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The Gate of Time and historiogram, Cheb


The artefact named the Gate of Time solves the problem caused by cutting through the south front of the Náměstí Krále Jiřího (square) in Cheb in 1864. The composition matter of the opening of the new boulevard connecting the Medieval heart of Cheb with the then novelty - a railway, was solved by placing a solitary statue of the Emperor here thus creating the viewpoint of the street centreline. The statue's political character was the cause of its removal after 1918 and brought about a long unresolved problem of an absent compositional closure of the main town boulevard.

Composition Design The square below the horizon rises up behind the breakage on the cutout line slowly and at the very last moment. Seen from the square, the area fades away southwards. The purport of the designed artefact is to keep the observer's attention until the moment when the whole square can be seen and entered. This is why its character is of a tall viewpoint capable of grasping the green horizon slowly rising up, the horizon of high Cheb roofs and facades. Due to nuances of symmetry both in respect of the view from the square and třída Svobody (boulevard) this view point is a little shifted out of the geometric axis. This way it directly continues the main composition element of the modification of the třída Svobody (boulevard) - the Historiogram time line.

Idea What idea and message should be used to charge a composition element important for two main urban areas? The Gate of Time tries to relieve of political proclamations that could become, as it happened in the past, an excuse for its devastation. It only tries to declare the fact that right on this very spot the medieval town Cheb opened up to the new industrial époque. The symbol and reminder of this break-through act of opening up is the symbol of a gate. The gate between historical époques is installed on the plane of the former square's south front.

Posing as a reminder of a house torn down at this place; a passage from one historical époque to the next one. And right here the artefact connects to the line of history - Historiorgam - along its course chronologically balancing the most significant moments in the history of Cheb.

Form and Notation The gate is a universal symbol, a figure clear and legible even if presented in abstract manner. Its simple form of a tall panel keeps two basic positions: open and closed. In the 'closed' position, the panel is perpendicular to the cutout's axis and closes the view through; it aligns with the square's original south front as a door to the already nonexistent house. In the 'open' position, the panel is parallel with the opening's axis and so it appears only as a subtle stele. The panel rotates about its axis depending on time. At midnight, it is in the closed position. At astronomical noon, it holds the open position and its side, on which is graphically depicted the first dated written note about Cheb, connects to the line of the Historiogram at this very moment. It becomes its starting point and component.

Opening and closing of the gate suggests the ritual of representation of time. Aside its compositional role of a viewpoint its elevated proportion has also other meanings. By its Gothic proportion it claims it is part of the Nordic cultural circle to which Cheb is an icon in the context of the Czech Republic. And in the last place, the elongated door forms an opposite pole to the elongated window of St. Nicholas church closing one of the north views from the square. While the height of the church window towers above at the north pole, the south pole is dominated by the elevated height of the gate where the history breaks in to the époque of rationality. The Faith at one pole, the Reason at the opposite one.

source: magazine ARCHITEKT

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