Pair of apartment buildings of Hanuš Zápal
1938–1939

Křížkova 42, 16 / 7, 5 (Plzeň) Plzeň Severní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7547791, 13.3773994
Architect:

One of the few Modernist buildings in the historic Roudná district of Pilsen consists of the semidetached houses at Nos. 5 and 7 Křížková Street, the plans of which were drafted in 1938 by the renowned local architect Hanuš Zápal. After completion of the building by the construction company of the Pilsen builder Otakar Prokop in July 1939, the architect moved into one of the houses from his former flat in nearby Malická Street. Zápal evidently financed the construction of the building in part from the proceeds of sale of his house in Bučí near his native Krašovice in 1939.

The four-storey mirror-arranged semi-detached houses with a two-section layout and a pitched roof (and a flat roof over part of the rear section) are among Zápal’s last Functionalist implementations. Set on the middle part of the two-tone smooth Purist facade of the building is a rectangular three-storey oriel with corner ribbon windows. The architect's eye for detail, evident in all his plans, is in the case of this house mainly reflected in the application of subtle window frames (originally in two green tones) and discreet light-coloured ceramic tiles with rounded edges on the reveals of the windows and doors and on the socle of the ground floor and the area around the front door. Projecting in front of the courtyard facade are paired polygonal staircase avant-corps lined with glazed verandas.

Each of the houses had a garage and a small one-room flat on the ground floor, on the upper floors larger two-bedroom apartments and a studio flat in the loft. There was also a residential room with sanitary facilities in the basement, which also housed a laundry room and cellars. Hanuš Zápal and his family occupied an apartment on the first floor of house No. 5, which the architect atypically modified and equipped with large sliding doors between the main living areas.

In comparison with the contemporary, formally related Nachtigals’ apartment house (C2-2245), the plans for which were drafted by the leading Pilsen Modernist architect Václav Neckář, the almost “academic” moderation of Zápal’s design is evident. Although both buildings are dominated by a central oriel with corner ribbon windows, and in both cases the architects applied Modernist ceramic tiling on the facade, Neckář’s design reveals a greater inclination towards the avant-garde designs seen primarily in Prague and Brno. This fact – understandable given the almost one-generation difference between the architects – does not, however, alter the fact that Zápal’s own apartment building is of an unquestionably high architectural standard and is one of the most important Pilsen interwar implementations.

The famous architect as well as owner and occupant of the house is commemorated by a plaque designed by the architect Jaromír Veselák, mounted on the street facade in 2005 on the initiative of the association Zapálení 02.

 


 

Investor

Hanuš Zápal

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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