The Werkbund Baba 1932 project has a set of promotional items inspired by a walk around Baba

Umbrella, mobile phone holder, gloves sliding on the screen of the mobile application, elegant Thermos drinks bottle … An example from a set of promotional items inspired by a walk around Baba. As more activities are finally expected to be launched this year to present the award-winning Baba area, both for high school students and the general public, and there will certainly be more opportunities to obtain one of the courses. What about a photo from a walk among the unique villas on Baba?

Follow, where you will learn the details in time.

A new conceptual study on the Baba revitalisation is entering its fourth phase

A meeting took place at the beginning of January 2022 between the conceptual study sponsor (Institute of Planning and Development of the Capital City of Prague), the study developer (architectural studio ARCHUM architects), project partners (Prague 6 and Prague specific samples of road surfaces have already been submitted for assessment with reference to the site’s original character, however, taking into account the current needs of residents and visitors and the specifics of the site. The designs of public lighting will complement the character of the settlement undisturbedly at the time of its creation; however, they meet the new parameters of economical lighting for public spaces with the possibility of regulating light radiation and smog.

There is a consensus that these necessary adjustments should be modern, minimalist in nature, but designed with respect for Baba’s historical heritage.

The study’s origin is currently entering its fourth phase, which is the project’s final presentation at a public meeting with the area’s inhabitants.

Complete information on the conceptual study at

The Baba settlement exhibition at the exhibition of Czech Modern Architecture from Art Nouveau to the Present

The Baba settlement had a separate exhibition at the exhibition, including refurbished villa models exhibited only on exceptional occasions.

The exhibition of “Czech Architecture from Art Nouveau to the Present” is the largest modern architecture exhibition in the Czech Republic in the last 20 years. It is held in honour of the 150th anniversary of the birth of architect Jan Kotěra (* December 18th, 1871), who is considered a leading figure in modern Czech architecture and from which the development line of domestic construction originates from Art Nouveau to the present. More than 500 of the most important architectural works and almost 300 architects working in our territory from the end of the 19th century to the present will be presented on the area of over 2,000 square metres of the Prague Castle Riding Hall.

The results of discussions with the public on the Baba housing estate revitalisation will be published in the latter half of October 2021

30. 9. 2021 and 7. 10. 2021 As part of the participatory process, an authors’ feedback meeting regarding the new conceptual study on the Baba housing estate revitalisation took place with the inhabitants of the Baba area. Therefore, the authors gave the public the opportunity to comment on the intended changes and modifications related to transport, waste, road restoration, lighting with an emphasis on improving Baba’s public space not just for its inhabitants, but also for visitors to this award-winning locality. There was a large turnout for the debate which was very dynamic and occasionally stormy, but the authors managed to bring together a large number of opinions and suggestions, which they will continue to work on in the study of the site’s revitalisation. More information at //

Revitalisation of public spaces in the Baba housing estate in Prague – Results of distance participatory discussion with the public (Spring 2021) Revitalisation of public spaces in the Baba housing estate in Prague – Results of distance participatory discussion with the public (Spring 2021)

You can download the analysis of the first questionnaire survey on Baba by using the following link There are also links to Internet map applications, which you can embed on your site as an “iframe” – they contain raw data from the questionnaire.

Further work will now be carried out on the analysis data and the designers will incorporate it into their designs. A meeting on the first work draft in a public hearing is expected to take place in September.

Survey for a conceptual study of the revitalisation of the Baba Housing Estate and its surroundings

The survey is available at:

You can fill it out 17–28 March.

How can you get involved in the design for the transformation of the Baba Colony?

We would like to invite you to fill out a survey related to the modifications of the public space at Prague’s Baba Colony. The Institute of Planning and Development of the Capital of Prague in cooperation with Archum architekti s.r.o. are preparing a conceptual study for modifications to the public space. The results of the survey will be used for creating the working proposal for modifications to the intended area and for proposals in other places.

The results of the survey will be sent to you in the second half of April 2020 by e-mail or will be available at

Participation coordinator

Lukáš Hanus

is prepared to handle further questions on behalf of the design team.

Webinar on public involvement in a conceptual study for the revitalisation of the Baba Colony

There is now a recording of the entire webinar on the IPR Prague website. We will also make all other information and materials available here.

On Tuesday, 9 February 2021, the first information webinar was held to engage the public in the proposal for the revitalisation of public spaces at the Baba Colony. The Institute of Planning and Development of the Capital of the City of Prague combined the planned and necessary reconstruction of utility networks in this part of the city with the comprehensive renewal of elements of public space, local permeability and the creation of infrastructure for possible tourism. The meeting was prepared to acquaint the local public with the project’s design and management team and to take questions. Public involvement in spatial planning, also known as participation, is as much about communication and discussion as it is about planning itself. Introductory video presentations by architect Martin Špičák from IPR Prague, Simona Vladíková from Prague City Hall’s Department of Heritage Care and Šimon Vojtík from the Archum Architekti studio were followed by two rounds of discussions with the audience.

The goal of the webinar was to explain what conceptual studies can bring and how important it is to involve the local public in the process of their creation. Naturally, the conceptual study cannot solve   the many problems in the area raised by participants at the meeting. The city is a complex organism in which many different administrators – the city districts, City Hall and its service organisations – take care of the elements of public space. However, the study is a path to friendlier, more comfortable and dignified public space that complements the character of a cultural monument. At the next level, participation can help popularise many other topics and help address them.

Civic participation in urban planning is not yet a common part of city development, though the situation is significantly improving. A certain distrust on the part of the participants in the possibility of the study and the fulfilment of the objectives, which was evident from the discussion, is therefore understandable. From the point of view of the participants in the discussion, the area of Prague’s Baba Colony suffers from many problems, only some of which are in the power of the study to resolve. However, there was more or less agreement that the modifications to the street network, ensuring better access to the landscape, creating new and cultivating existing public spaces, together with non-disruptive service for visitors can be beneficial for the whole area, especially for its inhabitants.

In the coming months, we will work with the public to reach an understanding of the problems, values and opportunities for the development of public space so that we can propose the best possible solutions. A question that arose directly from the discussion was whether there would be some form of local referendum or other voting on the study. The team of conceptual study implementers tried to explain that the systematic participation of the public in a multi-stage discussion ensures more than a referendum on a professional solution could offer. It guarantees the public a participatory process that not only takes into account their needs, but also provides a clear explanation of how architects, urban planners, water managers and politicians were brought into the study. The public will be able to influence both the proposed amendments and comment on the draft version of the proposal. Participation is not about voting on the least acceptable proposal, but about understanding the needs of the public and translating this comprehension into proposals for concrete implementations. 

Another follow-up step is a survey as a basis for understanding the public’s approach or view of the current state of the Baba Colony. It will take place in late February/early March 2021. It will contain emotional maps (a record of problems, values and opportunities of public space on the map) and closed questions testing pre-identified problems. But most importantly, it will contain open questions providing interested parties with enough space to explain their ideas in detail. Residents of the Baba Colony will find a link to the internet survey in their mailboxes, while others can find it on the website of the Prague 6 district, the Prague Institute of Planning and Development website, on social media and elsewhere.

The success for the Czech Republic is the appointment of prof. Vladimír Šlapeta by a member of the German Werkbund.

At the beginning of November 2020, professor Vladimír Šlapeta was elected a member of the German Werkbund in Berlin. The Presidency of Werkbund thus appreciated his lifetime achievements in the legacy of the Union of Czechoslovak Works, which was a sister organization of the German Werkbund from 1913 until its abolition in 1948, as well as the processing of the history of the exhibition colony in Baba in 1932.


Mrs. Suzanne Munk Ragen, the daughter of the investors of the first villa in Baba, the Munks, provided her authentic text entitled “The house in Baba where I was born.”

By Suzanne Ragen

It is odd to write a memoir about a house that has no first hand memory for me. But I was born from that house and left it suddenly when I was two years old. It still stands on a hill overlooking the fairy tale city of Prague. It feels like a living part of my past because of stories told to me by my parents and photographs they have saved. There is even a picture of my father proudly holding a shovel on a barren hilltop, ready to take the first step in breaking ground for his family’s new house. As an adult, I have visited the house several times. The most recent visit was in the summer of 2007, when Brooks and I were there with our nine grandchildren and three children and their spouses.

In the early 1930s my father was one of the founders of the Bauhaus style Werkbund development named Baba. The name comes from an old Bohemian word of affection for grandmother, as the hilltop site has ancient historical and mythical memories. The group of men who developed Baba were largely intellectuals and businessmen who considered them enlightened representatives of the new Czechoslovakian democratic state. My father told of the great enthusiasm among the founders, and lively political discussions over the tops of the low garden fences.

The cubist architecture of all the houses was very modern, very avant-garde at the time. Prague was famous for its pastel baroque and rococo and art nouveau buildings, all curves and elaborate Hapsburg statuary, oddly shaped windows and balconies and pointed roofs. Our house had straight lines, a flat roof, huge plate glass windows and was covered with smooth white painted concrete. The interior was also minimalist, with built in cabinets and clean open spaces. All the houses around it were a similar geometric aesthetic, but with different sizes and floor plans. No two were alike because they had different architects and were built for specific families. My parents hired Josef Fuchs and Otokar Fischel as their architects. Baba was the only Werkbund housing estate in Europe that was financed by private clients. These were single family dwellings with individual but harmonizing landscaping.

My parents, Nadia and Frank Munk, moved into the just completed house in 1933. My brother Michael was born in 1934. I was born in 1937. By then, those lively political discussions over the garden fences had taken on a dark and anxious tone. In Germany Hitler was preparing to take over Europe. In May of 1938 he invaded and annexed Austria and on September 30 of that year Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain and Daladier met in Munich and agreed to cede one third of Czechoslovakia to Germany, the infamous “Munich Agreement”. Prime Minister Chamberlain returned to a cheering England, declaring that they had insured “peace in our time”.

IN April 1939 German tanks rolled into Prague and up the hill to Hradcany Castle, the seat of Czech government. There was a late snowfall that day. My father was one of many Czechs who stood silently, with arms crossed, some in tears, to watch the tanks go by. The lead driver unbelievably asked for directions, and my father recalls that no one replied, pretending not to hear or to understand German. (A strange aside here is that Brooks and I were rummaging through old LIFE magazines in a book store about ten years ago, and we found an April 1939 issue which showed just that scene, as it was so often described by my father.)

It was becoming clear to my parents that they would need to leave the country because my father was very involved in the Czech government. He was also a Jew but that was not the most immediate reason to be worried at that time. My father wrote in his memoirs: “One day in May a man came to my office. After closing the door carefully, he showed me the ID card of the former Czech Secret Service. I was flabbergasted: this was two months after the German invasion and to identify oneself this way was out of the question. The man then said: ‘I am to show you a little paper.’ And he showed me an order by the Gestapo to arrest all members of the Economic Committee of the Socialist Party. My name was on top since I had served as its chairman. He then left, but I did not have to be told anything more.”

Complicated arrangements were hastily made with the help of the Red Cross and a Quaker friend, Beatrice Wellington, as well as the Rockefeller Institute in New York, where my father had been a Rockefeller fellow. A reservation was made for the four of us on a Kindertrain that was taking Jewish children out of Prague through Holland to England.

We left our house on Baba hill on May 20, 1939. It was a Saturday and my parents told the cook and nanny that we were going away for the weekend. My mother told her mother and sisters the same thing, not knowing if she would ever see them again. My parents each carried a small suitcase. My father’s was a round black leather bag with brown leather trim and his initials FM. I still have that case. Michael and I were each allowed one toy; my choice was a large wooden decorated egg that held many tiny toys. I still have that egg, but the tiny toys are long gone.

We took a taxi to the Woodrow Wilson train station, and in only 30 minutes the train reached the border of Germany. That border was policed by the dreaded SS in their black uniforms with the skull and bones emblem on their caps. A most anxious moment for my parents was the detailed examination of our exit documents. My father called this the most stressful moment of his long life. But my father had once done a favor for a station agent there, and he managed to speed us through, by insisting that the train continue on schedule. Our long journey to America had begun.

My parents would not see the house on Baba they had built with such high hopes for many years. Soon after we left, it was taken over by a German officer’s family. When my father did visit Prague during his work for UNRRA after the war, he found it vacant and with several bullet holes in the living room walls. We have never learned the story behind them.

I have been to that house in the 1970s with Brooks and my parents. We walked the streets, and my parents told us of the excitement of building their house and helping to plan the whole development. They were amazed at how the trees had grown and the gardens filled out. They said that the houses looked about the same as when they left. They told us about their neighbors, quite a few of whom were still there for us to meet. They had thought that they would return to Prague after the war, but when they learned that the Communists would be occupying the country, they decided to stay in America. They then sold the Baba house.

After my father died in 1999, Brooks and I took my mother to Prague for what turned out to be a final reunion with her five sisters and one brother. The week before our arrival, my Uncle Vladimir died; his funeral was postponed until we arrived. On the calendar by his bed, he had written “Nadia arrives today”.

In the summer of 2007 we visited Prague with our children and nine grandchildren. A few months before our trip, I wrote a letter addressed only to THE FAMILY WHO LIVES AT 5 NA VRSKU STREET, as I did not know the name of the people who lived in our old house. I promptly received a response by Email from the son of the widow who lives there that we would be welcome to visit her. A date and time were set and all 17 of us arrived in front of that house on Baba hill in our little private bus. Pani Hoffman was waiting for us with both her sons and their wives and two grandsons. It was a warm and sunny afternoon. She had prepared delicious little sandwiches, Czech pastries with poppy seeds and apricots, fruit juice and tea and the family entertained us in the charming garden. Then she invited us inside.

The interior of the house had changed little since our previous visits. In fact, little had changed since the photos from my parents’ time. We all climbed the outdoor stairs to the roof terrace to admire the view of Prague. We could see those fairy tale spires, Prague Castle, and the Vltava River with its many bridges. I remembered a photo of my father on that same terrace, wearing a suit and a hat and leaning on the iron railing, full of pride and hope.

The children understood that I was born there, but that must have seemed like ancient history to them. What really impressed them was when one of the Hoffman grandsons removed a painting from the wall and showed them a bullet hole put there during the Nazi years. It had been carefully preserved as a little piece of the history of the house on Baba hill.

Letter EHL sites Werkbund Estates in Europe 1927-1932

On this date, the European Commission recognised the Baba estate as a European He

Dear Mr. Herbert Medek,
I have the pleasure to inform you that the European Commission has awarded the Werkbund

Estates in Europe the European Heritage Label.

The European Heritage Label aims to enhance people’s, and especially young people’s,
understanding and appreciation of the European Union’s shared and diverse heritage and
contributes to strengthening European citizens’ sense of belonging to the Union.
Raising awareness of the European significance of the Werkbund Estates in Europe and
raising the profile and attractiveness of this site on a European scale, can bring significant
cultural, social and economic benefits. The activities the Werkbund Estates in Europe will
implement, in particular those for young people, will enable them to better understand the
European Union’s history through this symbolic site.
I congratulate you for the Werkbund Estates in Europe being awarded the Label and wish
you every success as European Heritage Label site.

Yours sincerely,
Mariya Gabriel

The choice of the graphic manual

The graphic manual of visual style, including the logotype by Jan Šabach, is based on the interwar graphic work of the Bauhaus. The logo resembles the houses themselves on Baba with their flat roofs and belt windows. It is also inspired by the original iconic visual style used in the promotion of Baba by Ladislav Sutnar.

“On the way to modernity. Werkbund Estates 1927-1932”

The Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, Poland, curated a significant exhibition from 31 May to 5 June 2016. It was called “On the way to modernity. Werkbund Estates 1927-1932”, and it presented all six unique European housing estates, including Baba, in one place for the first time.

The exhibition catalogue included a text written by Vladimír Šlapeta which illustrates the contemporary cooperation and inspiration within the European Werkbund and the works of artists who were likewise influenced .

Comprehensive Guide to the Baba Housing Estate is Out

In 2013, the FOIBOS publishing house cooperated with the Prague 6 City District in publishing Great Villas of the Prague 6 Baba Housing Estate 1932-1936,

dedicated to an important interwar activity of the Association of the Czechoslovak Werkbund, the exhibition and realisation of the Baba Housing Estate in Prague, which ranked among the greatest achievements of modern functionalist architecture in the Czechoslovakia of that time. The publication represents a further contribution to the historiography of this extraordinarily fertile period of Czechoslovak architecture in an international context. It carefully documents the preparatory phase, urbanistic context, and foreign relations, as well as the Association of the Czechoslovak Werkbund and its essential role in modern Czech architecture. The book concerns itself in more detail particularly with the role of the owners of the buildings and their life stories linked to the exhibition of the housing estate in 1932 that was implemented and its subsequent completion. It also contains a quantity of new and hitherto unpublished archival material. The authors are Vladimír Šlapeta and Petr Urlich, both professors of the history of modern architecture at the Czech Technical University in Prague, Brno University of Technology and J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem; the third author of the book is the talented young historian Alena Křížková.

The book was published in Czech, English, and German.