Jiří Freund’s villa
1932

Žižkova 1987/29, Mírová 1987/7 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7340877, 13.3636718
Architect:

On the corner of Mírová and Žižkova Streets, just a few dozen metres from the historicist villa Libuše, the first buildings in the area of the present-day Bezovka district, a Functionalist house for the Pilsen dentist Jiří Freund arose in the early 1930s. It was designed by the barely thirty-year-old architect Leo Meisl in 1931. In one of his first realisations, this talented architect demonstrated an ability to respond promptly to contemporary Modernist tendencies and to develop them even in the conservative environment of the West Bohemian metropolis. The construction was carried out by a member of the well-known local builder family František Pašek during the year 1932.

Meisl created the mass of the moderately-sized building with two aboveground and one underground floors and a flat roof on an L-shaped ground plan from two two-storey blocks, fitting the narrower one-storey volume of a porch. He used a simple geometric shape to define the adjacent rectangular terrace at the level of the raised ground floor too, and lent a simple abstract form to the entrance portal on the south-west facade facing Žižkova Street as well. The fact that the morphology of the house is derived from the rational solution of its internal operations (its function as a whole), an approach very characteristic of Functionalist architecture, is evidenced by the variety of shapes and sizes of window openings as well, much like the largely asymmetrical positioning of the facades. It is the proportion and composition of solid and glass surfaces that is, besides the organisation of the mass, an essential means of the aesthetic effect of the smoothly plastered building. However, Leo Meisl did not entirely manage to liberate himself from decorative elements in his design, as evidenced, for example, by pronounced jambs. In the front entrance, the architect even let one of those frames protrude from the face of the facade. A similar plasticity and sand colour, different from the greyish Brizolit plaster, was used for the entrance portal with a flat bracket of the marquee that shaded the front door lined with narrow glass strips.

Adequate illumination and sunlight was ensured primarily courtesy of the large windows in three perimeter walls with which the house faces the northwest – to the largest part of the garden – and further towards Mírová Street (the longer side of the residential terrace on the flat roof of the porch is oriented in the same direction as well). A ribbon window on the ground floor of one of the two main volumes of the house plays the first fiddle among the openings. The architect broke up the north-eastern facade of the building using only several double windows and an asymmetrically placed small circular window. A window of the same shape was also applied on the south-eastern facade. This nautical element – one of the identifying features of what was known as Emotional Functionalism – was yet to gain importance in Meisel’s architecture: five years later the architect made it one of the defining themes of the street front of his own apartment building on Na Belánce Street (C3–2185). Meisel’s design of Jiří Freund’s villa included a solution of the fence with a wall base.

Apart from the garage, which was added to the north-eastern facade of the house in 1936, once more by František Pašek, the house has been spared any major interventions since its construction and thus has retained its original character to this day.

 

LV – PK
 

Investor

Jiří Freund (doctor)

Sources

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