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Students and public will not return to Scala University Cinema this year

A structural-technical survey has revealed further serious structural defects in the roof. 

The Scala University Cinema is undergoing the first phase of a structural and technical survey.

A structural-technical survey that has been underway since July in the building at Moravské náměstí 3 and Jakubské náměstí 5, which houses the Scala University Cinema and the Bolek Polívka Theatre, has revealed further serious structural defects in the roof. According to the structural engineer’s opinion, neither the cinema nor the theatre hall can be safely used.

“Today I received an update from the city authorities regarding other serious structural defects that are making it impossible to operate the Scala University Cinema. I am very sad to hear this, as we are losing a historic cinema building, a meeting space for the public and a venue for major university events of significance extending beyond the university itself. However, we must ensure the safety of visitors and respect the decision of the owner of the building, which is the city of Brno. We are an important educational and cultural institution, and we will continue to look hard for ways to remain active in Brno. Talks with Brno City Hall representatives concerning other suitable premises will of course follow,” said Martin Bareš, Rector of MU.

According to the original plan drawn up by structural engineers based on the survey carried out at the end of July, the Scala University Cinema would remain open thanks to metal struts supporting the load-bearing structure, with the cinema premises open for MU events and the public from October until the end of 2023.

“Unfortunately, the newly discovered corrosion of the main supporting columns, together with previously identified defects, is enough for the structural engineer to conclude that the structure does not meet the requirements for stability and that the building can no longer remain open safely,” said the Mayor of Brno Markéta Vaňková.

The condition of the building is so serious, according to city officials, that the cinema and theatre must be moved out before the second phase of the structural survey, which is set to begin in January 2024.

The closure of the Scala University Cinema will also affect teaching at the Faculty of Arts, as the premises were used for its study programmes, as well as the cinema programme prepared by students of the Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture. Masaryk University will now have to look for teaching spaces within its own buildings and explore the possibilities offered by the Brno authorities. Social events, conferences and the planned cultural programme will also have to be rescheduled. In particular, the regular celebration of the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution was due to take place at Scala in November.