Lonely Planet Writer

This incredible reading room has just opened inside a floating wooden zeppelin in Prague

An incredible reading room has been unveiled inside a wooden airship floating between two buildings at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague that allows guests to unwind and appreciate literature in a unique environment.

Gulliver Airship
The Gulliver airship “floats” between two buildings at the DOX Centre in Prague. Image by Matej Divizna/Getty Images
Gulliver reading room prague
The permanent structure is 42 metres long and ten metres wide. Image by Jan Slavik/DOX

Inspired by the designs of early 20th Century airships, the 42-metre-long, ten-metre wide permanent structure is made of steel and wood, with stairs leading up to the huge reading room housed inside.  The airship bears the name, “Gulliver” after one of the most famous characters in Utopian literature taken from Jonathan Swift’s classic, “Gulliver’s Travels”. Gulliver will serve as a space for reading and public discussions of literature, including talks on poetry and fiction as well critical-writing workshops. The shape of the zeppelin was chosen to symbolise the optimistic ideals of an era where technological advancement and a new found interest in exploration was rife.

The inside of the bright reading room made from wood and steel.
The inside of the bright reading room made from wood and steel. Image by Matej Divizna/Getty Images
The reading room will house a series of discussions centred around literature.
The reading room will house a series of discussions centred around literature. Image by Matej Divizna/Getty Images

The DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague first opened its doors to the public in 2008 following a private initiative by current director Leoš Válka and his partners to create a space for research, presentation and debate. In 2013 he invited acclaimed architect Martin Rajniš to help create a unique space for the centre that would become the Gulliver airship. “The idea to invade the DOX Centre’s starkly modern austere concrete-and-glass architecture with a ‘parasitic’ structure has been on my mind for several years. I first dreamed of an absurdly fascinating organic shape that would contrast with the centre’s existing architecture,” Leoš said.

The airship is called Gulliver, after the character from the Jonathan Swift classic, "Gulliver's Travels".
The airship is called Gulliver, after the character from the Jonathan Swift classic, “Gulliver’s Travels”. Image by Matej Divizna/Getty Images

The Gulliver airship is open now at The DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. More information on visiting is available on their website.