HighTech architecture

TV tower in Žižkov
13. 2. 2014

New materials, shiny metals and modern technology that doesn’t hide itself behind a pleasing facade – this is the HighTech style.

The HighTech style is not a recent development; it came into being as far back as the end of the 1960s and also influenced industrial design and fashion with its use of new materials from aviation and astronautics. HighTech structures utilised metals, wavy and perforated surfaces and visible strengthening cables.

Examples of HighTech and integrated structures

It’s easy to recognise HighTech buildings: air-conditioning, piping, escalators, lifts and other technological elements are not hidden inside the building, but climb over the outside, becoming an organic part of the design. HighTech elements have so-called ‘intelligent’ facades utilising solar energy and natural ventilation. Amongst the structures built in this style in the Czech Republic are the plastic-like tower of the Zlatý Anděl shopping centre in Smíchov, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and the headquarters of ČSOB bank in Radlice, designed by Czech architect Josef Pleskot; both of these buildings are in Prague. The HighTech style also inspired Eva Jiřičná with her orangerie at Prague Castle and Congress Centre in Zlín and Petr Parolek in his project for the departures hall at Brno-Tuřany airport.

Old and older, but thoroughly contemporary

When looking back it’s clear that some architects experimented with HighTech elements much earlier. Pavilion Z, a structure with a massive dome that forms part of the Exhibition Centre in Brno, can be viewed as a precursor to this style, which was utilised in the 1970s by architect Martin Rajniš for the Máj/My department store on Národní třída in Prague and by architect Karel Hubáček for the TV transmitter and mountain hotel on Ještěd Mountain. HighTech elements can also be seen on the exterior of the massive TV tower in Žižkov, still the highest building in Prague. Ten massive babies with ventilation ducts instead of faces, designed by artist David Černý, crawl along the tower.

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