Onboard the airship, beyond the everyday
Access to the Airship is possible with a valid ticket to the DOX Centre
The access is not barrier-free
DOX Centre for Contemporary Art
Poupětova 1, Prague 7
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In December 2016 a unique architectural intervention opened above the DOX Centre, inspired by the elegant lines of early twentieth-century airships. The 42-metre long steel and wood structure became a meeting point for contemporary art and literature. Its programme includes discussions with leading Czech and international writers, poets, artists, and architects, as well as events for children. The airship is accessible with a valid ticket to the DOX Centre during the gallery's opening hours. Access is not barrier-free.
The construction of this huge wooden airship is proof of the personal conviction of the DOX Centre's director, Leoš Válka, one that is also reflected in the Centre's overall philosophy, that even in today's fast-changing globalized world, where nothing that cannot be calculated, evaluated, or predicted is deemed worth risking, it is possible to do things differently
Leoš Válka had been mulling the idea of creating some sort of "parasitically" structure above the DOX Centre's modern glass and concrete building for several years. In 2013 he contacted internationally renowned architect Martin Rajniš, recipient of the Global Prize for Sustainable Architecture, 2014, to help realize what he calls "a dream of twelve-year old boys". For more than two years, they and experts on wooden structures and steel worked on the design of this 42-metre long and 10-metre wide structure inspired by the shapes of the huge airships that started criss-crossing the skies at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The airship shape is symbolic. The first airships represented the optimistic ideals of the period's unprecedented technological progress. Their impressive monumentality and hypnotic dignity continued to fascinate generations long after they disappeared from the skies. Airships have always personified the eternal human desire to fly as well as a certain utopian ideal. The airship above the DOX Centre bears the name of one of the most familiar names of utopian literature.
The Gulliver Airship opened to the public on 11 December 2016 with the presence of leading contemporary writers Azar Nafisi and Patrik Ouředník.
A traveller to distant lands
A wanderer of the faraway seas and undiscovered lands
An adventurer who repeatedly sets out on voyages into the unknown.
An eternal foreigner and outside in the countries he visits, among the people he meets, as well as to himself.
An explorer who thanks to his travels to unknown lands has a clearer perception of the various aspects of human nature.
A messenger who in his notes on this stays among foreign nations provides a mercilessly satirical and critical perspective on his own human society.
Leoš Válka (1953) left Czechoslovakia in 1981 for Australia, where he started several companies specializing in construction, interior design, and development. In 1996 he returned to Prague for good. With his business partner Robert Aafjes, he initiated and with the financial assistance of additional partners built the largest private exhibition institution in the Czech Republic. DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague's Holešovice district opened in 2008. Leoš Válka is currently the director and chairman of the board. In 2011, based on a nomination by Václav Havel, he received an award from the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic for long-term merit in the area of fine art.
Martin Rajniš (1944) made his mark on the international architectural scene with important projects that combine long-term sustainability, ecology, and the concept of architecture as a tool for developing the community and society. The graduated from Czech Technical University and the Academy of Fine Arts, and in the 1970s worked for SIAL, headed by Karel Hubáček. He, J. Eisler, and M. Masák are the designers of the Máj department store on Národní třída in Prague. He co-designed the transport history pavilion at Expo 1986 in Vancouver. After the revolution, he and S. Fiala, J. Zima, and T. Prouza headed D. A. Studio, with their most important project being the construction of a new centre in Prague's Smíchov district. Over the past two decades, Martin Rajniš's work has changed significantly. He works on smaller structures made with natural materials (wood, stone, glass) and his work is based on the philosophy of "natural architecture". Martin Rajniš is the founder of "Huť architektury Martin Rajniš" [Martin Rajniš Architecture Foundry]. In 2014 he received the prestigious Global Prize for Sustainable Architecture.