Built from a reinforced concrete skeleton from the School of Chicago, the House at the Black Madonna is truly an engineering feat and delight. Architect Josef Gočár finished the house between 1911 and 1912, adhering to strict codes from the city of Prague regarding the historical building authorities. To try to incorporate a Cubist building into the historical Old Town proved difficult, as surrounding buildings were protected and mainly Baroque in style. Strange as it may seem, Lubos Jeabek from Prague City Council rejected the early designs, as they were more modern than the finished project; the second set of plans were accepted and approved in August of 1911. These plans included more Cubist angles including bay windows with angles, iconic capitals between windows, and Cubist wrought iron railings decorating the balconies. The House at the Black Madonna was originally built for the merchant Frantisek Josef Herbst to be a wholesale department store. The Grand Orient Cafe located inside the House of the Black Madonna is the finest surviving example of a Cubist interior in the world.
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