Reconstruction of Besední dům

D114

During the 1980s, when plans were being made to declare Brno city centre an urban conservation area, there was a focus on restoring some of the long-neglected historical monuments in the city centre in order to create a dignified representation of its cultural institutions. The Neo-Renaissance Besední dům, which was characterized by the rustication of its entire façade and its monumental decorative parapet with balustrade and sculptural decoration, was built in the years 1870–1873 as the home of the social and cultural life of the Czech people. It was constructed according to the plans of the Austrian architect Theofil von Hansen, who was one of the most prominent architects in Vienna in the second half of the 19th century. This palace, which stood at the corner of the streets Besední and Husova that were part of the Brno ring road, was at the centre of musical events taking place in the city. More than a hundred years after its completion, it was reconstructed for the needs of what was then the Brno State Philharmonic. As with Klein’s Palace on the square náměstí Svobody, which was renovated for the Young Artists Gallery and the Jiří Mahen Library in the same period, the design for the restoration of the Besední dům in 1987 was drawn up by the architects Jiří Mikšík and Jindřich Kaňek.

 

The aim of the reconstruction, which was not completed until 1995, after the fall of communism, was to preserve as much as possible of the original substance and architectural tone of the three-storey building inspired by the Roman Renaissance. Apart from securing the structural integrity of the building, it was also necessary to preserve and restore the original decorative art details, while at the same time creating suitable conditions for the modern operation of the Philharmonic orchestra, its administrative functions, and a café on the ground floor. One of the requirements of the investor, the Brno State Philharmonic, was the functional separation of these operational parts so they would not negatively influence each other. Therefore, a new main entrance for guests was created leading from the outdoor courtyard adjoining that of the neighbouring Pražák Palace, which has always formed a single urban unit together with the Besední dům. At the end of the 1980s, the Pražák Palace was also reconstructed and later became the main residence of the Moravian Gallery. The slightly set-back courtyard, separated from the street, thus became the entrance and a relaxation area for visitors. The five entrances on the ground floor of the atrium, separated by embossed half-columns, were fully glazed, giving the ceremonial foyer with dressing rooms and the entrance to the café a brightly illuminated character. The original two-storey banquet hall with its coffered ceiling and a decoratively cantilevered gallery was sensitively adapted to create the main concert space.

 

The Besední dům is still the home of the Brno Philharmonic and accommodates its music programme, rehearsal rooms and administrative headquarters. Due to the demands of more space and the operational limitations of this listed historical building, the city is in the process of building a large music complex with a concert hall very close to the Besední dům on a vacant site on Veselá Street.

 

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Name
Reconstruction of Besední dům

Date
1987

Architects
Jindřich Kaněk, Jiří Mikšík

Trail
Centre Trail 1946–1989

Code
D114

Type
Refurbishment, adjustment

Address
Komenského náměstí 534/8, (Město Brno), Brno, Střed

Public transport
Komenského náměstí (TRAM 4; BUS 38,39,89,95)

GPS
49°11'46.5"N 16°36'15.0"E