Extension and adaptation of the apartment building of Antonie Pelikánová

Dvořákova 1220/6 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7272156N, 13.3690150E

The owner of a plot in the open space near the popular garden restaurant Tivoli on Dvořákova Street, Otto Pirner had a three-storey residential building built there in 1909. The building designed in the style of Saxon Neo-Renaissance was realised by the builder Antonín Köppel. The street facade was lavishly decorated – with banded rustication and windows with segmental arches on the ground floor, rustication lesenes and classicizing window chambranles. The author of the project (probably Köppel himself) accentuated the central axis of the windows by employing a high gable rising over a steep gabled roof. He also placed a portal for courtyard entry that is still used today in the side parts of the facade. The avant-corps with a portion of the stairwell protruding from the rear facade, which faces the landscaped garden enclosed by a timber-framed summer pavilion, was complemented by open porches on both sides. The ground floor of the two-winged building housed a generous apartment of four residential rooms, while a two-room and a three-room apartment were situated both on the first and the second floors and a smaller caretaker's apartment was located in the basement (lit only by windows from a dark corridor!).

In 1930, the new owner of the property Antonie Pelikánová decided to raise the building with a third floor and attic. This intention may have been related to the period concern about the depreciation of currency in a country beleaguered by the economic crisis. Many owners of larger savings at that time did not hesitate to invest their financial resources in residential and other private constructions.

The Pilsen builder František Němec sr. realised an adaptation of the facade, in line with the convention of the time removing all decorative elements and the high gable (František Němec sr., the builder’s son might have participated in its design). Němec segmented the facade through simple running cornices at the ceiling levels of the ground and second floors and "cleaned up" the chambranles down to their geometrical base. With the extension of a full third floor with two apartments he unified the window lines both vertically and horizontally, enhancing this composition further with contrasting plaster colouring of the part to the right of the courtyard entry. The new mass also included a flat roofed area with laundry, attic, land and a large terrace, whose subtle steel railings in the front emphasised the Modernist character of the renovated house. The courtyard facades or layouts of apartments were probably not affected by the modifications.

In the early 1970s, the house underwent a further modernisation, during which two studio apartments, one one-room and one two-room unit, were created on the first to the third floors to replace two larger apartments. At the same time, the historical porches were removed and the original windows into the courtyard and interior doors were replaced with readily available, standardised pieces (not corresponding with the old building).

The building has preserved to this day the street facade of the late 1920s and early 1930s; however, the composition and plasticity of the facade has been toned dulled by the monotonous colour of the paint. The overall impression of the building has not benefitted from the modern day polycarbonate awning over an outdoor staircase and the entrance to the shop on the ground floor either.




Antonie Pelikánová


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