Restoration of Industrial Palace Wing Underway at Prague Exhibition Grounds

Vít Hassan

Workers have started erecting a new steel structure for the partially completed wing of the Industrial Palace at the Prague Exhibition Grounds. The wing was damaged by a fire in 2008, and the restoration began in February 2022. The basic skeleton of the building is expected to be completed by the end of this year, following which the roof structure and façade will be installed. The restoration process will continue until 2025 at an estimated cost of CZK 2.64 billion.

Construction workers are currently repairing the technological channels in the underground area, removing the original steel structure of the central hall, and improving the concrete system. They have begun repairing the vitrages and other artistic elements as well. The steel structure is the backbone of the entire above-ground part of the building, and its assembly will continue over the next few months.

David Čech, the project manager from Metrostav DIZ, which leads the consortium of companies repairing the palace, stated that the reinforced concrete structures on the left wing had been completed, which will serve as preparation for the installation of the steel structure. Workers are repairing the technological collectors in the central hall and the right wing and building new ones. They also improve the steel structure by replacing damaged parts, adding new ones, and reinforcing the original design. Restorative work on the plastering elements, carpentry, stucco work, and others has also begun.

The restoration process has encountered some unexpected challenges, including the poor condition of the supporting concrete structure in the central hall. After repairing the ceiling, workers will remove the pavement and fix it. The original steel structure in the main entrance must be dismantled, repaired, and then reinforced to increase its load-bearing capacity, as it will support new technologies that were not previously present. In the north of the central nave, a part of the structure has already been repaired and painted with a final color. The restoration will proceed southwards, with some parts of the system needing to be replaced due to damage.

Workers have already dug a pit for the technical facilities behind the original, undamaged wing of the palace. The original foundations of the court have also been secured to prevent movement. The area behind the palace initially had garage extensions, which have been demolished, and only air ducts will be on the surface.

The restoration of the Industrial Palace wing is a complex and challenging project, but it is necessary to preserve this architectural landmark’s historical and cultural significance. Completing the restoration work will ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the exhibitions and cultural events held in this grand structure.