The history of how Letohrad’s original Cultural Center building came about dates to 1959, when JZD Mistrovice began the building’s construction according to a design by Slovak architect Štefan Imrich with the company Pozemní stavby Pardubice subsequently completing it. The construction itself took 10 years. The Letohrad Cultural Center was officially opened on July 6, 1969 with a performance of the play Lucerna by Alois Jirásek as rendered by the amateur troupe Kolár.
The Cultural Center’s main space was its theater auditorium for 414 spectators, which also served as a movie theater. The first floor housed a ballroom and a club room. Inside the building, there were also spaces for a library, a puppet stage, a dance club, a restaurant, and a wine bar.
“Between 2005 and 2016, three studies for the building’s reconstruction were drawn up; none of these were realized. The Cultural Center performed its functions in its original form up until 2019, when it was closed on account of its poor technical condition,” stated Peter Fiala, Letohrad’s mayor, describing the building’s history. “In 2017, we appealed to three ateliers for designs for a future solution for the building; subsequently, in 2018, we announced a public commission for the actual project documentation for the Letohrad Cultural Center’s reconstruction. In 2021, we announced a tender for the building’s construction. The company Atelier 99 from Brno was selected to draw up the project documentation on the basis of an architectural study by the Brno atelier architekti.in. The building was then constructed by the company VCES a.s.,” concluded Fiala.
The reconstruction involved not only the Cultural Center building itself, but it also significantly changed its surroundings. The reconstructed Cultural Center now offers a modernized theater auditorium with a capacity of 333 seats, a newly built ballroom for 206 guests above the foyer, functional catering facilities, and sufficient space for performers and Cultural Center staff. In the side wings, there are classrooms for the local Czech School of the Arts, which also has use of the new Chamber Auditorium, which is connected to the Cultural Center by a connecting corridor. The spaces on the Cultural Center’s ground floor include a rehearsal studio, storage areas, and technical facilities. The construction modifications to the outside of the Cultural Center allow for a fluid, wheelchair accessible entry to the building. The parking lot, which will serve more than just Cultural Center visitors, also underwent reconstruction – as did the bus stop and the orchard, with its completed alterations. The Cultural Center’s overall vicinity was helped fundamentally by eliminating adjacent garages, which had been built by the city before the reconstruction began.
The overall costs for reconstructing the Cultural Center amounted to CZK 249.5 million, with the city paying this amount from its budget and previously granted loans. The city of Letohrad has been promised a grant from the State Environmental Fund ČR in the amount of CZK 17.7 million as a contribution towards the energy savings from the original building.
The Cultural Center’s reconstruction began in October 2021. “In the project’s first phase, we demolished the building’s entry area and all internal partitions and floors. In April 2022, we began building the front part of the Cultural Center and the addition of the Chamber Auditorium for the Czech School of the Arts,” stated Miloš Emmer, Sales Director for VCES a.s., describing the project. “In September 2022, work began on the mains systems, plasterwork, and floors. In January 2023, we started installation of the acoustic cladding and work on the final surfaces, facades, and landscaping,” concluded Emmer.
Letohrad’s residents will already be able to inspect the Cultural Center’s new spaces Friday and Saturday afternoon as part of its Open House, which culminates in celebratory concerts. The first theatrical performances in the new spaces have been planned after this, on September 15 and 16.