Chvojkovy Lomy Park

(Plzeň) Plzeň Východní Předměstí
GPS: 49.734958, 13.401065

The Chvojkovy Lomy Park, originally called the Park of Friendship, was established as part of the civic amenities of the Slovany housing estate within the sight of the former sand quarries. Set on an approximately rectangular ground plan, it stretches between the north eastern edge of General Píka Square with five tall blocks of flats and houses of the opposite Stanka Vodičky Street, reaching the velodrome premises and garden of the 80th kinder garden in Úslavská Street.

The current name of the park reflects the name of the company of brothers Josef and Václav Chvojka, whose quarries were located in the area delimited by Koterovská, Táborská, Lobezská and the present Částkova streets. From the beginning of the 20th century ​​the fast-growing district of Petrohrad was approaching this place from the north and reached the quarries boundary in the 1930s. The City of Pilsen, which carried out the restoration of former quarries in the neighbourhoods of Lobzy and Košutka during the same decade, planned to establish a park here too, but this intention was eventually abandoned. Thanks to the convenient terrain configuration and the possibility of connection to the existing infrastructure, however, before the outbreak of the World War II, the extensive plain of Slovany was chosen as one of the areas for a new residential housing development. Even in the early 1950s, however, a large part of the land between the eastern edge of the Slovany district and workers' housing in the Vyšehrad and Petřín neighbourhoods was made up of open areas of meadows and cultivated fields. The first post-war Pilsen housing estate was built in several stages between 1953 and 1963.

The park itself was created on the basis of a project by Miloslav Hrubec and Bohumil Kmínek only in the second half of the 1960s after the completion of the whole estate. The architects reflected in their design the principles that were applied in the landscaping of the surroundings of the Czechoslovak pavilion at the World Expo 1958 in Brussels. The grass area of ​​the park, which sank under the surrounding terrain due to previous quarrying, was made accessible by several ramps and staircases. They laid out a network of gravel paths there dividing the space into a system of polygons. The two most distinctive elements of the whole composition were situated in the central part of the park ­– a pond and a small amphitheatre with a stage covered by a set of polygonal "umbrellas". In the 1970s, however, the north-eastern part of the park was taken for the construction of a swimming pool complex and the reduction of the area changed the spatial situation and compositional relationships at the site, which deprived the structures of their central role.

The park gained its current appearance during the reconstruction in 1995-1997, which was carried out according to a proposal by architect Václav Šmolík. The author changed the artistic concept of the open space and replaced the original set of polygonal surfaces with an arrangement that lays more emphasis on organic lines and round shapes. The park was interwoven with curves of paths and the originally polygonal water reservoir transformed into an irregularly shaped pond. Šmolík placed a weeping willow and a ceramic lighthouse by sculptor Ivan Hostaša in the space of the small water surface (the sculpture from 1996, which at ten metres is to this day the tallest object formed on a potter's wheel). At the same time, Václav Šmolík and his colleague Václav Ulč built their studio in a slope on the park’s edge near Částkova Street.

In later years, the park was decorated with other works of art – wooden objects from sculptural symposia which took place in the park in 2009 and 2014, and in 2017 also a metal sculpture called Locks of Love, designed by Karel Syka. One year earlier, the original amphitheatre scene was replaced by a new circular stage covered by a membrane structure designed by Václav Šmolík.