Building of the City of Pilsen technical authorities
1928–1930

Škroupova 1900/5 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
Public transport: Mrakodrap
GPS: 49.7425817N, 13.3758236E

In the interwar period, more civil servants were required for administration of the developing West Bohemian industrial metropolis, so one of the tasks of the architects of the day was the design of public administration buildings. One such assignment in the second half of the 1920s was the new headquarters of the municipal technical authorities in then Lucemburská Street (now Škroupova). Given the nature of the client and the purpose of the building, drafting of the planning documentation was assigned to city employees – while the material and operational aspects, including the interiors, were designed by František Beneš, the design of the facades was the work of the Chief Building Commissioner and Technical Advisor, Hanuš Zápal (this duo had worked together some years earlier on the design for the no longer existing Municipal Social Welfare Houses – see C1–523). The building, which as the first implementation of Functionalist architecture stood at the genesis of the modernisation and transformation of the land adjacent to Americká Avenue, was erected in 1928-1930 by the prominent Pilsen building firm of Jenč, Hladeček and Kroft.

The unadorned street facade of the five-storey, flat-roofed Modernist building is subordinated to a geometric layout, order and symmetry. The symmetry of the main facade is interrupted only by the projecting mass of a shop (now a Post Office) in the southern part. The low block, originally intended to be only provisional, was meant to balance the difference in width of the street at the point between the new building and the older house next door. The centrally placed entrance is accentuated by a shallow one-storey high avant-corps, while above it the whole central block has a slightly projecting three-storey high section divided by three inset bands of five large six-light windows each. The projecting section is crowned by a simple attic cornice. The fourth floor, above the projection, in contrast slightly recedes from the main plane of the facade, and this difference was originally emphasised optically by ochre ceramic tiles, now replaced by a darker render. Unlike the windows in the central projecting section, those in the side blocks of the street-side wing, which rise above the central block and extend in depth into short side wings, are framed by prominent relief cases.

František Beneš drafted the plans of the building with very detailed layouts of all the rooms. He situated in the basement cellar spaces, a store room, filing room and showroom. The ground floor he reserved for commercial use; there were three shops here with amenities and their own offices, as well as the clerk’s flat, offices and plan archive. On the first floor were 16 offices for engineers, civil servants and lawyers, the building committee’s conference room and filing room. The second floor was designed for the directorate with the offices of the deputy and desk officer, the technical committee’s conference room, waiting room, reading room, accounts office and director’s office with a lobby facing the street. The third and fourth floors held the offices of several departments.

At the time of its construction, the building was exceptional for its reinforced concrete frame construction and modern technical equipment, including a paternoster elevator. In the second half of the last century, the interiors of the building and courtyard wing underwent a range of alterations designed by Stavoprav. Nevertheless, many of the original features (including the lift) have been preserved to this day and, apart from modification of the north part of the parterre, the exterior, too, has retained its authentic appearance.


LV

Investor

City of Pilsen

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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