The Weiner commercial and apartment building with Samuel Teichner’s dental surgery and Pavel and Lili Weiner’s flat
1929–1931 / 1. pol. 30. let 20. stol.

náměstí Republiky 136/22 (Plzeň) Plzeň Vnitřní Město
GPS: 49.7463083N, 13.3770569E

The building aims of Karel Weiner and his wife Růžena provoked animated debate in the expert community in Pilsen during the 1920s. The Weiners, leather goods merchants, bought a Renaissance house on the square Náměstí Republiky in 1923 with the intention of replacing it with a modern commercial and apartment house. The architect Vilém Beer (the designer of several other interwar buildings in the West Bohemian metropolis) drafted the plans for the six-storey building with a shopping arcade and a courtyard wing. The plans, which heralded a considerable intervention into the historic space of Pilsen’s main square, provoked the indignation of local conservationists and even members of the Prague conservationist club Klub za starou Prahu. Beer was therefore compelled to create a number of alternative designs of the frontage, although he maintained the six-storey height of the building. That was not approved by the municipal authorities, however.  

The investors therefore decided to abandon the idea of such a high mass and commissioned the Pilsen architect Bohumil Chvojka to design other variations on the facade. Chvojka merely applied a modern outer shell to the five-storey building, with string courses that respected the layout of the Renaissance facade of the next door building, and crowned it with a gable of a shape similar to those of the historic houses in this part of the square. Chvojka’s facade designs, the last of which dates from 1931, testify to his exceptional artistic talent and fondness for painting. On the ground floor, the architect divided the facade with large curved shop display windows and applied polished granite cladding to the face of the two storeys above it, interrupted originally by four-light, inset windows. He separated the third floor by a string course and gave it rhythm by means of a row of smaller, two-light windows. He treated the top floor similarly and crowned it with a triangular tympanum. 

Following all the hold-ups, construction was initiated in 1929, when the original building was demolished. Although Bohumil Chvojka was credited with the implemented design of the facade, the functional and layout design of the new building corresponded to Beer’s proposal. There was a large restaurant hall in the basement with an adjoining refreshments room, cloakroom, technical area and several cellars. The commercial ground floor held two large shops (one of which was operated by the Weiners) with display windows facing the street. The first floor, which was connected with one of the ground-floor shops, also served as commercial space. On the second floor was a dental surgery, the furnishing of which was partly the work of Adolf Loos. Vilém Beer designed the third and fourth floors, accessible by a lift and a central marble-clad staircase, to accommodate two large apartments each. He situated a laundry room and a common terrace in the loft area. The five-storey courtyard wing was also designed for living, but for the ground floor, which was arranged as commercial spaces with a workshop. On the basis of the conservation office's requirement, the original stone portal of the Renaissance building was installed in the new building in the shopping arcade. 

Samuel Teichner’s dental surgery deserves a more detailed description. The preserved sketch of the interior floor plan according to Adolf Loos’ design is most likely the work of his collaborator Norbert Krieger. The space is treated axially; the artist situated a waiting room with mahogany-panelled walls, built-in shelves and a white leather-covered couch between the two treatment rooms, the windows of which face the square. The waiting room was decorated with drawings by Teichner’s patients. Alongside the pair of surgeries, waiting room, dental laboratory, cloakrooms and sanitary facilities, there was also a rest area for the dentist on this floor. The room, facing the atrium, was furnished in bright colours (red, blue, green and yellow), in which both the free-standing furniture and a built-in closet were painted. The rooms housed the State Food Inspection office in the 1970s and today serves as an apartment. All that remains of the original interior furnishings is part of the panelling and the built-in closet. 

Above Teichner’s surgery was a flat designed in 1933, probably by Norbert Kreieger or Heinrich Kulka, for Pavel Weiner, son of the building’s owners, and his fiancée Lili Löblová, who married in the same year and moved into the Náměstí Republiky house after the wedding. The author of the design based on Loos’ style joined the living room to the dining room by a large opening and maintained axial symmetry in the furnishings, placing a sideboard in the dining room opposite the entrance with a large mirror above it. Both rooms were panelled in wood. In the living room there was a couch situated between two built-in cupboards and the windows were covered with grids stretched with fabric to mask the disrupting asymmetry. The bedroom was also furnished with built-in closets. The strong colours typical of Loos were also applied in the flat – the furniture in the children’s room facing the atrium was stained blue and the kitchen furniture was in shades of red.  

Like many Pilsen Jews of the time, Pavel and Lili Weiner, Pavel’s parents and Samuel Teichner died during the war in the concentration camps. After the war, the house was restituted to Karel Weiner’s sister, but in the early 1960s it was nationalised. The interior of the Weiner apartment has been preserved in good condition to this day and in 1991 was listed as a cultural monument. Up to around 2010 part of it served as office space and since that time it has not been used. 


LV

Investor

Růžena and Karel Weiner / Samuel Teichner / Lili and Pavel Weiner

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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