Perhaps there is no better example of a space that was shaped by fast changing socio-political events than the former communist Federal Assembly building standing on an isolated island separated from life of the city by multiple-lane highway border.
The history of its space went through turbulent changes affecting the structure of the inner life of the building as well as its architecture and visual environment. The significant thresholds of the eras are clearly legible on both the exterior and the interior spaces. We can still see the building of 1935 Stock Exchange, the symbol of free economy of democratic pre-war Czechoslovakia standing as a strong base, squeezed by the columns and overshadowed by the taller structure of the federal assembly building extension, that is now a symbol of communist oppression. The building was converted to the headquarters of Radio Free Europe shortly after the Velvet revolution and now belongs to the National Museum.
The Extension works designed by architect Prager began the same year as the Prague Quadrennial, last year of culturally rich and seemingly free sixties, 1967. The attendants of the symposia of Porous borders will have a unique opportunity to share the very same space where many oppressive and important laws were passed and where important history making figures such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, George Bush and Queen Elizabeth delivered their speeches.
photo by Kristýna Císařová