Villas of Alice and Richard Kraus and Josefa and Emil Löbner

Schwarzova 1846, 1847 / 48, 50, Družstevní 1846/13 , Brožíkova 1847/27 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7317543, 13.3647072

Two almost identical villas on Schwarzova Street were built according to the design of the architect Vilém Beer for the befriended Jewish families of Kraus (no. 48) and Löbner (no. 50). The architect Beer drew up the plans for the houses probably in 1927, when the triangular block where the villas are located was divided into three lots. Both large objects were realised during the year 1928 by the Pilsen builder Ferdinand Kout and approved for use as apartment houses in February 1929. The third plot remained undeveloped and was used as a common garden for both houses.

The realised look of these multi-storey villas, unlike the project as a whole, shows inspiration taken from Classicist architecture. The houses are covered with tented roofs, and complemented by bays and hips on the shorter side wings. The main facades are oriented towards Schwarzova Street and accentuated by a protruding loggia finished with a balcony with wrought iron railings on the first floor. The fronts are topped by larger gabled dormers creating the impression of a tympanum. Both villas are entered from this side by a staircase with two straight legs. Window openings, rectangular in the basement and on the ground floor, with segmented arches on the first floor and in the attic, grant the buildings rhythm, symmetry and order.

The generously designed villas offered their users a living area in the basement, an elevated ground floor, first floor and part of the attic. The layout of the buildings reflected their function as residential buildings. There were two smaller apartments with facilities and a garage in the basement. The ground floor and first floor housed more opulent homes that were similar in layout, one of which was inhabited by the clients themselves and their maid. The loft was partially used as a service area (the maid’s room and the laundry); the remaining area as an attic.

The Löbner family and the Kraus family were probably also affected by the anti-Jewish racial laws during the Second World War. The memory of Emil and Josefa Löbner is commemorated by what is called Stolpersteine – the Stones of the Disappeared, embedded in the pavement in front of their former home. While the house of the Löbners remained a residential building even after the deaths of its original owners and only minor changes were made there in connection with modernisation of the apartments, preserving the authentic look of the building, the Kraus villa was adapted in 1954 into the State Veterinary Institute, which still resides there today. In 1969, the original urbanism concept of the whole block was disturbed when a three-storey apartment block was constructed on the site of the original shared garden.




Richard and Alice Kraus, Emil and Josefa Löbner


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