František Holcbechr

Date of birth: 1. 8. 1887 Velký Dřevíč (okres Broumov)

Death date: 9. 5. 1975 Plzeň

Biography

Pilsen builder František Holcbechr (also Holcbecher or Holzbechr), originally from East Bohemia, was one of the most active builders in Pilsen and the region between the two wars.

As a child, he moved with his parents from his native Velký Dřevíč in the Broumov region to Kladno, where he attended secondary school and took up an apprenticeship with master bricklayer Václav Čtrnáctý in the years 1901–1904. After that, he gained experience with a number of building companies, such as with Václav Zlatník in Beroun and with Quido Bělský in Prague-Vinohrady, as well as with Jan Majer and Josef Veselý. A two-year stay in Chicago, USA proved very inspirational for his future work; he travelled there with his future wife, Růžena, in the year 1910. Having returned, he was employed at the firm of the architect Anton Möller from Varnsdorf, and also as administrator of the construction of the Dominican Monastery with the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Pilsen, built to Möller’s design in the years 1912–1913.

The year the church was completed, Holcbechr passed his builder’s exam and founded his own firm, Architect and Builder František Holcbechr, building enterprise, est. 1913, which subsequently performeded construction, including high-rise, as well as providing budgets, expert opinions and estimates. Holcbechr also acted as a permanent statutory expert witness and a full member of the Central Expert Witnesses Union in Prague. Up until the year 1948, his firm built around 180 apartment buildings in Pilsen and its surroundings, eight state schools, two large palace buildings, and also industrial, road and sewerage buildings. Presumably, Holcbechr’s most prestigious building act was the realisation of the so-called “Dům U Dvou klíčů” / House at Two Keys on the prominent plot no. 28 Republic Square in Pilsen for his wife Růžena (C1–202).

His own designs of villas did not really stand out, yet they were constructed in the American system, thanks to which their technology and price were quite favourable – Holcebechr created a prototype of a detached bungalow with a spacious dining room combined with residential area and kitchen on the ground floor, and private rooms, dressing rooms and sanitary facilities in the residential attic replacing a less frequently used storage space.

After the Czechoslovak coup of February 1948, he was tried on a fabricated charge of offence against national honour, which was ceased the following year. Nevertheless, Holcbechr was persecuted by the state till the end of his life and his firm was integrated into the City of Pilsen Municipal Enterprise in 1949.

František Holcbecher died at the high age of 88 years in Pilsen on the 9th of May 1975. 

Selection of other works

1912–1913
Dominican Monastery with the Blessed Virgin Mary Church – administrator of the construction (plans by Anton Möller from Varnsdorf)

1915
Apartment building of František Pechman

1925
Mining colony in Horní Litvínov

1926
Primary school in Ervěnice

1928
Row of family houses on U Světovaru Street, Pilsen

1934
Dr Matouš Mandl School in Pilsen

1955
Outdoor swimming pool in Nová Huť – Dýšina

1959
Reconstruction of Sadové lázně (spa hotel) in Teplice

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