Commercial and apartment building of Anežka and Josef Krásný
1932–1933

Slovanská 1356/6 (Plzeň) Plzeň Východní Předměstí
Public transport: Mikulášské náměstí (TRAM 1, 2)
GPS: 49.7385333N, 13.3868475E
Slovanská 1356/6 (foto 01), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Slovanská 1356/6 (foto 02), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Slovanská 1356/6 (foto 03), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Slovanská 1356/6 (foto 04), author: Radovan Kodera, 2016 Slovanská 1356/6 (situace), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (půdorys suterénu), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (půdorys přízemí), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (půdorys I. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (půdorys II. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (půdorys III. patra), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (půdorys podkroví), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (krov), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (řez), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (uliční pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (dvorní pohled), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (pohled od řeky), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv Slovanská 1356/6 (výklad), Source: Technický úřad MMP, Odbor stavebně správní – Stavební archiv

The changes that Pilsen experienced in the 1930s included the conversion of former industrial areas into residential areas. Many companies – including the Škoda Works – were established in the middle of the 19th century in close proximity to the city centre, hindering the natural expansion and development of the city later on. Some of them stopped production as a result of the economic crisis, while others moved further away from the city centre to what was then the periphery of the city due to lack of space for further expansion. One of the defunct companies was the Schwarz & Beck rolling and wire mill at the crossroads of Nepomucká (today Slovanská) Avenue and Papírnická Street above the Radbuza River.

Similarly to the Na Belánce area, industrial premises from the 19th century were to be replaced by a complex of apartment buildings, which were to form both street fronts. Initially, the city administration sought to purchase the area; later, it at least promoted the expansion of street profiles and a uniform architectural concept of new buildings. However, only a part of these buildings was realised, including a half of the originally planned semi-detached house at the mouth of Nepomucká Avenue to Masaryk Square (today Mikulášské Square) – the commercial and apartment building of Anežka and Josef Krásný. The building was constructed by the Building Trade Cooperative in Pilsen of the builder Rudolf Pěchouček between October 1932 and July 1933.

The building project was prepared in 1932 by builder František Měsíček, who designed a number of houses and residential buildings and several other buildings with original forms in Pilsen in the 1930s and 1940s. He chose an unusual solution for the Krásnýs’ house as well – one of articulated mass, which was structurally sophisticated and very efficient in terms of its layout. He attached prismatic volumes with flat roofs to the four-storey body of the building with a gable roof both in the direction to the street and to the courtyard, the upper parts of which penetrate the pitched roof. While Měsíček used an elevated wing protruding markedly into Nepomucká Avenue to compensate for the difference of the original street boundary, which was defined by the adjoining low Historicist house No. 4; by extending the smaller courtyard section, he “aligned” the building with the house on the opposite side. To link the two masses in the street boundary and soften up their transition, the builder placed between them a four-storey quarter-cylinder volume with ribbon windows and balconies with a robust solid railing fitted in the rounded corner. The flat roof of the body served as a terrace. The two parts of the house were also optically connected by a continuous balcony on the first floor and a strip designed for the installation of advertising boards located underneath it and separating the glazed ground floor with shop windows from the upper floors.

František Měsíček approached the whole front facade with large areas of smooth plaster in an economical and puristically austere manner, including the dominant protruding part. This was segmented at the level of the second to fourth floors by a shallow bay, broken up by a grid of six four-part windows fitted with a flagpole in the middle and seemingly propped up by three walls with a rounded front, which split up the balcony strip. Later, the builder used a similar motif of “half-pillars” in the design of the building of the Suknaspol company (C1–1787) or the house of Marie Vacíková (C12–1803). His expressive register also includes the characteristic separation of the transom window from the main surface of the filling of an opening - in this case the gate to the passage, situated in the recessed part of the building.

František Měsíček sketched the other half of the semi-detached house, which was supposed to replace the older house No. 4, which was almost identical but mirror inverted. The design differed only slightly - the pitched roof of the building was to be finished by hip and the outer, recessed part was to be a three-storey mass. Měsíček tried to comply with the requirements of the Municipal Building Authority, which demanded that this part of the building make a transition between four-storey houses on Nepomucká Avenue and the open space of the nearby Mikulášský hřbitov / Nicholas Cemetery and “close the street front with dignity”.

František Měsíček tried to find a suitable operational and layout solution for the building through an articulated arrangement of mass. Its ground floor was taken up by three shops, an office, a warehouse and technical rooms; the other storeys had thirteen apartments, and the fourteenth apartment, intended for the caretaker, was located in the basement together with the cellars. The builder conceived most of the house, including the part projecting into Nepomucká Avenue, as a three-wing building organizing its ground plan rationally and transparently into several segments defined by load-bearing walls according to partial functions. Only in the ground plan section with the slightly protruding courtyard wing did Měsíček extend or double the central wing accordingly. On the residential floors, he situated the rooms and kitchen into the street and courtyard tracts, while locating the hallways, sanitary facilities, and three air shafts ventilating the bathrooms and toilets in the central part.

On the first floor, he arranged two one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment in this way and divided the second and third floor into four one-bedroom apartments, one of them with a balcony in the rounded corner. He designed a one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment, a laundry room with a drying room, and a shared space for the attic. The house staircase was placed in the recessed volume in the middle of the courtyard tract. In addition to its function, the central wing also differed in the construction of the ceiling – while in both outer tracts, Měsíček applied wooden beamed ceilings, in the central part he chose a reinforced concrete slab. He made the supporting structure of the forwarded part of the ground floor from the same material – here wide glazed shop windows fill the space between reinforced concrete columns. Two rows of garages were built in the courtyard according to Měsíček's project.

Since its construction, the house has undergone only partial modifications. These involve changes such as the extension of the hairdresser and barber shop to all three former shops in 1971, adaptation of the laundry and drying room into a residential art studio in the late 1990s, and replacement of the original wooden windows with plastic ones with a similar segmentation less than a decade later. In the recent past, the facade has also been painted colourfully and the sloping roof has received a new tile roofing.


PK – MR 

Investor

Josef a Anežka Krásný

Sources

  • Archiv Odboru stavebně správního, Technický úřad Magistrátu města Plzně
 
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