Life / Travel

Czech centre builds giant 'airship' for literature

In this Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 photo a giant object resembling a zeppelin airship is being installed on the rooftop of an arts center in Prague, Czech Republic. The 42-meter long and 10-meter wide ship is planned to seat some 120 people on its cascade steps. It will be used for authors' reading and debates about literature to complement exhibitions at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, one of the most innovative and challenging galleries in the Czech capital. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

In this Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 photo a giant object resembling a zeppelin airship is being installed on the rooftop of an arts center in Prague, Czech Republic. The 42-meter long and 10-meter wide ship is planned to seat some 120 people on its cascade steps. It will be used for authors' reading and debates about literature to complement exhibitions at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, one of the most innovative and challenging galleries in the Czech capital. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE, Czech Republic — Is that a zeppelin on the roof?

The huge object appears to have landed on the roof of the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in the Czech capital.

The wooden and metal structure, envisioned as a home for literature, is another project of the centre known for its challenging exhibitions and installations.

The centre 's founder and director, Leos Valka, joined forces with architect Martin Rajnis, who won the 2014 Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, to give the gallery another dimension.

"Our aim for the world of contemporary art is to spread and get partially interconnected with the world of literature," Valka said at a preview this week.

The 42-meter (138-feet) long and 10-meter (33-feet) wide ship is planned to seat 120 people on its cascade steps inside for authors' readings, performances, workshops and public debates to complement the exhibitions.

That's all to be in line with the gallery's mission "to create a space for research, presentation, and debate on important social issues, where visual arts, literature, performing arts, and other disciplines encourage a critical view of the so-called reality of today's world."

Numerous obstacles had to be overcome to get approval from authorities for the 55-metric-ton (60-ton) project.

The ship was finally qualified as a "watchtower" — a bit of absurdity which Prague native Franz Kafka might have appreciated.

The airship is named Gulliver, the hero of Jonathan Swift's classic, who visited a flying island of Laputa during his adventurous travels.

"It's a world of pure imagination," Valka said about the project. "A children's world."

"You should get an impression that some 10-12-years-old boys escaped from the houses of parents to board their makeshift aircraft and by accident crash-landed in Holesovice," the Prague district where the centre is located.

"It's an elegant intruder," Valka said. "It's a concrete, fully authentic, giant object whose message is that things can be done differently."

The literature space is scheduled to open in late November or early December.