Jan Hanuš Svoboda

Date of birth: 1. 9. 1904 Příbram

Death date: 1978 USA


After graduating from the Technical High School in Bratislava, Jan Hanuš Svoboda, a native of Příbram in Central Bohemia, enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague in 1923, where he attended the prestigious special course led by Josef Gočár until 1926. He met his future colleague and friend František Stalmach there, with whom he founded the joint architecture studio Stalmach–Svoboda in 1929, focusing mainly on projects involving administrative bank buildings, often with adjoining residential and cultural facilities. Although they were also active in Prague, it is the designs for smaller towns mainly in Bohemia, sporadically in Moravia, that can be considered as the core of their activities.

Under the influence of what was known as Emotional Functionalism, whose protagonists absolutely refused to observe the dictate of function and advocated the creative and artistic role of the architect, Stalmach and Svoboda designed buildings which were sensitive to the urban context of the site and the scale of the surrounding buildings. The aesthetic value of their buildings lay mainly in the application of noble materials (mainly stone facade claddings), as well as symmetrical facade solutions, often complemented by ribbon windows, rounded corners, large terraces and others. In addition to these aspects of art, they always emphasised a rational, economically sound concept and well-arranged ground plan.

Jan Hanuš Svoboda, in collaboration with his colleague, published in the contemporary professional journals Stavitel / Builder, Architekt SIA / Architect SIA and Architektura / Architecture and was a member of the Association of Architects, and the Association of Academic Architects.

Like František Stalmach, Svoboda migrated to Germany in 1949. Unlike his friend, who then moved to Canada, Svoboda travelled to the United States, where he worked as an architect for the designers R.J. Reiley & Associates in New York until 1962, and then in the Office for School Buildings of the Ministry of Education of the State of New York. Even in America, he participated in professional association activities, and from 1960 he was a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Jan Hanuš Svoboda died in an unknown location in the United States in 1978.

Selection of other works

Baťa department store, Moravská Ostrava

Family house, Prague-Hlubočepy, 191/22 Pod Žvahovem Street

Apartment building, Prague-Vinohrady, 2293/30 Kouřimská Street

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

Savings Bank, Březnice

Health Insurance Company of Private Officials and Employees, Moravská Ostrava

District Savings Bank, Havlíčkův Brod

District Savings Bank, Ledeč nad Sázavou

State Savings Bank and the Town Hall, Soběslav

Primary school, Soběslav
Savings Bank, Kolín

Savings bank, Kralovice
Trade Savings Bank, Říčany

District Savings Bank, Benátky nad Jizerou

Savings bank, office and apartment building, Prague-Karlín, 371/1 Sokolovská 

District and Trade Savings Bank, Nymburk

Hotel Cristal, Železný Brod