Superstructure of the shop and office building of the 1st Pilsen Furniture Market

Americká třída 638/22 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
Public transport: Mrakodrap (BUS 20, 27, 34, 35, 57, TROL 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19)
U Práce (TRAM 4)
GPS: 49.7433859N, 13.3753287E

The grandiose Jungmannova Avenue (today Americká) in close proximity to the city’s historical centre was enhanced around 1930 by a relatively bold conversion and superstructure extension of the 19th century corner house with the descriptive number 638, which gave the building an almost industrial feel. The adaptation was initiated by the Pilsen furniture market I. plzeňská tržnice nábytku, which converted the existing residential and commercial building into its company headquarters containing offices and drawing studios as well as a furniture showroom and sales outlet. The furniture market together with the almost simultaneously erected cinema Bio Elektra and the ASO apartment and commercial building (C1–1981) created a splendid entrance into Lucemburská Street (now Škroupova).

The first large-scale construction modifications to the building were carried out in the spring of 1929, beginning with enlarging of the window apertures on the ground floor and first floor of the existing building. Simultaneously the facade was converted, giving the originally Historicist building a contemporary architectural look. In the summer months of the same year, work was begun on the addition of a third- and fourth-floor superstructure. On structural grounds the superstructure had to be as light as possible, so the builders made use of expansive windows in place of heavy masonry walls and abandoned the original saddle roof shape. The transition between the original three-storey house and the new superstructure is accentuated by a slightly projecting continuous string course. The facade of the original building is divided only by unobtrusive shallow lesene frames in the rendering, while the superstructure is dominated by pilasters revealing the tectonics of the extension. The planning documentation reveals that the central axis of each facade was originally crowned with attic parapets. The corners of the building are artistically handled – while the lower part is rounded, the upper is contrastingly hollowed out in concave.

The building had modern technical equipment such as a freight elevator located in a shaft in the courtyard section. After WWII, the building was taken over by the West Bohemian Joinery Cooperative (ZTD – Západočeské truhlářské družstvo), which conducted minor modifications and in the late 1960s had striking neon signs mounted on the facade. At the present time, appreciation of the original architecture of the building is unfortunately hampered by the disproportionate expanse of advertising signs as well as later interventions that have rather insensitively added further construction layers to several still visible former ones.




1st Pilsen Furniture Market (I. plzeňská tržnice nábytku)


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