Vila of Olga and Rudolf Penížek

Zikmunda Wintra 1835/19, Mánesova 1835/38 (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
Public transport: Dobrovského (TRAM 4)
Dobrovského (BUS 22, TROL 16)
GPS: 49.7360986N, 13.3675986E

The project of villa no. 19 built on U Rolnické Street (today’s Zikmunda Wintra Street) near the crossing with Mánesova Street was commissioned from the Pilsen-born Vilém Beer by the businessman of Jewish origin Rudolf Penížek and his wife Olga. The building permit was issued in May 1928, and in December of the same year the building was completed. Its architectural design largely resembles a villa realised to Beer's design at about the same time on Pod Vyhlídkou Street in Prague–Střešovice. The barely thirty-year-old architect experienced a highly successful period in the late 1920s – three more houses were constructed based on his project in the Bezovka villa neighbourhood at that time: the villas of the Kraus and Löbner families on Schwarzova Street (C4-1846); and the Brunners’ villa on U Svépomoci Street.

Vilém Beer designed the Penížeks’ villa on an approximately square plan and placed it closer to the crossing of the streets on the site. He covered its cubic volume containing a residential basement, elevated ground floor and attic with a hipped roof, complemented by semi-circular bays. The entrance was situated in the northern part of the object (from Zikmunda Wintra Street). An outside straight staircase with brick balustrade leads to a protruding portico lining the northern facade in its entire length, and formed by an arcade of square columns that hold up a shed roof. (The portico is one of the changes inscribed in the original planning documentation in pencil which make the final look of the building differ from the original design.) The architect complemented the eastern front on Mánesova Street with two terraces on the ground floor, positioned symmetrically on the sides of the rectangular first-floor avant-corps finished by two balconies with steel railings. The southern (garden) facade was adjoined by a winter garden which was also finished by a balcony on the first floor. For the west wing of the house near the entrance, Vilém Beer originally designed a garage, whose mass slightly protrudes from the body of the building. This mass of risalit reaches the next level as well. The facades of the house are mostly smooth, realised in two shades of Brizolit plaster. They are articulated by a subtle cordon cornice and a crown moulding, whose effect is toned down by a distinct roof overhang. Parts of the eastern and southern facades are fitted with belt bossage on the ground floor. The windows are lined with relief chambranles.

Beer approached the layout of the villa as generous living for the owner’s family and the staff responsible for the operation of the house and functioning of the household. The basement contained the caretaker's apartment, cellar and garage. The ground floor was used as a social and representative part of the house. The spacious staircase hall adjoining the entrance hall with cloakroom and toilet led to the living room and a generous dining area (with the aforementioned winter garden), with an adjacent scullery, kitchen and maid's room. The first floor with three ensuite rooms (bedrooms) served as a private part of the house. There was originally another room designed for the attic, yet it was probably only used as a storeroom.

During the Second World War, the Penížek family was affected by the Nuremberg Laws – the couple was deported to Theresienstadt and from there then further east, where they perished. In 1954, the original planning documentation was used as a basis for converting the house into a kindergarten. And the villa with its well-preserved exterior has serving as such until the present day.




Rudolf and Olga Penížek


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