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How to Bring a Monument to Speech

Thu, Oct 29, 2020    11am

How to Bring a Monument to Speech - A lecture by Pavla Melková

One of the possible ways of implementing an approach both holistic and active emerges from the actual meaning of a monument, i.e. the transmission of information about the past to the present and the future. The active conception of protection means: to find this information, identify its bearers, protect it, evaluate (revive, develop, elevate) it, and find a method of how to communicate it on individual and social levels. As such, we could therefore speak of a “communicative monument”. How, though, do we “make a monument speak”? How do we interpret the intellectual contents saved within the monument? How do we make it part of a conversation with the present? The various possible forms of this approach, are display both in general and as they are applied in work of the Prague studio MCA atelier of architects Pavla Melková and Miroslav Cikán.

Doc. Ing. arch. Pavla Melková Ph.D. graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Czech Technical Uni¬versity (ČVUT) in Prague, where she also received her habilitation and PhD degree. She also received a Fulbright fellowship to the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University in New York under Professor Kenneth Frampton. She is a practicing architect who is also involved with theoretical writing, independent artwork, and teaching. She has written many books, among them: Experiencing Architecture, 2013, The Humanistic Role of Architecture, 2016, Architecture of Reciprocity, 2020, The Memorial to Jan Palach in Všetaty, 2020. With Miroslav Cikán, she is a partner in the studio MCA atelier. In 2012, she founded the Office for Public Space at the Institute for Planning and Development of the City of Prague, which she headed until 2017. In 2015, she began the course ‘Concept and Interpretation’ at the ČVUT Faculty of Architecture. She has been awarded many significant prizes: the National Prize for Architecture – Architects’ Grand Prix (2012), first prize in the East Centric Arhitext Awards competition (2013), nomination for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award (2013 and 2020), or nomination for the Piranesi Award 2019. For more information, please visit her website here.


Organized as part of the Preservation Lecture Series, an initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP. Free and open to the public. Virtual events hosted on Zoom Webinar do not require an account to attend.

GSAPP is committed to providing universal access to all of our virtual events. Please contact Meredith Brull via email at hp@arch.columbia.edu to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.