Náměstí Emila Škody / Emil Škoda Square

(Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.745712N, 13.363332E

Emil Škoda Square is a large space between Husova and Tylova Streets west of the historical city centre. While it is bordered by the building of the former Škoda Works technical offices (C2–2929) to the south, its north side is made up of the complex of the Central Bus Station and the facade of the house of Hedvika Liebsteinová and Jana and Jan Brummel (C2–741), reconstructed to the design of Adolf Loos and Karel Lhota in the years 1927–1929.

A space being of such extent is not the result of a plan but of a gradual clearing of the area. The development in the belt between Husova and Tylova Streets west of Husovo náměstí / Hus Square was largely formed in the first two decades of the last century. The whole area of the present-day square was subdivided by three streets with two housing blocks in between. All of one block at the site of the current parking lot was taken up by the Classicist building of the Škoda Works directorate, which was severely damaged during the last Allied air raid on the arms production in the Škoda factory on the 25th of April 1945. Subsequently, the building’s ruins were torn down and the vacant lot has never been developed on again. 

The housing block east of the former directorate building was removed in the 1960s. In the same period, streets were also shut down which resulted in the generous dimensions of the square. In 1965, the Škoda Works (at the time bearing the name Škoda, a specialised Pilsen enterprise) built a large underground civil defence fallout shelter with a capacity of 600 people, designed in the first place for factory employees. It serves as a shooting range these days. A spacious parking lot in the western part of the square was developed in the 1960s as well and a major part of the space was turned into a park. Part of the block development in the north side of the square was demolished during the 1970s and 1980s because of the construction of the new Central Bus Station, whose main building was finished in the year 1983. This construction involved a 200-metre-long underpass beneath the station and the square from Skvrňanská Avenue up to Tylova Street.

The sculpture in the public space right on the axis of the complex main gate also comes from the 1980s. It can be seen as a “monument to the Pilsen Škoda Works” with three pylons connected by “hoops” with the traditional factory logo. The motif of the winged arrow is further developed in the art concept of the gate. The nearby Emil Škoda monument from the year 1996 has recently been damaged – at the moment the bust of the factory founder is missing on the high granite block complemented by the lower bulk of the square foundation stone. 

The current state of the square and its surroundings is rather bleak. Due to a dramatic reduction in job positions at the Škoda Works complex after the year 1989, the location of the Central Bus Station in this area (i.e. on the opposite end of the city to that of the train station) is no longer well-founded. The extraordinary size of the square is not adequate for the current situation either. An urbanism/architecture competition in 2014 attempted to answer questions about a new function and form of the square, and was won by a team of four authors – Petr Bouřil, Sandra Gulázsiová, Magdalena Nováková and Filip Fišer. The winning design is to be further elaborated.


JČ – MK

Sources

  • mapy.plzen.eu
 
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