Rebuilding and extension of the premises of the Savings Bank of the Royal City of Pilsen
1914–1915 / 1928

Františkánská 356/15 (Plzeň) Plzeň Vnitřní Město
Public transport: Goethova (BUS 33, 40, TROL 13, 14)
Náměstí Republiky (TRAM 1, 2)
GPS: 49.7450394N, 13.3781826E
Františkánská 356/15 (foto 01), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 02), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 03), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 04), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 05), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 06), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 07), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 08), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 09), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 10), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 11), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 12), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 13), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 14), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 15), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (foto 16), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Františkánská 356/15 (01), Source: Archiv města Plzně: Místopisná sbírka Ladislava Lábka (K 83 a K 84a). 83/259 Františkánská 356/15 (02), Source: Archiv města Plzně: Sbírka fotografií, i. č. o 2615, LP 302/64 Františkánská 356/15 (03), Source: Archiv města Plzně: Sbírka fotografií, i. č. o 2633, LP 302/82a–c Františkánská 356/15 (půdorys I. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Františkánská 356/15 (pohled 01), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Františkánská 356/15 (pohled 02), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Františkánská 356/15 (pohled 03), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Františkánská 356/15 (pohled 04), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Františkánská 356/15 (pohled 05), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Františkánská 356/15, Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv

The representative building on the corner of the streets Františkánská Kopeckého sady resulted from the conversion of the savings bank’s older Neo-Renaissance palace (1887-1889) designed by Emanuel Klotz. The Savings Bank of the Royal City of Pilsen (Spořitelna královského města Plzně) decided in 1914 to modify its headquarters and turn it into a modern financial institution in an architectural style that would better express the bank's tradition and stability. For that reason, the renowned Prague architect Bedřich Bendelmayer, author of the winning design in the competition for the new Municipal Baths in Pilsen, was commissioned to draft the plans for the building.

Bendelmayer’s plans for the monumental bank building in the spirit of Neo-Classical Modernism clearly illustrates his gradual departure from late Wagnerian Secession and gravitation towards Neo-Classicism, which he only fully expressed in his work during the 1920s. The city’s Art Council, however, feared that the self-confident new building would overshadow and suppress the neighbouring Decorative Art Museum of West Bohemian Museum and hesitated over approving the plans. The architect successfully defended his design before the committee, however, and in December 1914, the Pilsen firm of Josef Špalek began the conversion of the building.

The three-storey savings bank building with a high mansard roof retained the axial arrangement of the original building, but both the exterior and interior were altered beyond recognition. The facade, punctuated on each floor by tall rectangular and arched windows, is emphasised by a combination of artificial stone, coarsely-grained rendering and fields above the ground-floor windows with relief rosettes. Similar decoration appears in the form of a horizontal frieze of stylized geometric floral ornament running at the level of the lintels of the first-floor windows. On the facade facing Kopeckého sady, Bendelmayer applied the motif of a series of tall columns, which he also used in his design of the Municipal Baths. He divided up the expanse of the facade by means of fluted columns with voluted Ionic capitals, which bear an entablature with a tympanum-like gable above it, surmounted by allegorical figures of Thrift and Abundance by the sculptor Josef Kalvoda. The architect accentuated this central expanse of the facade on each side with a pair of shallow avant-corps.

Bendelmayer also conceived the interior in a decorative Neo-Classical style. For the ground floor, accessed via the main entrance from Františkánská Street, he designed a foyer with a coffered ceiling and leading from it a walk-through hall with a semi-spiral staircase and a spacious vestibule, lit from above, with cash counters and the operational rooms of the institution. The two upper floors held a lavish boardroom with a stucco ornamented ceiling and a marble fireplace, offices and employee facilities. In 1927, the bank succeeded in buying the neighbouring plot of land from the Franciscan Monastery, on which Antonín Špalek then erected a two-storey extension with new offices and an archive. The author of the plans approached the commission very sensitively and matched the facade and roof of the extension to the main building.

Although the savings bank building was listed in 1991 as a cultural monument, it did not escape a number of unfortunate interventions – replacement of the original wooden windows with inappropriate plastic ones and a conversion and superstructure extension of the northern part of the building. Unfortunately, the exterior space of the building is also degraded by an unsightly gravel parking lot next to the former monastery.


AK

Investor

Savings Bank of the Royal City of Pilsen

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
  • NPÚ, ú. o. p. v Plzni, Evidenční list nemovité památky, č. rejstříku ÚSKP 44285/4-4729.
 
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