František Stalmach

Date of birth: 10. 9. 1903 Moravská Ostrava

Death date: 22. 9. 1985 Hillsburg, Ontario, Kanada


František Stalmach was born into the family of the painter Josef Stalmach on 10 September 1903. In 1924, he graduated from the State Higher Technical College in Brno and in the same year he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he studied architecture with Josef Gočár until 1927.

The name of František Stalmach is inextricably linked with the extremely prolific design office Stalmach–Svoboda, where he – as the title implies – collaborated with his friend and fellow student from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Jan Hanuš Svoboda. They began their joint careers in 1929 and focused almost exclusively on the designs of administrative bank buildings, which often also had a residential and cultural function. Although they were active in Prague as well, the basis of their activities was represented by designs for smaller settlements in Bohemia (in Moravia they worked only in Stalmach’s native Moravská Ostrava).

Stalmach and Svoboda made a point of using genuine Functionalist forms with an emphasis on rational operation and a well-arranged layout. Yet they were not indifferent to the visual aspect, as revealed by a number of structural elements and details often derived from the register of Emotional Functionalism: symmetrical façade solutions, rounded corners, motifs of bays and running terraces and, in particular, precious stone facade claddings. Although they started to apply more robust forms during the 1940s, they always respected the scale and structure of the surrounding buildings in their designs.

Like his companion, František Stalmach was a member of the Association of Architects and the Association of Academic Architects and together with his colleague he published in the contemporary professional revues Stavitel / Builder, Architekt SIA / Architect SIA and Architektura / Architecture.

After the coup in February 1948, Stalmach emigrated to the Federal Republic of Germany and, unlike Svoboda who continued from there to the USA, he moved to Canada in 1951. He was active mainly in Toronto – first at the Gore and Storie Consulting Engineers design office; later he began a collaboration with Hermann Wojtech. Here, too, he participated in professional associational activities and was a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. He played a very active role in the activities of expatriate movements and of the Czech Catholic Parish in Canada, which was established in the late 1940s after the arrival of a large number of emigrants from communist Czechoslovakia. He designed two sanctuaries for it – St Anthony’s Church in Chatham and St Wenceslas’ Church in Toronto (the Toronto church was a conversion of an abandoned warehouse).

František Stalmach was active in architecture until an advanced age and did not stop designing until the first half of the 1980s. He died in Hillsburg, Canada on the 22nd of September 1985.

Selection of other works

Residential house

Baťa department store, Moravská Ostrava

Family house no. 22 on Pod Žvahovem Street, Prague-Hlubočepy

Apartment house, no. 30 Kouřimská Street, Prague-Vinohrady

1932–1933 / 1938
District Savings Bank, Kostelec nad Černými lesy
Savings Bank, Příbram

Savings Bank, Březnice

Health Insurance Company of Private Officials and Assistants, Moravská Ostrava

District Savings Bank, Havlíčkův Brod

District Savings Bank, Ledeč nad Sázavou

State Savings Bank and Municipal Authority building, Soběslav

Primary school, Soběslav
Savings Bank, Kolín

District Savings Bank, Kralovice
Savings Bank, Říčany

District Savings Bank, Benátky nad Jizerou

Savings Bank, administrative and apartment building no. 1 on Sokolovská Street, Prague-Karlín

District Savings Bank, Nymburk

Hotel Cristal, Železný Brod

St Anthony’s Church, Chatham, Canada

St Wenceslas’ Church, Toronto, Canada