Infrastructure will have a big influence on the successful realisation of the ECoC 2015 project and it will support the programme part. Pilsen City and other entities have invested large funds into this metropolis makeover with the help of European grants and realised several projects between 2010 and 2015: the riverbank cultivation Greenways plus revitalisation of Štruncovy sady; reconstruction of Světovar which allows Pilsen to open itself to new directions and trends in contemporary art, and to support social and community activities; the building of Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art; reconstruction of the natural amphitheatre; and last but not least, building the New Theatre with a modern main and studio stage and a backstage for the Philharmonic Orchestra.
The New Theatre
The New Theatre building blossomed just next to the city centre in Jízdecká Street. The impulse for the new building came from the fact that the old Chamber Theatre in Prokopova Street ceased to comply with the requirements for operating a modern theatre and had serious health and safety deficiencies.
The New Theatre building includes a grand auditorium for 500 spectators, a smaller studio room for 150 spectators, main audience spaces, and rehearsal rooms for drama, opera, musicals and ballet as well as for the orchestras and choirs. The operation’s five-storey building is linked with the theatre building by a shared underground basement and by footbridges. The operational building also includes the theatre backstage facilities, theatre club and a shared storage space in the basement.
Pilsen theatre put itself on the European cultural map as the organiser of the International Festival Theatre, which is seen as one of the most important regular events of the theatre season in Central Europe. The Festival has been taking place annually since 1993, presenting the best of current Czech theatre productions as well as remarkable productions from top foreign theatre companies. At the time of Pilsen’s cultural presidency, the Festival will take place in the new building as well as the project’s opening ceremony in January 2015 and several productions of prominent dance and theatre companies (Les Slovaks, the Bubenicek brothers etc.).
More info here.
Relax Centre Štruncovy sady
Štruncovy sady forms a green space between the historical city centre and Pilsner Urquell Brewery at the confluence of the Mže and Radbuza Rivers. The space was revitalised between 2011 and 2012 with the aim of making the city centre more attractive, while also offering visitors sporting and relaxation opportunities that have both a cultural and aesthetic touch. The park has been extended up to the river confluence with access to both rivers, a new footbridge has been built to connect it to the brewery, and more activity areas have been created around the walking and cycling tracks including a freestyle sport centre with multi-purpose playground, a children's playground, in-line ring, fitness track, skateboard centre and a climbing and boulder wall. A new outdoor gallery, exhibition stands and a space for outdoor theatre has opened up this space for other cultural activities.
The new building of Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen
The former Arts and Design Institute (UUD) of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, which has significantly supported the Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015 project since the candidacy period, moved in October 2012 to a new and unique building that looks like an art factory. One year later, the institute was transformed into the Arts Faculty building recognising the legacy of a Pilsen figure, globally recognised designer Ladislav Sutnar.
The new Faculty of Design and Art building is interesting due to the unique disposition of its studios and workshops. The progressive design of the building as an industrial hall reflects the most modern European trends. Its flexible equipment allows a quick change of the studio’s ground plan or reorganisation of the whole gallery space. The southern wall of the building is attached to a natural amphitheatre. By moving away a part of this wall you get a stage with basic infrastructure. The building not only serves the 500 students of the Faculty but is also a sought-after education centre for the new generation of Czech artists and students as well as being another cultural point in the city.
More info here.
Techmania Science Centre
Techmania is an experimental space for curious people that is a combination of informal education and tourist destination. Its aim is to help children and adults develop their relationship with science and technology through their own experiences and playing. It has found a home in the oldest part of the Škoda factory and in its six years of existence has become an important institution for informal education and a favourite leisure alternative.
Recently, the premises have undergone an extensive reconstruction and today comprise two buildings and a spacious car park. The former Škoda canteen in the heritage-listed building has been changed into the first 3D Planetarium in the Czech Republic, opening in November 2013. Since March 2014, visitors have also been welcome in the science centre created by transforming an old factory hall.
The Science Centre’s 10,000m2 premises present natural sciences, renewable energy sources and historical technology. Interactive expositions, science shows, workshops and technical seminars are complemented by state-of-the-art labs and workrooms for the public and schools. The 3D Planetarium offers a variety of popular yet educational 3D/2D films. The whole experience is crowned by the Space exposition and the interactive globe Science on a Sphere.
The Techmania Science Centre was founded by Škoda and the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. Long-term partners include the Pilsen Region and the Municipality of Pilsen. The construction of the Science Centre and 3D Planetarium was funded by the Operational programme called Research and Development for Innovations of the Ministry of Education with a total investment of CZK 576 million.
More info here.
The rebuilding of Lochotín amphitheatre
Pilsen is proud to have the largest outdoor stage and auditorium in the Czech Republic, with a capacity of 20,000 spectators. It was built in the 1950s and hosted the legendary folk & country festival Porta from 1983 until the late 1990s, which was attended by tens of thousands of people every year. Recently it has hosted Majáles student music festivals, Metalfest and summer open-air cinema screenings.
The main aim of the renovation project planned to take place from September 2014 to June 2015 is to protect a significant cultural phenomenon and to create a modern audio-visual centre. The place should take the form of an ancient amphitheatre with a seating capacity of 6,000 places. The new look will open up new possibilities for educational programmes and leisure activities including amateur drama shows, concerts and festivals beyond the scope of the region.