Building of Luděk Pik’s Civil Schools
1930–1932

Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21 , Moravská 823/1 (Plzeň) Plzeň Doubravka
Public transport: Opavská (BUS 29, 30, TROL 16, 17)
Ke Kukačce (TROL 13)
GPS: 49.7517333N, 13.4137147E
Architect:
Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 01b), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 01c), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 03b), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 04b), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 05b), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 07), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 07b), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 08), author: Petr Jehlík, 2014 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 08b), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 09), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 10), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 11), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 12), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 13), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 14), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 15), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 16), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104, Opavská 823/21, Moravská 823/1 (foto 17), author: Petr Jehlík, 2020 Masarykova 823/104 (01), Source: Archiv města Plzně, Sbírka fotografií, i. č. o 4820–4822, LP 347/6 Masarykova 823/104 (02), Source: Archiv města Plzně, Sbírka fotografií, i. č. o 5519–5521, LP 351/24–26 Masarykova 823/104 (03), Source: Archiv města Plzně, Sbírka fotografií, i. č. o 5526, LP 351/31 Masarykova 823/104 (04), Source: Archiv města Plzně, Sbírka fotografií, i. č. o 5526, LP 351/31 Masarykova 823/104 (05), Source: Archiv města Plzně, Sbírka fotografií, i. č. o 5526, LP 351/31 Masarykova 823/104 (06), Source: Archiv města Plzně, Sbírka fotografií, i. č. o 5526, LP 351/31 Opavská 823/21 (situace), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (půdorys suterénu), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (půdorys přízemí), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (půdorys I. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (půdorys II. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (půdorys III. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (řez), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (řez), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (řez), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (východní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (západní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (severní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Opavská 823/21 (jižní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv

The most important inter-war building in Masarykova Street, which became an important junction after the village of Doubravka was annexed to Greater Pilsen in 1924, is undoubtedly the building of the former Civil Schools (today a grammar school) named after Luděk Pik, the renowned First Republic-era Mayor of Pilsen. This Functionalist building with refined forms was constructed in 1930-1932 according to the design of equally famous Pilsen architect Hanuš Zápal, who at the time occupied the post of Chief Building Commissioner and Technical Councillor at the Municipal Building Authority.

Designs of school buildings were among Zápal’s most common tasks, as evidenced by the number of his projects and realisation of buildings of this type. Let us mention at least those in Pilsen: the Business Academy in T.G. Masaryk Square (C1–1530), the design of primary schools in the Karlov neighbourhood, the Masaryk School (C12–878), the Higher Business School (C8–517, today Pavlov's Pavilion of the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen), the Beneš School (C5–1692), and the Masaryk Primary School (today Bolevec Primary School, C16–550). The building in Doubravka is the last in this list of school buildings in Pilsen, and clearly stands out among them in style thanks to its conciseness. It was one of Zápal’s last projects before his retirement in 1931.

Zápal composed the building with several flat-roofed volumes – he situated an elongated four-storey mass along Masarykova Street, to which he attached two perpendicular three-storey wings at both ends (the length of the northern wing is almost negligible). A lower gymnasium building was affixed to the two main wings at their point of contact in Opavská Street. Zápal lent an almost industrial character to the entire complex and its smooth facades by applying surprisingly large window panes organised either in a regular geometric grid or in the form of horizontal or vertical bands. Apart from the composition of the volumes, this structure of ingeniously segmented glass surfaces gives the primary visual effect of the object freed from all ornamentation (with the exception of the upper cornice). In order to enhance the effect of the glass panes, the architect situated the main entrances to the building not on the most important facade on Masarykova Street, but in the side facades in Moravská and Opavská Streets. The Modernist character of the building was strengthened with pipe railings on the balconies and terraces.

This austerely conceived exterior, similar to that which Zápal had created in the school building projects of the Masaryk School in Horní Bříza in 1928, was unparalleled in the context of his work. Perhaps he strove to equal the contemporary creations of architectural centres in Prague and Brno. Unlike those architects, however, Zápal was nearly a generation older and did not adhere to Functionalist principles quite as consistently. Although he designed the main school building as a reinforced concrete frame allowing for a maximum of open layout and the application of much built-in furniture and the large windows mentioned above, he did not make the radical move of leaving the plasters in pure white; instead, he rendered them in two colours. The contrasting colour scheme was also applied in some windows with red casements and white frames. The gymnasium, constructed with a classic brick technology, was given a roof with a traditional segmented vault with glued wooden frames.

The remarkably bright and airy interior, divided into girls' and boys' sections, was also brightly coloured. It was very efficiently designed and met the contemporary requirements of a modern, healthy, and hygienic school building to the utmost degree. The centre of each section was formed by a staircase hall, from which individual classrooms and teachers’ offices were accessible. Specialised physics and chemistry classrooms were located on the top floor, while the basement was reserved for the operating facilities (locker rooms, canteen, gymnasium entrance, and showers). The school premises also included a summer training ground behind the gymnasium, a botanical garden, and an outdoor nursery.

The festive opening of the school, which took place in September 1932 with the participation of Mayor Luděk Pik, was a sensational event for the inhabitants of Pilsen. The local press described the school enthusiastically as “a beautiful, hygienically and pedagogically adapted temple of education and intellectual progress” and compared it to a “lighthouse” that will illuminate “better times ahead” and “raise good and sensible citizens”.

In 2003, the building of today’s Gymnázium Luďka Pika (Luděk Pik’s Grammar School) was declared an immovable cultural monument for its unique architectural qualities. The original appearance of the building was also respected during the recent renovation of the time-worn windows, which were gradually replaced with corresponding replicas.


Investor

City of Pilsen

Monument preservation

The house is immovable cultural heritage, listed under registration no. ÚSKP: 100321.

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
  • Kristýna Zívalová, Hanuš Zápal a jeho školní budovy (diplomní práce), katedra historie Fakulty pedagogické ZČU, Plzeň 2013.
 
C0C1C2C3C4C5C6C7C8C9