Prague Crossroads is undoubedly the most ambitious project of the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97. The foundations for the multicultural centre were laid in 1999 when VIZE 97 Foundation and the National Theatre signed a contract leasing this deconsecrated church to the Foundation for 99 years. This gave the green light for the commencement of preparations for the building’s reconstruction. On 9 January 2002, the Prague 1 district council issued the Foundation with a building permit allowing building work to get underway. That year the first phase – the damp treatment of the exterior walling – was completed in that first year. The next year saw the completion of the second phase, which consisted chiefly of the restoration of the wall paintings. 2003 saw the start of the third phase: the most important and extensive building work which was completed in the summer of 2004. On 5 October 2004 the VIZE 97 Foundation Prize was formally presented in the Prague Crossroads for the first time and the premises started to fulfil their mission.
From the very outset, the VIZE 97 Foundation sought to adopt a sensitive and also modern approach to the restoration of the Prague Crossroads. In this way it has managed to create a unique cultural venue for 440 seated spectators, which offers comfort comparable to premises with a similar purpose. Prague Crossroads now has under-floor heating and internal and external lighting. The British architect of Czech origin, Eva Jiřičná, who designed the interior, played a significant part in this work. In the place where an altar painting once stood, there is now a work by the well-known Czech painter Adriena Šimotová entitled Ecstatic Figure. Kurt Gebauer and Bořek Šípek are among the artists, whose work has shaped the interior of the Prague Crossroads. (More information here).
Thanks to a grant from the World Monument Fund all the windows were reconstructed in the first half of 2007. Previous restoration work had been supported by a grant from the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. However, the VIZE 97 Foundation continues every year to invest part of funds received from sponsorship gifts and from lettings of the Prague Crossroads in the implementation of the continuing restoration work.
At present our main effort is to obtain further funds for the highly costly reconstruction of the roof and facades of the church and the continuing restoration work.
See below for an interesting account of the main part of the third phase of reconstruction took place in 2003 and 2004.