Building of the Higher Business School
1923–1924

Lidická 517/1 (Plzeň) Plzeň Severní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7615438, 13.3678615
Architect:

In 1923-1924, the grand building of the Higher Business School was erected on an exposed corner plot in the Lochotín district of Pilsen. It was one of the most stylistically consistent Pilsen implementations in the spirit of “Kotěran Modernism”. The plans for the school were drafted in 1920 by the Pilsen architect Hanuš Zápal, who at that time already had a wealth of experience in designing schools. The Business School, a relatively young educational institution in Pilsen, founded in 1918 as part of the local farming and dairy school, soon after its establishment acquired its own coveted building located in the neighbourhood of the so-called Stromovka park of the brewery Měšťanský pivovar and close to Lochotín park and its spa complex (all that remains today of the 19th century complex built is the “Lochotín Pavilion”). The convenient location of the site also allowed the school to make use of the nearby Bolevec urban forests and ponds.

Hanuš Zápal laid out the three-storey building approximately on an L-shaped ground plan. Due to its being slightly set back from the main street line, a small public space emerged in front of the building with landscaping that retained the original mature trees, as well as large flared flights of steps facing the streets Plaská (now Lidická) and Karlovarská. The set of volumes is clearly dominated by a corner entrance avant-corps with a ground floor arcade and a massive hipped roof. Its monumental facade is characterized by elements of Neoclassicism (a triangular tympanum and a colossal order of columns), as well as geometric Modernism (brickwork, subtle multi-light windows), reminiscent, for example, of Kotěra’s plans for the Urbánek Department Store in Jungmannova street in Prague, also known as the Mozarteum (1911-1913). This architecturally most striking part of the entire school building also housed the most important spaces – the entrance hall with a representative staircase and an auditorium rising above the height of the first and second floors, which is revealed from outside by large longitudinal windows and a long balcony.

Zápal also applied a contrast between smooth rendering and rough brickwork, albeit to a far lesser extent, in the side wings of the school, in which were situated the classrooms, laboratories and auditoriums. The brickwork was used here only in details, particularly in the reveals of the rectangular and segmented windows with green frames and in the lesenes and cornice. The architect joined another, two-storey dwelling house to the main building on the Lidická Street side. The first floor of the house, which has a roughly square ground plan and a distinctive hipped roof, was occupied by the school headmaster (here was a spacious four-room apartment with a kitchen and entrance hall); on the ground floor were located two smaller flats for school staff.

Considerable attention was devoted at the planning stage as well as implementation to the visual design of the interior of the building, for which specific Modernist furniture and fixtures, built-in furniture, wooden panelling etc. was designed. Most noticeable among the artistic decoration is the treatment of the auditorium with a projection screen, framed by a Neoclassicist embossed frame with figural sculptures by Otokar Walter and a staircase decorated with a triptych by Augustin Němejc, From the life of the people in the Pilsen Region (Planting, Mayday in Pilsen, Harvest), and statues by Otakar Švec.

In 1952, the interior was adapted to the needs of the new owner of the building – the Medical Faculty of Charles University in Pilsen, which uses the building, now called the Pavlov Institute, to this day (although it is gradually moving individual operations from this and other buildings into its newly built Pilsen University Hospital campus). Although the school building underwent several minor building alterations in the second half of the last century (e.g. a laboratory superstructure in 1967), due to its exceptional architectural quality it was listed in 1994 as an immovable cultural monument.



 

Investor

Curatorium of the Higher Business School in Pilsen

Monument preservation

Listed as an immovable cultural monument with the Cultural Monuments (ÚSKP) registration number: 12813/4-4896

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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