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Portheimka

Chronology: 1995
Investment: 75 000 000 CZK
Area: 3 000 m²
Typology: Other
Location: Prague 5

Authors: Ing. arch. Jaroslav Šafer, Ing. arch. Oldřich Hájek
Investor: mr. Kraus
Relation to Project : Complex project documentation in all its stages including engineering services.

Reconstruction of Dienzenhofer’s summer residence – baroque villa in Prague - Smichov. The building was declared a historic monument in 1958.

The site was originally the location of the oldest Carthusian monastery founded in 1342 by Jan Luxemburg. The monastery was burned down by the Hussites in 1419. It was never renewed and the ruins were gradually taken apart for construction material.

In 1722, a part of the monastery gardens was bought by Kilián Ignaz Dienzenhofer and three years later he started building Potheimka, his family summer residence. The front façade of the one-storey building facing the garden was richly decorated. The main building had a prominent central risalit with triangular front gable, first-storey balcony and front decorated by busts. The ground floor of the building contained a “sala terrene” and the main hall, with marble-clad walls and ceiling with a fresco by Laurent Rainer (Bacchus riding on a goat), was located on the first floor. The central section had two symmetrical wings, originally single-storey with flat roofs, later two-storey. The south wing was demolished in the 1880’s to make room for Saint Wenceslas church. The north wing was preserved.

The residence was sold after Dienzenhofer’s death. In the 19th century, the building was used as the family residence of the Portheims, who owned it until WWII, when it was confiscated because of their Jewish origins. After the war, the garden was open to the public and the summer residence was reconstructed to serve as an exposition space.

The building was reconstructed several times. The last reconstruction was carried out in 1994 with the goal of restoring the dilapidated building and remodeling the interior to suit the new tenant – Radio Classic. In addition to the studios and office space, the reconstruction included the completion and opening of the main exposition hall. The main motive of the reconstruction was the connection of the broadcasting studio with the exposition space by a large glass panel. In addition to new technical rooms and editorial offices, the reconstruction also included the refurbishing of the oval hall with frescoes on the first floor of the Portheim villa used as a concert hall.

The radio closed down in 2000 and since then the villa has been used by other tenants. Today, it belongs to Prague National House and houses a gallery and the President cafe.

Prague