Municipal apartment buildings
1927–1928

Čechova 1787/11, Edvarda Beneše 1788/26 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7339672N, 13.3730642E

In the spring of 1928 the City of Pilsen completed the development of two apartment houses with small flats for rent in the newly-forming district of the present-day Jižní Předměstí (South Suburb), close to the military hospital complex. Despite its own extensive building activities and the support of housing associations, the city was faced at the time with a prolonged housing crisis that only abated in the late 1930s. The two houses stand on adjacent sites (with the courtyard facades facing each other) and the city began construction of both simultaneously in September 1927. Unfortunately, the identity of the author of the plans is today unknown (he may have been one of the architects of the municipal construction office), although the actual construction was entrusted to two local firms. The building of the four-storey terraced apartment house No. 26 Edvard Beneš Street was overseen by the well-known Pilsen builder František Němec, while Jaroslav Kostka directed the work on the second house, No. 11 Čechova Street.

The facades of the buildings, whose appearance, arrangement and floor layouts are quite identical, are at first sight distinguished by the Modernist elimination of all historicist ornament. The architect “opened” the austerely conceived, symmetrically arranged facade with a pattern of simple, rectangular windows with short sections of solid, parapet-style string courses. He also enlivened the street-side facade with bands of faux bossage on the ground floor and on the uppermost storey with an expanse of pointed brickwork, contrasting effectively with the “Brizolit” cement render of the distinctive window chambranles. These two floors are separated from the main block of the facade by means of massive, simply-shaped string courses. The street-side facade is dominated by an avant-corps set in the axis of the main entrance and punctuated along the sides by a pair of loggias on each floor. Contrasting with the modern morphology of the facades is a traditional, heavy-looking pitched roof. In comparison with contemporary Functionalist architecture, therefore, the houses have a somewhat chunky, cumbersome feel.

The spatial and layout arrangement of the houses corresponds to the convention of the time: the basement contained the tenants' cellars and a laundry room, and the ground floor four flats, each with one room, a kitchen, larder, toilet and bathroom. The upper floors each have three separate one-room flats and one two-room flat with standard facilities.

In 1931 other monumental municipal houses joined the new buildings in the terrace. With the exception of a few slight interventions, the two houses have been preserved in good condition. In addition, the facade of the apartment house in Edvard Beneš Street recently underwent fairly sensitive restoration.

 

AK
 

Investor

City of Pilsen

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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