Apartment Buildings of the Housing Fund of the Czechoslovak State Railways District Directorate and the Building and Housing Cooperative of the Czechoslovak Post Employees for Pilsen and Sur. Area
1947–1949

Částkova 1823, 1822, 1821, 1820, 1826, 1825, 1824, 1828 / 18, 16, 14, 12, 19, 17, 15, 13 (Plzeň) Plzeň Východní Předměstí
Public transport: Olšová (TRAM 1)
GPS: 49.7313633N, 13.3960539E
Architect:
Částkova 1820, 1822 / 12, 16 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1821/14 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1820/12 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1822/16 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1823/18 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1823/18 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1823, 1821 / 18, 14 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1823/18 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1824/15 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1826/19 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1824, 1826 / 15, 19 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1824, 1826 / 15, 19 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1828/13 (foto), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Částkova 1825/17 (01), Source: Archiv Lidového bytového družstva Částkova 1825/17 (02), Source: Archiv Lidového bytového družstva Částkova 1821/14 (situace 1:720), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1821/14 (půdorys podzemí), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1821/14 (půdorys přízemí), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1821/14 (půdorys I. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1821/14 (půdorys II. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1821/14 (půdorys III. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1821/14 (krov), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1821/14 (řez), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1821/14 (severní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1821/14 (jižní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (situace 1:720), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (půdorys sklepů), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (půdorys přízemí), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (půdorys I. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (půdorys II. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (půdorys III. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (krov), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (řez), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (severní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (jižní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1826/19 (východní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1825/17 (situace 1:720), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1825/17 (půdorys sklepů), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1825/17 (půdorys přízemí), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1825/17 (půdorys I. a II. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1825/17 (půdorys III. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1825/17 (řez schodištěm), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1825/17 (severní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (situace 1:720), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (půdorys sklepů), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (půdorys přízemí), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (půdorys I. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (půdorys II. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (půdorys III. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (krov), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (řez), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (severní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (jižní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Částkova 1824/15 (východní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv

As part of the so-called two-year plan, a precursor of the future five-year plans of the centralised economy, a set of eight four-storey apartment houses for employees of the state Post and Railways was built in 1947-1949 on previously undeveloped land along Částkova Street. While the Building and Housing Cooperative of Postal Employees for Pilsen and the Surrounding Area obtained the north row of houses with odd orientation numbers, the District Directorate of the Czechoslovak State Railways included the south row with even numbers in its housing stock.

Originally, the development of Částkova Street was supposed to be of a similar character as the already largely formed area north and south of it ­– with family houses and smaller terraced houses. However, the design and location of the buildings for railway and postal employees already manifested the post-war urbanism discourse, which held the Functionalist theory of urban space in high esteem. Both "rows" of the houses markedly stepped back from the street boundary prefiguring the role of Částkova Street as part of the artery connecting the Slovany and Bory city districts, which was attributed to it by the proposal of a new zoning plan from the late 1940s. They also traversed the planned routing of Ruská Street, which was supposed to reach the present-day streets U Bachmače and Sudova. A part of its track was made present at least by a pedestrian path through house no. 13 from the intersection of the above mentioned streets to Částkova Street.

The project of the whole set with four sections on each side of the street was developed by Prague architect Zdeněk Poncar. During the project, he worked with several variants of grouping the objects – the northern line was supposed to be composed of three, but also of six parts, the southern front of four or five sections. Probably influenced by Modernist theses about designing new complexes as solitary structures in publicly accessible greenery and suppressing the differentiation of the space in front of and behind the house, the architect significantly offset both rows from the street boundary, distancing them from city traffic. The buildings had neither an assigned front nor a back yard; still the two areas were different – both "courtyards" concentrated parking spaces.

(For example, in his design of a ten-year-older Functionalist complex of apartment buildings for the employees of the Electrical Company of the City of Pilsen, Václav Klein respected the different character of the areas to a great extent – buildings along the street boundary have semi-private gardens on the opposite side.) Moreover, Zdeněk Poncar chose the same orientation of the houses towards the cardinal points with entrances from the north and most living rooms facing the south. The consistent preference of optimal lighting and sunlight for the rooms meant that the homes for the post office employees were not entered from the street but from the back.

Zdeněk Poncar’s design of the whole project was very efficient. In both rows he always applied three identical sections, and only narrowed slightly and elongated at the same time the end parts of objects No. 18 and 19 closing the set to the east without changing the layout. He also unified the ceiling spans and used standardised windows. However, he did not give up on the harmonious effect of the complex. He did not assemble the houses into continuous rows, but moved each in front of its neighbour by the width of the balcony. This way both units of a utilitarian design and simple, smoothly plastered facades without any relief structure or ornaments gained a rhythm and a moderate, unobtrusive elegance.

Regarding both construction and layout, Zdeněk Poncar designed all sections of the set in two wings. In each of the four above-ground floors of each building, there was one one-bedroom and one two-bedroom apartment with kitchen and facilities economically concentrated in the north wing with a staircase (the ground floor of house no. 13 contained only one two-bedroom apartment because of the passage way). The southern wing, on the other hand, had most of the residential rooms. The architect distinguished the two rows of houses by the number and location of balconies with subtle steel railings. While in buildings No. 12-18 for the State Railways workers, a balcony belonged to each living room and on the opposite side of the houses also to the kitchen of each smaller apartment; in No. 13-19, which was intended for the Post Office employees, Poncar provided only smaller apartments with a balcony in the south façade, and on the north side of the house he connected balconies to the staircase landings with apartment entrances.

In the basement, the architect allocated a cellar for each apartment and situated a shared laundry in each section. Each row of houses was also equipped with a central heating boiler room. Yet every apartment also had a separate chimney vent in the living room and kitchen, where a combined stove for coal and gas was installed. To provide residents with the necessary facilities while keeping the same layout of the ground floor as on the upper floors, he attached extensions to the north side of the sections with a dynamically shaped, inward curved front, where he placed entrances with vestibules and short staircases, but also a telephone booth and two rooms for bicycles and prams.

The emphasis on cost-effectiveness and speed of construction was also reflected in the materials used; concrete was only applied where absolutely necessary, as the ceilings of all rooms were made from wooden beams. The trussed rafters of low gable roofs were wooden as well, with Eternit (fibre cement) roofing and hip in the extreme extended sections. Apparently due to the lack of building materials and great interest in an early completion of the set, the thickness of some load-bearing external walls of solid bricks was only 45 cm instead of the originally designed 60 cm. However, the entrance extensions of the southern row of houses, where were exposed from the street, were clad with brown clinker tapes, which were also applied to the base of the buildings.

In the first half of the 1960s, two short sections of the same width and height were attached to the western gable walls of both rows of the set, with adjacent one-storey amenity buildings, which extended the street front up to the vicinity of Slovanská Avenue. The symbolic gateway to Částkova Street at the point of its mouth into Slovanská Avenue was created a few years earlier by a symmetrically designed complex of apartment buildings with a broken ground plan and masses of graded heights.

The whole set had been preserved in its original state for decades. In the recent past, apartment owners have replaced the original wooden windows with plastic windows and in most sections have had new balcony handrails fitted.


OM – PK

Investor

Railways Housing Fund for the District Directorate of the Czechoslovak State Railways Pilsen; Building and Housing Cooperative of the Czechoslovak Post Employees for Pilsen and the Surrounding Area

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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