What should be a piece of prime real estate, a cultural center sitting next to the Eden shopping mall in Prague 10, has been sitting abandoned since 2004. The Prague 10 district has a new report on the condition of the building and is planning the next steps.
Kulturní dům Eden was built in 1980, shortly after the adjacent Vlasta housing project was completed. KD Eden featured a 291 seat cinema, 300 seat restaurant and main hall for 1,500 people. It was designed by architects Hana Pešková and Dalibor Peška.
After the Velvet Revolution, it was a popular venue for visiting music acts. Rammstein played there in 1995. Recently Rammstein was back in Prague, but a bigger venue: Eden Stadium across the street for two days.
Other acts to play KD Eden included the Cardigans, Laibach, Chick Corea Elektric Band II and New Model Army. The Young Gods and the Sugarcubes featuring Björk both played there in 1990.
Now, signs on the front advertise a weekend disco, but that hasn’t taken place in a decade and a half.
Prague 10 Mayor Filip Humplík (ODS) said the building in its current state is quite rightly called “ulcer of Vršovice,” but the situation can’t continue.
“The town hall finally has a static assessment of the building. It is the first of the intermediate steps in the overall solution what to do with KD Eden,” Humplík said on Facebook.
“I’m happy that we have finally moved a step further in this not-so-positive story,” he added.
The report says the building is not a current danger to its surroundings. But that was the extent of the good news.
“[The report] is neither nice nor positive reading. Although the building itself does not directly threaten anyone, it is impossible to allow concerts, exhibitions or social events in it without major reconstruction,” Humplík said.
“But thanks to this report, we will finally be able to decide how to deal with KD Eden to best serve Prague 10. And, of course, we have to solve who pays for the whole thing,” he added.
Humplík has long been concerned with the fate of the building, and say he saw his first western rock concert there, the Young Gods. He ended his Facebook comment with a riff on Neil Armstrong’s words from the moon. “A small step for me, but a big leap for Prague 10,” he said, adding a smiley emoticon.
He gave more details to public broadcaster Czech Television.
“There is bad parking, it does not meet fire regulations, it leaks. There are terrible heat leaks due to the connection of glass to metal. The report speaks very brutally. Height parameters are low. The building according to current standards is actually unrenovatable,” Humplík told Czech Television.
A decision is likely not to be reached until autumn. Many people would like to see it restored, but the costs might outweigh the benefits. Repairs would cost up to 500 million CZK. Demolition and building something new is another option.
“But it also costs money to tear it down. We don’t want to solve it by having offices there. But we don’t want to make rash decisions. It will take a few weeks, months,” Humplík said. Prague 10 Mayor Renata Chmelová (Vlasta) also considers the fate of the building a priority.
Options mentioned include renovating it with the help of an outside investor, turning the land into a new park linking the Eden shopping mall to the adjacent paneláks, and making new offices for the Prague 10 administration.
Though the building can’t be used by the public it was recently used by filmmakers for scenes in a new version of The Kids from Zoo Station to represent Berlin in the 1960 to ’80s.