Complex of apartment houses of Eliška and František Kříž, Building Trade Cooperative in Pilsen and Marie Hellerová, Gustav Průcha and František Hauer
1937–1938

Dvořákova 2192, 2191, 2190 / 41, 39, 37 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7259877, 13.3725124

Several clients built up three adjacent shallow plots at the end of Dvořákova Street at its intersection with Baarova Street between 1937 and 1938 into a complex of three-storey apartment buildings. The construction of these modern buildings, which were far from avant-garde in form (Puristic “Brizolit” cement-rendered façades finished with a crown moulding under a sloping roof), was carried out by the Pilsen Commercial Construction Cooperative led by local builder Rudolf Pěchouček, who was also likely to have been the author of the projects.

The corner house no. 41 was commissioned by František and Eliška Kříž. On the façade of the three-tract building, a combination of elements was applied that was also used on the two other buildings of the complex. The space between the windows with ceramic jambs was filled with ochre plaster fields with scratched horizontal hatching similar to house no. 37, while the rounded corners of the same colour are accentuated by a lesene frame also applied to the façade of neighbouring house no. 39. The two surviving intact street façades of the corner building are still in extremely good condition, demonstrating the author's ability to divide up the mass of the object by using sculptural elements and fresh but restrained colours.

House no. 39 was built for the Pilsen Commercial Construction Cooperative (probably for rental or sale). The layout of the property corresponds to the arrangement of the neighbouring corner house. Here a narrow corridor connects the entrance with a staircase located in the courtyard wing. One-bedroom apartments are divided into living areas facing the street, an entrance and sanitary facilities in the central part, and a kitchen with a maid's room in the courtyard tract. The narrow plot, however, allowed for only one apartment to be placed on each floor. This may have been the reason there was also a bedsit facing the courtyard located in the attic. The caretaker's apartment, later converted into a garage, was located in the elevated basement. With the exception of this adjustment, house no. 39 has retained its original façade with six three-part windows and all its details. Only the original colour combination of taupe and ochre, consistently applied across the complex, has been replaced by brighter pastel hues.

Apartment building no. 37 was built for Marie Hellerová, Gustav Průcha, and František Hauer. This building was also arranged in three tracts – on both the first and third floor, this design was applied to one flat with one room and one one-bedroom apartment. While the living rooms were situated in the usual manner facing the street, the courtyard tract was filled with the spacious kitchens of both apartments with closets attached to the protruding body of the staircase (ensuring the kitchens would be naturally cooled by the outside air). The centre of the layout contained the apartment entrances, halls, and utility facilities with bathrooms and separate toilets. Daylight streamed into the bathrooms in a non-traditional manner from a window in the kitchen, while an air shaft provided ventilation.

The second floor was originally occupied by a large apartment structured similarly to the one on the first floor, with the exception of one kitchen replaced by a room, and one bathroom replaced by a maid's room. In the 1950s, this apartment was divided into two units at the request of Marie Hellerová. The elevated basement, including the main entrance to the building, also housed a garage and caretaker’s bedsit flat in the street tract. This basement was also converted into a parking space in the 1970s. The central and court wing contained cellar rooms.

The façade of house no.37 with three window axes was also conceived rather austerely – a smooth “Brizolit” façade was adorned only with a simple horizontal relief in the area between the three-part windows with ceramic scuntions. During the recent insulating of the façade, these elements were removed; to a great extent, however, the colours respect the original hues.
 

OM

Investor

František and Eliška Kříž; Pilsen Commercial Construction Cooperative; Marie Hellerová, Gustav Průcha and František Hauer

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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