Building of the Third Primary and Council Boys School for the East District
1937–1938

Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (Plzeň) Plzeň Východní Předměstí
Public transport: Poliklinika Slovany (BUS 29, 30)
GPS: 49.7303142N, 13.4007900E
Architect:
Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (01), Source: Archiv města Plzně, Sbírka fotografií, i. č. o 5510–5512, LP 351/15–17 Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (situace 1:720), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (situace 1:200), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (půdorys suterénu), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (půdorys přízemí), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (půdorys I. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (půdorys II. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (půdorys III. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (půdorys IV. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (řez I), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (řez II), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (pohled jihovýchodní), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (pohled severovýchodní), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (pohled jihozápadní), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Čapkovo náměstí 1716/1A (pohled severozápadní), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv

In the late 1930s, a “dominating” feature was built in the growing housing development of the former Prague Suburb, now the Eastern Suburb between Jirásek Square and the current Milada Horáková Square. The Functionalist building of a nursery school, primary and council boys' school, built by Müller & Kapsa between 1937 and 1938, became one of the most modern and functionally equipped new school buildings of its time.

The implemented project of the building came from an architecture competition in 1937, to which only architects from the Municipal Building Authority were invited. The winner was Václav Klein, who, after the retirement of Hanuš Zápal in 1931, worked at the office on projects of school and residential buildings. He left his signature on the face of the city with many Modernist buildings, as well as designs of partial adaptations of existing buildings – e.g. in the years 1939-1940 the City of Pilsen Electrical Company had a complex of three apartment buildings for their employees constructed according to Klein’s project in the nearby Slovanská alej (C17–1776).

Václav Klein arranged the school building with a T-shaped ground plan and, in line with the Functionalist discourse of the period, divided its mass according to the most important partial functions and furnished it with flat roofs. The longer four-storey wing with an elevated ground floor facing the south-eastern part of today's Čapek Square was reserved for classrooms. Most of them in the right, eastern part of the building were used by the council and nursery schools, supplemented by a medical counselling office; the remaining spaces in the left, west parts of the building housed the primary school. In the perpendicular ground floor wing, the architect placed a gym and technical facilities. The gym with showers was used by all students, as well as the summer training ground with a swimming pool and a wading pool, located in the garden northwest of the building. In the basement, the author of the project placed changing rooms, a spare classroom, a workshop with a study, an apartment for a boilerman or a warehouse.

Klein's sophisticated asymmetric mass composition, in which the gradation of volumes plays a key role, stands out most in the main facade reserved for classrooms. In front of it the architect eccentrically placed a two-storey volume, flanked by separate entrances in the council school and the primary school and traversed by a continuous awning covering both entrances. (The kindergarten had its own entrance from the northeast; the side entrance from the southwest was intended to serve "the citizenry for occasions of theatrical performance" which would take place on a stage that was part of the gym.)

The forward advanced “entrance” volume – similarly to the central part of the main wing on the higher floors – was broken by Václav Klein almost completely with a large-format ribbon window. The generous lighting and sunlight, as well as plenty of clean air flowing into the classrooms were provided by additional large windows arranged in horizontal strips. The part of the building with classrooms was crowned with a slightly receding floor with a prismatic clock “tower”, which housed a unique small observatory with a dome. The austere facade with contrasting segments of smooth plaster and ceramic tiles, which the architect applied at the plinth level and on the top floor, was complemented here by inscriptions in minuscule letters indicating individual schools.

Václav Klein applied abundant segmentation of the back part of the main tract. He placed a pair of staircase towers where the gym wing was attached to the main body (opposite the two main entrances in the street front). Their vertical character was emphasised by glazed strips that run uninterrupted at the height of all four floors above ground and line the connecting corridor of the gym on the ground floor.

In addition to the mass, operational and artistic aspects of the building, Václav Klein designed the technical aspects in an ingenious manner as well. The technical facilities located in the basement under the gym consisted of a boiler room, a coal room, a filter chamber, and a steam humidification device to cool hot air in the classrooms in summer.

Teaching started at the school in February 1939; however, as early as in 1942 the city began to adapt the building to the needs of the gynaecological and obstetric clinic of the Pilsen hospital (the construction of a separate pavilion, which was to complement the municipal hospital in the Southern Suburb never materialised). The new function of the premises required numerous reconstructions and modifications of the interior, as well as smaller extensions at the courtyard facade of the building ­– for example, a "bunker for special treatment with radium" from 1969. The clinic resided here until 2007, when it moved to the Pilsen University Hospital in the district of Lochotín.

The abandoned building is the property of a private company, which is considering its transformation into a retirement home.
 

AW

Investor

City of Pilsen

Sources

  • Archiv města Plzně
  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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