Bank and apartment building of a Mercur company branch and Adolf Bayer’s apartment building with shops
1912–1914

Bedřicha Smetany 158, 159 / 11, 13, Bezručova 158/17 (Plzeň) Plzeň Vnitřní Město
Public transport: Náměstí Republiky
Sady Pětatřicátníků
GPS: 49.7453630N, 13.3761830E
Architect:

The end of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th brought to the medieval centre of Pilsen the ethos of modernisation, which was manifested in a range of modifications, conversions and demolitions of existing buildings. Two historic houses that met a similar fate were those with descriptive numbers 159 and 160, which had already been converted by the Pilsen builder František Kotek in 1899. Adolf Bayer, the chief brewer at the Měšťan Brewery in Pilsen intended to replace them with a new four-storey residential building. The plans for the house were drawn up in 1912 by the Viennese architect Ludwig Tremmel, who worked in 1907–1918 in Pilsen, where he designed a series of apartment houses as well as the Vesecký department store building (C1–127). In the same period, the architect also drafted plans for the adjacent corner house No. 11, which held a branch of the banking and foreign exchange joint stock company Mercur. The two buildings are very similar in architectural style. The personal style of the designer, tending towards Neo-Classicism, is evident in their exteriors.

Bayer applied for permission to demolish the older houses in January 1913. The demolition work was undertaken by the Pilsen builder František Němec Sr., who later also erected the new house. Němec himself was evidently the author of changes to the original plans and his signature also appears on the 1914 documentation of the actual construction work executed. Němec’s most striking intervention was probably modification of the symmetrical street frontage, to which he added a grand portal with fluted columns framing the main entrance. The side entrance vestibule to the house with stucco ornamentation was part of Ludwig Tremmel’s original design.

The parterre of the building, originally conceived to house three stores, was modified for the needs of a branch of the Anglo-Austrian Bank, which in 1920 transformed into the Anglo-Czechoslovak Bank (the new name of the institution also appeared on the facade of the building). The director of the branch was the owner of the house, Adolf Bayer. Situated on the ground floor were a waiting hall and cash desks, behind them the director’s office and the vault enclosed in massive reinforced concrete walls. The bank had further spaces in the basement. With the exception of the first floor of the rear courtyard section, which housed several offices, the upper floors held flats of various sizes, all equipped with bathrooms and chambers and some with maids' rooms. The loft of the house was divided into rooms serving as storage spaces for the individual flats. From the outset, the building was supplied with advanced technological equipment – hot-air under-floor heating, hydraulically operated gates, hot running water, a coal lift and an armoured cabinet serving as a safe.

In 1940, the builder František Pašek carried out minor repairs to the "Brizolit” renders and the rainwater downpipes. The facade was given a new inscription with the title “Pražská úvěrní banka” (Prague Credit Bank). In the late 1950s, the spaces of the basement and ground floor were adapted for the needs of the People’s Regional Library. At present the entire building is used by the Pilsen Municipal Library.

 

LR
 

Investor

Adolf Bayer

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
C0C1C2C3C4C5C6C7C8C9