Villa of Anna and Václav Friš
1914–1915

Boženy Němcové 493/9 (Plzeň) Plzeň Severní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7645100, 13.3673411

After a local development plan for the housing development of the former Saské (now North) Suburb in the late 19th century was drawn up, the need arose for further building development in the Lochotín district. A peaceful neighbourhood with spa premises in the centre of a large park, the area slowly began to turn into a luxurious residential estate. The former seasonal spa buildings were gradually replaced by imposing houses, the first of which to truly stand out was the Art Nouveau villa of Karel Kestřánek, constructed according to the design of Koterov native František Krásný (1897-1898).

In 1914 and 1915, Lochotín came to house an equally grand villa belonging to Pilsen builder Václav Friš and his wife Anna. The couple entrusted the project to up-and-coming architect Oldřich Starý, who had worked as a teacher at the Czech Industrial School in Pilsen since 1912. The construction was carried out by Friš’ own building company.

Oldřich Starý, who became a pioneer of Czech Purism and Functionalism after World War I, designed the house while still drawing inspiration from the historicist style, as is evident in the overall design of the two-storey building with mansard roofs, turrets, articulated gables, and illusive bossage. However, numerous details (in particular windows of various shapes and railings) reveal the author's effort to draw upon more current architectural styles, i.e. Art Nouveau and Modernism. The façade was decorated with sculptured floral ornaments designed by Pilsen sculptor Otokar Walter.

The most important social and movement junction in the house was a two-storey residential staircase hall with a gallery on the first floor, complemented by an opulent fireplace with a relief of St. George. The hall on the ground floor was surrounded by two additional reception rooms – a dining room and an interconnected living room. All the interiors were richly decorated with stucco ceiling decoration, luxury panelling made of exotic wood, and other carved elements. The first floor was of a private character – similarly to the ground floor, there were six residential rooms (in this case, private rooms and bedrooms) with an anteroom and sanitary facilities. In addition to the caretaker’s flat, the basement housed cellars for flowers, fruits and vegetables, as well as an ironing and mangle room.

A system of outdoor terraces and balconies maximised the interconnection of the interior space with the garden (which was typical rather of the inter-war Functionalist style of construction). A winter garden situated under the south terrace also formed a part of the villa. A garage, greenhouse, and gazebo were also situated on an extensive plot, which Friš later divided to build a semi-detached house for his children located in the plot’s eastern section.

After World War II, the house was nationalised and used as a dormitory for Škoda factory apprentices. After 1960, it served as a children's home and special kindergarten. Despite its change in function, only minimal structural interventions into the interior were made at that time. After 1989, the house was returned as restitution to the heirs of the original owners, who sold it without delay. Its new owners, however, did not inhabit the building, and it continued to fall into ruin despite being listed as an immovable cultural heritage site since 1994. In the late 1990’s, the building was bought by its current owners, who have been carrying out gradual reconstruction and occasionally lend out the site for different social or cultural events.
 

Investor

Anna and Václav Friš

Monument preservation

The house is an immovable cultural heritage site, listed under registration no. ÚSKP: 10247/4-4930.

Sources

  • „Komunismus lidem zničil vztahy. V naší vile je mohou napravit“, Magazín E15.cz, http://magazin.e15.cz/regiony/komunismus-lidem-znicil-vztahy-v-nasi-vile-je-mohou-napravit-836842, vyhledáno 1. 12. 2015.
 
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