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Photos by Tomás Pantin
La Grange, Texas

The Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center is a non-profit organization of descendents of Czech immigrants who settled in Texas during the second half of the 19th century. The organization’s primary goal is to celebrate and preserve the culture, history, and language that these settlers established in their new home.

The TCHCC Library and Museum is the first major construction on a site in La Grange, a town geographically central to Czech settlements in rural east-central Texas. Earlier, the organization had erected an amphitheatre and moved several houses and small buildings onto the site to form a Skansen representing Czech pioneer life.

The new 10,000 ft² building provides a spacious and permanent venue from which the organization will pursue its goals. The building consists of three gabled pavilions, interconnected by corridors and support facilities with low-slope roofs. The pavilions contain the building’s three major functions, the exhibit hall, the library, and a multipurpose hall. Also housed are a board room, a gift shop, offices, and a catering kitchen. Most prominent in the design is a double-height lobby, glazed on three sides, that glows like a lantern when lighted. Outside the main entrance, a 1,600 ft² deck expands activity space to the outdoors. The simple gabled roof forms pay homage to early examples of rural Czech settlements in Texas, recalling farmhouses, schoolhouses, and dance halls. While the building stands well on its own, it is envisioned as the first of a group of buildings surrounding a courtyard that will be built as the organization’s mission expands.

Additional Press: Texas Parks and Highways, Dec 2010

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