Apartment building of Božena and Ladislav Fišer

Liliová 1708/4 (Plzeň) Plzeň Východní Předměstí
Public transport: Liliová (TRAM 1)
GPS: 49.7330811N, 13.3914539E

In the generously conceived Liliová street boundary, each house in the block between today’s Slovanská (then Nepomucká) Avenue and Zahradní Street was given an eight-meter-wide front garden, even at the expense of courtyards and courtyard gardens. The Pilsen builder František Měsíček, who designed and built the apartment building of the Fišer family in less than five months in 1938, also had to comply with these regulatory conditions.

He gave the four-storey house with a simple gable roof a modest morphology of “regional” functionalism. He advanced the middle part of the symmetrically laid-out facade articulated by a grid of large three-part windows into a shallow projecting section. As the oriel was rendered in a smooth “Brizolit” plaster, both lateral parts of the facade with one window axis were set apart from it with an ochre-brown scrapped finish. The same rough plaster was applied in the fields between the projecting section windows connected horizontally into pairs by “frames” of subtle cornices. However, the surviving construction project documentation shows that the facade of the building was originally to be unified by light smooth plaster, and three areas between the risalit window pairs were to stand out thanks to eye-catching black ceramic cladding. The same contrasting large-format tiles were to frame the house entrance with a transom window located in the central axis of the building front. In the actual variant that was built, however, Měsíček used the customary clinker sienna-coloured stripes.

Both in operational and structural terms, the builder arranged the apartment building as a three-wing object: he opened the rooms of the residential units to the street, the halls and sanitary facilities were located in the middle part, and the kitchens and uncommonly spacious maids’ rooms faced the courtyard. He also placed a staircase in the rear wing, using the recess created by the retreat of the stairwell from the external wall as a loggia in each mezzanine floor. In a rational rectangular layout, Měsíček preserved the symmetry applied to the facade. On the ground floor and three higher floors, he situated two two-bedroom apartments including a maid’s room, in the basement the caretaker’s living quarters, a laundry room, cellar units and a garage (on the recommendation of the Municipal Building Authority, its electric lighting was to be solved with a “spark-free switch” and the light with a “water fixture”). The attic remained vacant.

Despite several minor interventions, such as piercing the facade with openings for ventilation of additionally installed gas heating or a later replacement of windows, the apartment house has been preserved in more or less authentic condition, thus being a good representation of purposeful but elegant modernist architecture that was so popular among the small “civic developers” of the late 1930s.


Božena a Ladislav Fišer