Villa of the managing director and master brewer of the Burghers Brewery in Pilsen
1930–1931

U Prazdroje 64, 74 / 1, 3 (Plzeň) Plzeň Východní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7466201, 13.3861005

In 1930-1931 a grand double villa was erected in front of the Měšťanský pivovar brewery complex for the company’s executives – the Director František Plášil and the Chief Brewer Jan Šebelík. The building enhanced the overall representative character of the space in front of the industrial brewery grounds with its Neo-Renaissance Jubilee Gate dating from 1892 and administrative buildings from 1914–1919.

Preparation of the plans for the villa and the search for an ideal construction solution and siting underwent relatively complicated development, as is evidenced among other things by the ambiguous outcome of a restricted architectural competition in 1929, to which the board of the brewery invited the Pilsen architects Hanuš Zápal, Václav Neckář and František Němec Jr. (son of the company’s former architect František Němec). This was due to the fact that not one of the competing designs could be implemented without modification. Judged to be the most suitable in terms both of form and cost was a Neoclassical, axially-symmetrical design by František Němec, which the committee recommended for preparation under the condition that the layout in Václav Neckář’s plans would be incorporated into it. The committee rejected Zápal’s plans due to excessively modern forms that did not "match the surroundings" as well as displacement from the set regulatory line on the street U Prazdroje in the direction of the nearby bank of Radbuza River.

Nevertheless, after Hanuš Zápal had submitted his plans for the space in the vicinity of the administrative building, which the brewery intended to implement, the committee fundamentally re-evaluated its conclusions in the competition for the double villa. The jury was so impressed by Zápal’s plans, which demanded the demolition of all the older houses in front of the administrative building and their replacement with a large garden with the double villa in the centre (the builder Karel Mastný also submitted similar plans for the arrangement of the space around the administrative building) that it decided on its implementation, but with the collaboration of František Němec.

The architects promptly embarked on drafting the plans, which, however, was encumbered by many complications, especially the problematic foundations of the new building in the damp substrata close to the Radbuza River, which was ultimately executed as a reinforced concrete slab supported by 270 piles. The volume design of the house with its monumental facade and distinctive hipped and mansard roofs took into account the neighbouring administrative building. The dominant feature of the street-side facade was a two-storey high loggia set behind a colossal order row of Classicist columns echoed on the roof by four semicircular dormer windows. The smooth, light-coloured facade was divided by large windows with simple render chambranles.

The villa housed two axially symmetrical apartments, the main entrances of which were situated in the rear facade facing the brewery. The heart of the layout of each apartment was a representative residential hall, a key social and communication hub with a brick fireplace, an oak double staircase and galleries on the upper floor with a balustrade. The ground floor also held a social salon, dining room and gentlemen’s drawing room; a separate part of the ground floor housed the operational facilities (kitchen, food preparation area, washroom and staff staircase), while the first floor was of a quite private nature, containing bedrooms, children's rooms, a cloakroom, bathroom and guest room. The caretaker's two-room flat with a kitchen was located in the raised basement, while the loft held servants' quarters as well as laundry and drying rooms and a wringing and ironing room.

The representative interiors with coffered ceilings on the ground floors of both apartments were furnished at the expense of the executives with luxurious built-in furniture and other pieces made from fine materials (mahogany and walnut) in the workshop of the renowned Prague cabinet-making firm of Emil Gerstel, which also implemented some of the stucco work.

In the second half of the 20th century, however, the building and its immediate surroundings were considerable devalued. In the early sixties the western apartment was converted - a health centre was created on the ground floor and two flats on the first floor. The area in front of the villa was degraded by a new road junction with a pedestrian footbridge. Today the villa serves as the administrative offices of the brewery.

 


 

Investor

Měšťanský pivovar brewery in Pilsen

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
  • Archiv společnosti Plzeňský Prazdroj
 
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