Antonín Kreysa’s commercial and apartment building
1935–1936

Kollárova 2116/1 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7475025N, 13.3712281E

In 1936, the Pilsen builder Antonín Špalek completed construction of a commercial and apartment building in Kollárova Street close to the historic centre for the entrepreneur Antonín Kreysa, who opened a shop there selling his own brand of popular spirits and liquors. The corner building on the site of the former Rohrer Gardens at the junction of Kollárova and present-day Puškinova Street was erected next to the house of a paper goods wholesaler, an austere Functionalist building erected in 1930–1931 according to plans by Leo Meisl (C2–1927). According to the requirements of the municipal technical committee and art council, Kreysa’s building was to give a characteristic look to the newly emerging terraced development in present-day Puškinova Street (C2–2176). The designer therefore gave the five-storey building a sober Modernist form with a V-shaped ground plan and a distinctly oblique corner crowned with a tower-like superstructure. The pure, symmetrically arranged street facades with large windows are interrupted only by narrow avant-corps rising from the first floor to the third, interrupted in the middle by loggias with projecting parapet walls and by subtle lesene frames. This composition of horizontals and verticals combined with regularly-spaced flat windows and the refined plasticity of the building envelope represents well the restrained form of Functionalism so characteristic of interwar residential development in Pilsen.

The basement, ground floor and mezzanine of the building served primarily for the production and distribution of alcoholic drinks. The ground floor, which originally had a drive-through passage to the courtyard, housed the salesrooms, office, storage spaces for shop-ready goods, a washing room and an empty bottle store as well as essential facilities for employees and two freight lifts. In the courtyard there was a single-storey garage and a workshop serving for storage of wood, crates and barrels. On the other floors of the residential part of the house was a total of 22 spacious, two-room and three-room flats, each with a kitchen, maid's room, entrance hall, larder and full hygienic facilities. Shortly after completion of the building, Antonín Kreysa expanded his selection of goods to include wines on tap and a simple green-blue neon sign with the word VÍNO (Wine), designed by the architect Bohumil Chvojka, illuminated the chamfered corner above the second floor.

Following the political changes of 1948, the newly established communist regime nationalised Antonín Kreysa’s family business and in the early 1950s the commercial spaces in the building were adapted for the use of a healthcare centre. In 1974, a sales outlet of the state enterprise Tuzex (Domestic Export) was opened on the ground floor, offering luxury goods that were otherwise unobtainable in the then Czechoslovakia. At the present time the building is in relatively good condition. Only the parterre has been degraded, similarly to that of the next door house with descriptive number 1927, by tasteless modification of the display window lintels, using inauthentic ceramic tiles and walling up of the display windows facing Kollárova Street.

 


AK – PK
 

Investor

Antonín Kreysa

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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