Civic Credit Union building

Kopeckého sady 9/5, Goethova 9/2 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
Public transport: Goethova (BUS 33, 40, TROL 13, 14)
Mrakodrap (BUS 20, 27, 34, 35, 57, TROL 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19)
GPS: 49.7445428N, 13.3781658E

The history of the Pilsen institution the Civic Credit Union (Občanská záložna) began as early as 1863 during an exceptional boom of the city. The institution’s efforts to acquire its own representative building continued, however, for several decades. The Credit Union had provisional headquarters at various addresses over the years, for example in Imperial House (Císařský Dům). It was not until 1904 that it bought two older buildings in Kopeckého sady and, following essential modifications to the ground floor, relocated its offices there in 1908.

The present-day appearance of the Civic Credit Union building, dating from 1928, was designed by the architect František Krásný, a native of the Pilsen suburb of Koterov. Following the design of several buildings in Prague, Pilsen, Vienna and Ljubljana from the mid-19th century onwards in Neo-Renaissance and later Secession style, Krásný’s architectural style gradually matured towards Modernism, inspired by his Vienna professor, Otto Wagner. After a long absence, Krásný returned to his native Pilsen with his design for modernisation of the Civic Credit Union building, in which he almost entirely abandoned the ornamentation of the previous periods, although he did not deny a certain inclination towards Historicism.

Krásný’s design joined the two former buildings of the Civic Credit Union together and raised them by one floor. He crowned the mass of the monumental three-storey building with a generously overhanging cornice and a hipped roof with dormer windows. The architect set the main facade facing the street and park Kopeckého sady and achieved a connecting visual axis with the square Náměstí Republiky across the intervening Františkánská Street. He gave rhythm to the facades by means of vertical rectangular windows lined with rounded pilasters that visually connect the first and second floors and pass through a string course to the level of the uppermost floor. These and other smaller details of the Neo-Classical arrangement of the facade, clearly legible also in the facade of the gable wall in Martinská Street, also betray the influence on the architect of the approaches and aesthetics of the National Style and Art Deco. Krásný set a shallow avant-corps before the centre of the main facade, accentuated by a low attic parapet with a pair of sculptures mounted on pillars on each side. He placed a portal on the parterre of the avant-corps lined with a rectangular frame. This feature may be seen as an allusion to Loosian principles, which Krásný knew from his time in Vienna and had applied there in his modification of the local branch of the Czechoslovak business bank Živnostenská banka. In the grand Civic Credit Union building, however, he subordinated the various nuances of architectural Modernism to the proportional forms of the whole. Partly for that reason, the building communicates naturally with the Spořitelna savings bank building opposite and sits well in the urban design concept of the Kopeckého sadů area.




Civic Credit Union (Občanská záložna)