On September 13, 2022, at 10:00 a.m., the launch of the publication Alfabet – the alphabetical album of architects 1900-2022 took place in the gardens of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic.
“The presidency of the Czech Republic in the Council of the European Union is, among other things, a rare opportunity to recall the significant cultural values of our country, located in the heart of Europe. Those cultural values are not only the world-famous Czech music, literature and visual arts, but also the environment of Czech cities and the Czech landscape, shaped over centuries by the work of our ancestors and our contemporaries.
The publication you are currently holding in your hands commemorates 120 personalities of our architecture, who with their work indelibly inscribed the shape of our cities, created their architectural jewels, individuality and unrepeatable character. You can read from it the entire dramatic history that Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia went through from the beginning of modernity at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries to today, i.e. over a period of approximately 120 years.
I consider it important that, in addition to important Czech and Moravian personalities, important creators from abroad are also remembered here, whose work left significant traces in our country. It is necessary to appreciate the efforts of the authors of the book to at least partially repay the debt of past generations for the period when our belonging to the international dialogue was drastically limited. The publication thus follows the path at the beginning of which Jan Kotěra stood when in 1900 he set himself the goal of connecting our architecture with European architecture. It is a path that we were able to return to after 1989 and thus continue the self-confident efforts of our ancestors in this area. The publication therefore also includes the work of the last three decades, already realized in a free atmosphere and in natural contact with global developments.
I like architecture and have been interested in it for a long time, I have long-standing personal friendships with several well-known architects. I believe – and a lot of research proves it – that when a person lives in a nice environment, he not only becomes more cultured, but it is generally more beneficial for his life. Therefore, we must pay special attention to what and how we build, be inspired by past successes, but also learn from mistakes and failures. I have already written somewhere that I have lived all my life in Brno’s Černý Polý, where there are many buildings of modern architecture, especially the functionalist one. Not only is the famous Villa Tugendhat here, but there is also the famous cafe Era by the architect Josef Kranz. Or the Masaryk elementary school by architect Mojmír Kyselka, which I attended in my childhood. However, for many years in the communist regime I had to watch how many architectural gems deteriorate or are even demolished. Those times are thankfully in the past.
I would like the efforts of many generations of excellent architects, described in this book, to be successfully followed by others working in the new technological and social conditions of the third millennium. This is also where I see the main message of this publication – not only to remember the best of the architecture of the past, but also to continue to develop it in a creative way.”
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic