 is a strictly protected building therefore the renovation had to fulfill all the related requirements. The core objective was to respect the originality and uniqueness of the structure. Overall, the EXPO 58 reconstruction took 9 months.         

“Our main aim was to save this house and put it back into the city’s life” said arch. Jiří Kripner, the project’s author. With no doubts, the renovation work successfully fulfilled this goal.

Communication is Havas Worldwide Prague core business, and it is a business of ideas and creativity – they guide everything the company does. With that perspective EXPO 58, one of the key symbols of Czech creativity, is the ideal place for people to foster their creativity.

New Expo 58 Project designers:
Ing. arch. Jiří Kripner - author of complete reconstruction/rebuilding

MgA Barbora Škorpilová (atelier Mimolimit) – reception, creative department, proposals for interior design
ak. arch. David Kopecký - complete conception for lighting, glass divisions
Jan Padrnos – furniture for meeting rooms, complete conception for interior design