Karel Lhota

Date of birth: 12. 8. 1894 Královské Vinohrady

Death date: 1. 4. 1947 Praha-Vinohrady


The personality Karel Lhota is today almost exclusively associated with the work of the famous architect Adolf Loos thanks to their cooperation on iconic structures of inter-war Functionalism (Villa Müller in Prague-Střešovice, Villa Winternitz in Prague-Smíchov), then adaptations in Pilsen of luxury apartment interiors for the Hirsch (C2–812), Beck and Brummel families (C2–741). However, it was always Lhota’s teaching and publishing activity that prevailed over his admirable architecture practice.

Karel Lhota was born in Prague – Královské Vinohrady into the family of the architect and teacher Josef Lhota on the 12th of August 1894. His father held the position of director of the Technical School in Pilsen from 1904 and the family moved there. The young Karel attended the State Grammar School in Pilsen in the years 1905-1912. After that, he returned to Prague to study at the University of Architecture and Structural Engineering, where he obtained the traditional training from the architects Jan Koula, Josef Fanta, Alois Čenský and Antonín Balšánek. He took 11 years to finish his studies as he had to do his military service (1914-1917). He undertook inspiring study journeys to Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. In the first years of his career he was also active in Slovakia, however was engaged primarily in Prague and Brno where he met the Brno native Adolf Loos.

Karel Lhota did not settle down in Pilsen until 1925, when he started teaching at the local technical school. Thanks to the wide range of his interests, he soon became a significant personality in the field of architecture and urbanism, yet also in theatre, scenography, fine art and other cultural life. Together with his contemporaries – headed by Václav Neckář – he systematically advocated modern architecture of austere shapes. He spread his views among the public through lectures and exhibitions of the Association of Visual Artists of Pilsen, but also through his teaching and publishing activities. With his articles on housing culture and on the work, ideas and concepts of Adolf Loos, he contributed especially to the periodicals Architekt SIA and Pestrý týden (“Colourful Week”).

In the years 1932-1942, Lhota became a professor at the I. State Technical School in Prague, later he was employed as inspector of professional schools at the Ministry of Education and National Enlightenment. In the year 1939, he was awarded the title of Doctor of Technical Sciences by the Czech Technical University in Brno for preparing the town development plan of Vysoké nad Jizerou.

Although Karel Lhota retired due to a serious illness in 1945, he continued his collaboration with the Hronov Theatre Festival and made a great number of stage designs. He died at Vinohrady Hospital on the 1st of May 1947.


Selection of other works

State Hospital, Košice (collaboration on the construction)

Projects of sugar factory owners’ villas, Prague-Střešovice

Concept design of a new building of the State Institute for Dentist Training; design of the District House in Horažďovice and sketches for extension of the ear clinic in Prague; the project of the facade of the Physics Institute of the Czech Technical University in Prague (as an employee of the Department of Structural Engineering at the Political Land Administration in Prague)

Conversion of the architect’s own house, no. 70 Klatovská Ave., Pilsen

Villa Müller, Prague-Střešovice (together with Adolf Loos)

Conversion of the house of O. Macenauer, Úlice near Pilsen

Interior conversion of Lumír Kapsa’s apartment, Prague-Bubeneč (together with Adolf Loos)

Conversion of K. Neubert’s house, Dobřichovice

Conversion of Frank Wenig’s apartment, no. 3 Škodova St. (today’s Kardinála Berana St.), Pilsen

Villa Winternitz, Prague–Smíchov (together with Adolf Loos)

Log-style house of Doctor V. Kotleta, Horní Radechová near Náchod

Villa Vogel, Prague–Dejvice
Tourist chalet, Vysoké nad Jizerou