Rehabilitation of the National Liberty Memorial in Hrabyně and Its Transformation into the World War II Memorial (2008)

The National Liberty Memorial in Hrabyně is located near the E 11 highway, currently the only road connecting the significant cultural and economic centres of the Moravian-Silesian Region with the rest of the Czech Republic.

The Hrabyně Memorial was founded in 1980 as the Ostrava Operation Memorial. After the political changes resulting from the events of 1989 the monument became the National Liberty Memorial commemorating not only the victims of the World War II from North Moravia and Silesia who were members of the domestic or foreign resistance, but also the soldiers who lost their lives when liberating this area as well as other key moments of the Czech struggle for liberty in the course of the 20th century.

The premises of the Memorial consist of a large parking lot, an administration building, an area for the enlistment oath ceremonies, and the monumental structure of the Memorial itself with a symbolic cemetery.

The aim of the project was to repair and renovate the structure of the Memorial which currently houses an exhibition installed in 1992. The structural and technical condition of the Memorial and particularly its technical installations required an urgent and extensive repair work. The heating system has undergone a major change – the electrical heating was replaced with gas within the entire structure. The intention to minimise the energy performance of the structure has been substantially complicated by the fact that the Memorial was built from monolithic reinforced concrete which cannot be insulated from the outside. Other technologies have been selected instead, and the thermal insulation was installed inside the structure, between the heated and non-heated area.

The architectural design was limited by the existing structure of the Memorial, as developed by Rudolf Spáčil, Josef Kupka and Miloš Axman. The new design respects the original architectural composition of the construction and does not modify the mass and material concept of the building in any manner.

The main entrance to the Memorial has remained at the original location, i.e. between the two cuboids. Minor adjustments have been made only to the doorway area in order to position the existing art metal gate in front of the doorway, as originally intended. The stepped corridors on both sides of the Memorial have been modified in order to allow wheelchair access to the main exhibition area which was created by connecting the then cinema room with the area that is currently used for sliding the projection screens. The 2nd and 3rd floor is now connected with the ground floor by a newly installed hydraulic elevator. An additional, newly created display area was established by extending the floor area of the 3rd floor into the upper part of the cuboids. This new area has been used for a war scenes display featuring various light and sound effects.

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