Revitalisation of Prague Market in Holesovice. Prague, Czech Republic.
por Juan Carlos Belloso
Prague Market (Pražská tržnice), also known as Holešovice Market, is a historical area of buildings located in the southern part of Holešovice, the emerging arts and cultural district and trendy residential area in Prague, near the Vltava River.
Originally built as the central slaughterhouse of Prague, it was closed in 1983 and converted into the Prague Market in 1985, the largest market in central Prague. With an area of approximately 110,000 square meters and characterised for the industrial and Art Nouveau architecture of its 19th century listed buildings, Prague Market is a popular destination mainly among locals looking for the fresh produce market with the largest selection of vegetables in Prague as well as for all kind of items such as clothes, bags, shoes, electronics, household items and souvenirs.
Prague Market is a unique complex as regards its historical importance for the city of Prague.
However, after 2000, and especially after the floods of 2002, serious consideration began to be given to the need for revitalisation of Prague Market. Vietnamese stalls (especially those selling clothing, shoes and accessories) were starting to lose their clientele and also the need for the preservation of the historical buildings of the complex (registered in 1993) and the whole area became more and more accentuated.
Many buildings and public spaces remain of a very low standard and the overall deterioration of the Prague Market complex is also reflected in the overall public’s perception about the place.
However, despite all the uncertainties and problems associated with the management of the market, its character slowly started to change, attracting particularly the young cultural and alternative scene to the complex, with new cultural activities such as the new circus Jakta 78, various kinds of design markets that began to be held in the abandoned buildings, a nightclub or the Trafo Gallery, an exhibition space specialising in contemporary art.
Also, thanks to the change in leadership in the City Council, initial steps on the revitalization process of the place have been put in place.
One of the first steps by the new coalition has been to create the position of “Prague Market curator”, in charge of communication between the different entities at the market and of the coordination of local activities on one hand, and communication with the City on the other hand. The second important step was to begin work on the revitalisation of Prague Market itself, starting with the removal of the temporary and permanent stalls that were built in the streets along the main corridor of the market without the appropriate building permits.
Work is also currently underway in relation to the modification and coordination of signs and signboards, to the reconstruction of public spaces (especially along the main corridor after the removal of stalls), new traffic regulations within the market complex and the coordination of events in the public space.
In addition to immediate and temporary solutions, the Prague City Council has also commissioned a study to propose a long-term solution for the development of Prague Market from a functional and economic-administrative perspective.
The Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) is currently preparing a Verification Study aimed at proposing a mix of functional uses for the individual buildings at Prague Market, financially verifying various models of mixed functions and proposing their appropriate implementation within 20 years, including the necessary building repairs and reconstruction.
In this regards, Juan Carlos Belloso has been commissioned to develop an initial quick diagnosis to provide initial recommendations on the revitalization of Prague Market area to support the feasibility study and the revitalization process itself.