Building of the Jubilee County Children’s Home
1928–1931

Lidická 585/2 (Plzeň) Plzeň Severní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7613450N, 13.3691372E

The Jubilee County Children’s Home (today the Procháska Institute of the Medical Faculty of Charles University in Pilsen) is one of the few Pilsen interwar buildings that received attention even in national architectural journals. This was due to the fact that the Ministry of Technology announced a public competition for the outline design of the children’s home project in 1928 and the outcome was disputed by some of the jury members, led by the Prague Functionalists Josef Grus, Kerel Tymich and Vladimír Wallenfels, who filed a dissenting opinion and did not hesitate to publish their objections to the winning plans in the prestigious journal Architekt SIA. ("We would very much like to read the report on the competition and be informed about the selection process, because there is no smoke without fire[...]. We will be monitoring similar cases.")

Out of the twenty-one proposals entered, the first prize was awarded to a design by Bohumil Chvojka and Rudolf Černý, architects long operating in Pilsen (whether at the local industrial college or in the Association of Visual Artists of West Bohemia). Their design evidently did not seem sufficiently architecturally progressive to the objectors, unlike the Functionalist plans by František Fiala, which won second prize and was reproduced in the magazine of the Association of Architects, Stavitel (Builder). Nevertheless, implementation of Chvojka and Černý’s plans proceeded in 1928 under the direction of the architect František Němec Sr. on a site opposite the Higher Business School (C8–517), well exposed and conveniently located near Lochotín Park and the open Bolevec landscape.

The complicated building with a flat roof was conceived by the architects roughly in a T-shape, the arms of which extended from the elevated middle section housing the central staircase. Despite the sophisticated functional layout, characterized by an asymmetric design and establishment of the functions of each of the wings, the building's facade is marked by a more conservative concept, enhanced by prominent relief string courses and lesenes framing the windows. Chvojka had already applied these elements in his design of the County Sickness Institution in Pilsen erected in 1925-1927 (C1–1000).

The construction programme of the high-capacity building corresponds well to its purpose. The main part housed the wards, consisting of day-rooms, bedrooms and facilities, separated according to sex and age. The kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, workshops and additional operating facilities were located in the basement, while the foyer, dining rooms, games room, offices and apartments for the home’s management and some of the bedrooms were located on the ground floor. The first floor was designed to house the most important social space of the building – a multi-purpose cultural hall, which is betrayed in the exterior by large longitudinal windows in the front section of the building (the height of the hall exceeded that of the two storeys). In addition, the first and second floors held further (up to sixteen-bed) bedrooms, each with a washroom and supervisor’s room. In the large, landscaped plot, a wooden pavilion was added, which served as a summer dining room (in the 1960s, it was adapted into a menagerie), and a swimming pool. Set in the representative part of the garden in front of the building was Otokar Walter’s Realist statue Girl, among other works by the author of some of the sculptural decoration of the aforementioned Higher Business School.

After World War II, the Medical Faculty of Charles University in Pilsen began to use the building and in 1946 had conversion work conducted in the interiors under the supervision of the architect and builder Josef Cipra (primarily alterations to partition walls and the like). The building was also subjected to minor structural changes in the following decades. Despite these interventions, which are reflected in the exterior only minimally, the building still retains its original late-1920s and early 1930s character, due to which it was listed in 2001 as a cultural monument.



 

Investor

Ministry of Technology

Monument preservation

Listed as an immovable cultural monument with the Cultural Monuments (ÚSKP) registration number: 12816/4-5252

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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