Pair of apartment buildings of  the People’s Building and Housing Cooperative in Pilsen

Lobezská 1117, 1118 / 16, 18, Táborská 1118/18 (Plzeň) Plzeň Východní Předměstí
Public transport: Petrohrad (TROL 12)
GPS: 49.7406878N, 13.3973317E

The Social Democratic People's Building and Housing Cooperative focused its intense construction activity in the interwar period mainly on the realisations of larger, usually five-storey terraced houses at or near the main city avenues. On a smaller scale, the cooperative engaged in individual housing or constructing smaller detached apartment buildings. These cooperative activities include the development in the Petrohrad suburb in the block delimited by Lobezská, Táborská, Guldenerova and Plzenecká Streets. In addition to the standardised-type detached houses (C11–906), one of the originally planned two semi-detached houses with their own fenced garden was built here too.

The project of the building was prepared in 1927 by the builder Karel Ulč, an employee of the Municipal Building Authority and a frequent collaborator with Hanuš Zápal. It was realised by the company of the Pilsen builder František Fína (the final approval was granted in 1928). The construction became one of the cooperative's last investments before the economic crisis, which significantly reduced its activity.

Karel Ulč designed the three-storey building on an H-shaped ground plan with short side arms, the flat roofs of which served as terraces. The central part, oriented along Lobezská Street, was topped by a traditional saddle roof. Although the architect conceived the whole house as a homogenous unit, he formed it from two independent, mirror-inverted sections accessible by their own entrances on the sides of the central section where the house staircase was situated. The symmetrical arrangement of the main facade was enhanced by a stepped dormer situated in the central axis of the house.

The simple facades of the building revealed a clear shift from the decorative morphology characteristic of the cooperative buildings in the first half of the 1920s (C2–333, C3–1596 etc.) to purist forms. Apart from the subtle chambranles and two inconspicuous continuous string courses, the architect segmented the cladding only with balconies, deep recessed loggias and loggias with a protruding balcony, all fitted with tubular railings.

However, the expansion of each of the 32 apartments with an open balcony or loggia could only partially offset their economical layout and modest facilities. The flats consisting either only of a living kitchen or of a kitchen and a room were equipped only with a toilet and a washbasin in the hall. Two shared bathrooms in the basement were to provide tenants with facilities for standard hygiene. Moreover, in the two-wing arrangement of the central section and the one-wing layout of the side sections, most flats were oriented only to one cardinal direction each. Two housing units were located in the basement of the main wing, as were the laundries and cellars. Residents of the house could also use storage cubicles in the attic.

In 1932, the cooperative had a hipped roof installed above the roof terraces of both diagonal wings. The works were carried out by a member of the cooperative, builder Karel Krůta. Unfortunately, the current state of the building, after these secondary modifications and modern reconstructions, lacks the original early Functionalist expression.



People’s Building and Housing Cooperative in Pilsen


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