Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Three Fountains in Pilsen, Republic Square in Czech Republic by Ondrej Císler
February 11th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
Fountains develop the monumental spatial concept of the Square, which was founded by the Premysl Otakar the II., the fifth King of Bohemia in the Middle Ages. They complete the cadence of proportions and material order that was first used on the 1681 Plague Column in one of the four corners. Names of the three fountains are freely inspired by the Coat of Arms of the city. The concept defines architecture of the sculptural spouts as Signs in space, reviving the original concept of “wasserkasten”, big bowls accumulating water for public usage. Poems by Petr Borkovec are prepared to be inscribed in gold on the surface of the fountains in 2015, the year when Pilsen will become European Capital of Culture.
After the decision by the jury in a two-round architectural competition for three fountains for the centre of Pilsen in 2005, the way to the implementation of the project did not open for the designer of the winning proposal Ondrej Císler. On the contrary, what followed were years of uncertainty, of convincing the political representatives involved as well as the wider public. Císler’s project, very positively received by the jury, continued being rejected by the local structures.
This may be explained by the fact that the historical town of Pilsen is known rather for significant industry than for a rich cultural tradition. Nevertheless, a more positive approach of the local populace to modern artistic manifestations was augmented in September 2010 by the decision to name Pilsen a European Capital of Culture for 2015. However, the long process of the approval of the new fountains preceded this milestone and turning point and became a certain catalyser of public discussions on the role of art in public space.
The three fountains were placed in the historical context of the Square of the Republic. In the centre of this oblong space, the Gothic Cathedral of St Bartholomew towers; a Baroque Plague Pole is located on one of the corners. The new artefacts should be placed on the remaining three corners of the square on the sites of the unpreserved mediaeval fountains. The magnificence and grandeur of the location formed the fundamental criteria for defining the problem.
The architect Císler found inspiration for his design in the city’s coat-of-arms. From it, he adopted the heraldic figures of a camel, grey-hound and an angel as the initial idea points. Through these historical allusions, he endeavoured to newly create the identity of the place. Nonetheless, his manuscript, straddling the space between sculpture and architecture, only indicated an abstract form, which provides enough room for individual imagination.
The monumental scale of the fountains sensitively corresponds to the proportions of the space and does not attempt a dominant position with respect to the monuments around it. In the same way, the material and colour solutions try to engage in a dialogue with the existing buildings. Moreover, the fountains enrich the open space with the important element of water. In the form of Císler’s angel, camel and hound, the space has been augmented by an accent of the contemporary and at the same time by an expression of continuity and tradition.
Contact Ondrej Císler
Category: Public Art
2 Responses to “Three Fountains in Pilsen, Republic Square in Czech Republic by Ondrej Císler”