Address and directions
110 00 Prague (Praha), Czechia
Public transport: Dlouhá třída
Today's use: Administration and restaurant
#Administration building #Prague (Praha) #1934
This sober yet massive and striking building, cladded with granite, shows the architect's increasing interest in slowly changing elements of the international modernist construction methods towards a more neoclassical style. A typical element is in the strict arrangement of windows and the symmetrical structure of the facade. The narrow block facing the Vltava embankment is accompanied by the two long side blocks. These only reach up to the seventh floor, giving space for a roof terrace. The very elegant touch of the house is achieved with the two semi-circular porches at the corners, used by the café area. The former insurance company's name Merkur is still embellishing the entrance.
In central Prague it is interesting, how it was possible to built modern houses, because most of the sites were covered with buildings for a long time. On this website is shown one postcard with the streets name before 1918 called Alžbětinská třída. All houses to the left infront of the bridge were demolished from the beginning of the 1930s until the 1950s to give more space and this western part of the street became a place for larger buildings. The palace Merkur, ordered by the insurance Merkur, was the first building in this line. The insurance handed over the project to the architect Jaroslav Fragner in 1934. Fragner planned a sister building on the other site, to create a kind of gate leading from the bridge in Prague city centre. He also designed a building two floors higher facing the embankment along Vltava river. At the end he was able to built a house with "only" eight floors.
The former well known café Vltava on the ground and first floor was used differently and now is home to a restaurant. Especially known by Czechs was the singer Karel Gott (1939-2019), who started his career in this café in 1958.