Complex of apartment buildings for employees of Škoda Works
1948–1950

Arbesova 2322, 2321, 2320, 2319 / 10, 8, 6, 4, Čechova 2328, 2327, 2326, 2325, 2324 / 33, 31, 29, 27, 25 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7317494N, 13.3745517E

The two-year economic recovery plan for Czechoslovakia drafted by the state planning and statistical offices in 1946 and implemented in practice in 1947-1948 circumscribes in the history of architecture the last significant surge of interwar Functionalism, replaced in 1948 by the sole officially sanctioned artistic style – Socialist Realism. “Two-year plan” Functionalism, however, departed from the interwar ideal of the house as a “lightened box”, as well as from fragile architectural details. In contrast, the postwar architects favoured weighty, robust forms and coarser materials.

Among the best examples of architecture of this period in Pilsen is the set of two apartment houses in Arbesova Street and a triple house in Čechova Street erected by the Association for Construction of Residential Houses for the Employees of Škoda Engineering Works in 1948-1950. The references to Functionalism are evident here primarily in the use of flat roofs and the concept of the entrance facades with paired four-light windows, evoking ribbon windows, and tiers of loggias on the edge sections breaking up the corners. Interwar Functionalism is also evoked by the steel tubing balustrades on the balconies and loggias. A recent insensitive reconstruction, however, deprived two of the three houses of part of the legacy of Czech Modernism, in particular by means of cladding insulation of the facade of the Čechova house, painted with an inappropriate coloured paint, and the installation of a new, steel balustrade that does not comply with the original layout.

The group of buildings constituted a partly open block, the courtyard of which was landscaped and had a children’s playground intended for the common use of the residents of all three houses and therefore without fenced boundaries of the individual sites. The individual houses, containing a total of 18 sections, each has a traditional two-section arrangement containing three-room flats, each with a small kitchen, social facilities, larder, closet and loggia or balcony. The basement contains a laundry room, drying room and pram store, i.e. facilities that would soon become an integral part of every block of flats.
 

Investor

Association for Construction of Residential Houses for the Employees of Škoda Engineering Works.

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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