In Prague, Concrete Is Cool Again 25 Years After Communism

An apartment block housing Skoda factory workers in Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Republic, circa 1990 Photograph by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images

When the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia collapsed a quarter of a century ago, many predicted that paneláky—the crude, Socialist-era concrete apartment blocks built to house the proletariat—would be abandoned and torn down. After all, their brutalist architecture was conceived to discourage the very thing that modern societies value: a communal space where people can congregate.

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