About the project

The Pilsen Architecture Manual (PAM) is an expert/popularisation project that maps the city’s architecture in the period approximately from 1914 to 1948, i.e. buildings of early Modernism including their Historicist, Classicist and Cubist nuances, sites elaborating on the National Style, Decorativism and Purism, as well as various attitudes toward Functionalism. Exceptions to this period can be found in two interior realisations, via which Adolf Loos entered the Pilsen scene in 1907-1910. Other exceptions are selected “borderline cases”, which document the gradual change from architecture endorsing traditional or Art Nouveau morphology to Modernist architecture. In a similar vein, buildings finished in the first half of the 1950s have been entered into the database as well. The project presents buildings connected to nine paths that take interested parties around the city. The backbone of the project, which intersects four other routes, is the trail connecting the sites of the realisations of Adolf Loos and his collaborators.

The project, inspired by the successful Brno Architecture Manual (BAM), aims to present individual buildings, architects, builders, selected public spaces and city districts to both the general public and experts. It contains an on-line database and map brochures, and also audio recordings – all of this in Czech, English and German versions. The main goal of the project is to mediate experience with architecture that is exhibited in situ. In the database with a web interface at pam.plzne.cz, all buildings and their files are accompanied by the date, address, GPS coordinates and information about the nearest public transport stops. Most of the sites are documented by contemporary photographs or archival images. Planning documentation and a short profile is also included for most buildings. An integral part of the website is an interactive map of Pilsen, which makes it easy to search for sites. While most of the buildings and authors of projects from the first period have already been published on the website, work on the documentation of buildings and architects from the post-war era and the creation of the relevant paths is still ongoing.

Since the formation of the original concept and during the several years of its existence, the project’s scope has widened significantly. With most paths, the initial and less numerous selection of leading realisations has been complemented with other sites that have almost “everyday” qualities. However, these buildings represent the highly developed building culture of the given period and give evidence of the need for a high architectural standard to exist in order to create a high-quality public environment. They also offer a vivid image of the genesis of this area and the competence of the builders and building companies that implemented the designs of the time or of the clients’ activity – this applies most of all to the building cooperatives that initiated the construction of dozens of sites and their complexes. These aspects outweighed the risk of potentially blurring the selection. Its borders were truly difficult to find – however, considering the nature of the project, the selection of buildings (which is not subject to any exact criteria) or the number of texts and other materials are not final and may be further elaborated upon or adapted.

As individual paths run through parts of the city with different characteristics (the areas are defined by history, geography, topography as well as by the character of the locations), the architecture standard of the selected buildings and the selection criteria are not uniform either. For instance, the path leading through the historical city centre evidently has the highest number of unique buildings; despite this fact, however, the selection includes several fairly unremarkable residential houses as well. This was done to show the contrasting nature of these buildings and to illustrate the manner in which these buildings replaced older sites and took their place in the historical matter of the city. (On the contrary, in this case the selection includes only a part of the buildings realised according to Ludwig Tremmel’s proposal; their date of origin and to some extent their morphology narrowly precede the given period.) To create at least a basic differentiation in the standard of the buildings, they have been divided into two categories – a smaller portion has been included in the “curator’s selection”, which presents sites that stand out in the context of the given path in terms of their architecture qualities, city-forming significance, scale, history or the circumstances of their origin.

Thus the nature of the Pilsen project is slightly different from that of the Brno Architecture Manual. With respect to the specific situation of Brno, which has possessed a stronger professional scene and a substantially higher number of unique realisations, the authors have also been motivated by an effort to capture an entire era of architecture in Pilsen. Due to insensitive renovations, many buildings are losing their former appearance and some of their original qualities. The project attempts to preserve this appearance where it is still possible; by processing and publishing drawing and photography documentation, the project also becomes a sort of digital archive. At the same time it strives to draw attention to the on-going loss of a part of Pilsen’s architectural heritage and points out the necessity of preservation and a sensitive approach to sites that are not listed as heritage sites. To help the public perceive the architectural and urbanism values of the city, guided walks are held along the individual paths. A similar walk is also a part of an interactive workshop for the youngest generation prepared by members of the Architects in School initiative. 

The first stage of the project was realised care of the Pilsen 2015 public benefit organisation, within the Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015 programme with the kind support of the Pilsen Region and the State Fund for Culture of the Czech Republic. The second stage, supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the Pilsen 2015 public benefit organisation, was produced by the Foster the City association.

Note on the database
With the exception of several sites that did not fit into the displayed maps due to their distance from the paths, all buildings are represented in the map brochure by a point on the map with basic information – a code, name, date, address and the name of the project’s author (denoted implicitly as architect). The building codes correspond with their house number; for the maps and photography captions, only these numbers or abbreviations are given for clarity.  The original names for the sites are used. Only in the Semler residence did the significance of the apartment reconstruction prevail over the importance of the former name of the site. In the example of complexes with a higher number of sites with different clients and names, the title has been “unified”. If the current owner did not wish to have the client’s name published, the name is given in a general form. Contrarily, the present or traditional name is used for public spaces, which are listed separately. Apart from the date of origin – or demolition – of buildings, the date is given of the further stages of the design, adaptations, extensions or renovations which took place in the relevant period and had a significant impact on the appearance of the sites. Interior adaptations, for instance, have not been given their own dates. Extensions of buildings are usually included in the given entry; only the most prominent ones that were conceived as more or less independent sites have their own entries. Some buildings that are parts of larger complexes – the premises of the former municipal hospital, the City of Pilsen Electrical Company, the United Machine Works, the Škoda Works, or the brewery – have also been processed individually. An exception to this is the former complex of the municipal exhibition grounds. The names of architects are only given in cases where we are able to prove or reasonably assume their authorship of the project. If a builder’s or building company authorship is possible, or probable, their names are listed in brackets.

Authors of the project
Author of the concept, project manager, text editor, PAM specialist guarantor — Petr Klíma
Co-author of the concept — Lucie Valdhansová
Texts on the website — Pavel Beneš (PB), Kateřina Klímová (Cibulková) (KK, KC), Jaromír Čížek (JČ), Klára Eliášová (KE), Veronika Fousková (VF), Martina Hrabová (MH), Martina Kadaníková (MK), Petr Klíma (PK), Petra Konopčíková (PeK), Alena Křížková (AK), Ondřej Molin (OM), Andrea Ptáčková (AP), Magdaléna Radová (MR), Lenka Růžičková (LR), Tomáš Řepa (TŘ), Martin Strakoš (MS), Anna Waisserová (Šubrtová) (AŠ, AW), Lucie Valdhansová (LV)
Photographs — Matěj Hošek, Petr Jehlík, Radovan Kodera, Rostislav Zapletal
Drawings — Petr Jehlík
Graphic design — Bušek+Dienstbier
Graphic editing of archive materials — Martin Czeller, Dita Krouželová
Translations — John Comer, Marie Tesková, Filip Miller, Skyland Kobylak
Research — Pavel Beneš, Kateřina Cibulková, Petra Cimburková, Václav Cinádr, Petr Klíma, Kateřina Klímová (Cibulková), Petra Konopčíková, Alena Křížková, Magdaléna Radová, Lenka Růžičková, Lucie Valdhansová, Anna Waisserová (Šubrtová)
Director of english audioguides — Jiří Honzírek
Sound of audioguides — Karel Brothánek (Czech Radio Pilsen), Jiří Suchánek (Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology) 
English voices of audioguides — Michelle Burke, Jack Stephens
Further collaboration — Petra Cimburková, Václav Cinádr, Silvie Hašlová, Šárka Holečková, Alena Nová, Lucie Pechmanová, Karolína Plášková
Database and website — Via Aurea, s. r. o.
Maps — Správa informačních technologií města Plzně

Collection of sites/items and archive materials including historical maps

Archives of the Building Administrative Department, Technical Authority of the Municipality of the City of Pilsen, City of Pilsen Archives, Archives of the Pilsner Urquell Company, Brno City Museum, Olomouc Museum of Art, State District Archives in Pilsen, VGHMÚř Dobruška, the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen and private archives

Conceptual and methodology model
Brno Architecture Manual (BAM)

Additional partner project
Litomyšl Architecture Manual (LAM)
Hradec Králové Architecture Manual (KAM)
Zlín Architecture Manual (ZAM)
Jičín Architecture Manual (J.A.M.)
Jihlava Architecture Manual (JAM)
Uzhhorod Modernism Architecture Manual

Thanks to
Stanislav Achac, Martin Baxa, Michal Bém, Josef Beneš, Filip Blažek, Alexandra Brabcová, Michal Brummel, Petr Domanický, Jindřich Chatrný, Petr Jindra, Jan Kaigl, Jan Kaisler, Jana Komišová, Rostislav Koryčánek, Zuzana Koubíková, Jiří Kozohorský, Luděk Krčmář, Zdeňka Krpálková, Jana Mainzerová, Petra Martinová, Roman Musil, Marta Perůtková, Anna Peřinová, Terezie Petišková, Štěpánka Pflegerová, Šimon Pumr, Marek Sivák, Adam Skála, Jan Souček, Jiří Suchánek, Milan Svoboda, Dagmar Škubalová, Jindra Štěpánková, Jakub Šlouf, Kristina Štěpánová, Iva Tománková, Michal Vališ, Karel Zoch and many others

Special thanks to
Pilsen 2015 public benefit organisation, Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, Pilsen Region, City of Pilsen, State Fund for Culture of the Czech Republic, City District Pilsen 2, City District Pilsen 3, City District Pilsen 4, Brno House of Arts; owners, co-owners and property management who gave their consent to the publishing of archived materials and acquiring up-to-date documentation