Interwar Garages in the Czech Lands

This publication looks at how building culture evolved and transformed over the first half of the twentieth century in relation to the rise and spread of automobile culture. The automobile not only ushered in new ways of understanding time, space, and personal freedom, it accelerated the pace of globalisation and industrialisation, transformed the structure of urban and rural landscapes, and inspired a reappraisal of the process of creating and the very substance of architecture, as brand-new typological structures emerged in direction connection with automobile use – vast manufacturing grounds, small body shops, automobile repair shops, automobile showrooms, roadside cafés, petrol stations, and, of course, parking garages.

Observing the early development of such structures, how they spread and became widely established, provides special insight into the building culture that coincided with these developments, but it also sheds light on certain timeless issues and serves as an example of how new technological, spatial, and social requirements became organically integrated into the theory of modern architecture that was emerging with these developments. In these times of economic crisis and under the ethos of sustainable development, some valuable lessons can be drawn from two other dimensions of this subject: the need to straddle considerations of economy – both of finance and form – and the concurrent demands of elegance and comfort; and the emergence of a model approach to universal construction and layout, which was ideal for gradual adaptation or conversion to new use.

The book was prepared as part of work on the project ‘Industrial Topography of the Czech Republic – the Adaptive Re-use of Industrial Heritage’ supported by the NAKI programme (National and Cultural Identity) of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. It was printed with the support of a grant from SGS (the Student Grant Fund) of the Czech Technical University in the area of Sustainable Development and Historical Experience.


Petr Vorlík, Interwar Garages in the Czech Lands, Prague 2011.

136 pages; Czech, English summary; ISBN 978-80-01-04924-2 / translation Robin Cassling / scientific review Henrieta Moravčíková / graphic design Jan Forejt / typesetting and print Studio Element / published by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage FA CTU Prague