Czech Cubist architecture

Cubism appeared at the beginning of the 20th century as an avant-garde artistic movement based on entirely new ideas. The term “cubism” was the first to be used by the French critic of Louis Vauxcelles in 1908, although this use was misleading, but the expression, despite the artist’s displeasure, eventually lived.

The principle of cubism lies in the spatial conception of the work where it captures objects not only from one angle but from several angles simultaneously. The displayed object was decomposed to basic geometric shapes (mainly the cube – Latin cubus). Cubism therefore had to address new perspectives and create new spatial relationships between subjects. Three-dimensional objects have created many views with unusual angles of view.

Cubism influenced, whether directly or indirectly, the development of new artistic styles (futurism, constructivism and expressionism). Unlike other directions, Cubism, for example, did not have a say in literature. He appeared mainly in painting, sculpture and partly also in the architecture of former Czechoslovakia, where he gained the character of an independent artistic style.

Cubism first appeared primarily in fine arts (Picasso, Braque, Cézanne), strongly influenced by some architects, but it is not possible to speak of pure Cubism, since, of course, they had to be primarily functional. Cubist architects created individual works that make a rather peculiar impression. Cubist architecture in the Czechoslovak territory was active approximately from 1911 until the 1920s, especially in Prague. His most distinguished representatives joined in the Manes Artists Association. Among them were painters Emil Filla, Antonín Procházka and Josef Čapekand the sculptor Otto Gutfreund and the architects Josef Gočár, Josef Chochol, Pavel Janák and others. Cubist style is unique in the world and has never reached the cubist architecture of such a boom as in the Czech Republic.

For some architects, Cubism was very much affected, and of course, their buildings had to be functional, so pure Cubism can not be said. Architects who created Cubism created very special works that have a very strong impression. Cubist architecture was established on the territory of the present Czech Republic thanks to a group of artists such as Emil Filla, Otto Gutfreund, Josef Capek and architects such as Josef Gočár, Josef Chochol and others. The Cubist style is unique in the world and has never reached the cubist architecture of such a boom as in the Czech Republic. Cubist architecture is later followed by more decorative rondocubism, also called the Czech art deco.

Josef Gočár – House of the Black Mother of God in Prague, Spa House in Bohdanc, Bauer’s Villa in Libodřice
Josef Chochol – Kovařovicova Villa in Prague under Vyšehrad, apartment house in Neklana Street in Prague, triple on Rašínovo nábřeží in Prague under Vyšehrad
Pavel Janák – Hlávka Bridge in Prague
Otakar Novotný – Teachers’ Homes in Prague
Vlastislav Hofman – The Devil’s Cemetery in Prague

Teachers’ houses in Prague, architect Otakar Novotny
Bethlehem Chapel at Žižkov in Prague, Zizkov
Cubist apartment building on the corner of Přemysl Street and Neklana Street in Prague
Villa of builder Bedřich Kovařovice by Josef Chochol in Libušina street in Prague at Vyšehrad, street facade
Villa of builder Bedřich Kovařovice, garden facade
The Spa Pavilion by Josef Gočár in Bohdaneč Spa
Bauer’s Villa, Liborice
Škoda Palace in Prague
Arches of Hlávka Bridge
Interior of the Faculty of Law, Charles University
Grand Café Orient, the only Cubist cafe in the world

Rondocubism is a separate local form of Czech architecture. It developed as a separate branch of the Cubist style after the First World War in the newly established Czechoslovakia, where it became a national style for a short time. However, it was gradually displaced by functionalism in the middle of the 20th century.

For rondocubism, as the name suggests, it is characteristic of the use of round shapes, such as arches, circles and ovals, which are based on Cubist foundations. These were to remind national Slavic traditions. Rondocubism was most prominent in Prague, but also in other places, especially in the form of industrial architecture. World Summit for construction rondocubistic architectures are considered Store Legionary banks, short Legiobanka by Josef Gočár and Adria Palace by Pavel Janak in Prague.

Rondocubism also manifested itself in art, for example in Josef Čapek or Objektdesign, so far there are some completely preserved room facilities by Bohumil Waigant and Josef Gočár.

Rondocubism sought to incorporate characteristic Slavic elements in architecture. This should also be helped by the use of national colors: red and white. The shapes of rondocubist buildings are usually massive, cylindrical, orbicular, tronquées, much like rings in wood.

Legiobanka’s headquarters in Na Poříčí street is a rondocubist building from 1921 to 1923, a UNESCO building awarded as a unique specimen of rondocubism. Its facade was decorated by Otto Gutfreund and Jan Štursa. Stained glass in the hall as well as decorative brick blocks are the work of František Kysely.

Adria Palace, built in 1925, Pavel Janak and German Prague architect Josef Zasche on Jungmann Square for Italian insurance company Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtà. Sculptural decoration is the work of Jan Štursa and Karel Dvořák. In 1926, during a conference in Prague, when the French architect Le Corbusier saw the Adriatic Palace, he described it as a “massive construction of Assyrian appearance”.

Rondokubistický furniture in the house in Kamenická street in Holešovice is the work of Otakar Novotny.

Other rondocubist structures
1921: Business Academy in Brno, Kotlářská 263/9 (Jaroslav Rössler)
1921-1922: reconstruction of a villa for Antonín Hořovský in Prague 4-Hodkovičky, Na Lysinách 2, No. 48 (Pavel Janák)
1921-1923: department store Legiobanka, Na Poříčí in Prague (Josef Gočár)
1921-1923: Crematorium in Pardubice (Pavel Janak and Frantisek Kysela)
1922: UP building in Třebíč (Josef Gočár)
1923-1924: Adria Palace in Prague 1, Jungmann Square (Pavel Janak)
1923-1924: Double for Josef and Karel Čapkov in Prague (Ladislav Machoň)
1924: Rental House of the Association of Prague Teachers in Prague 8, Kamenicka 35 (Otakar Novotny)
1924-1925: department store Anglobanka in Pardubice (Josef Gocar)
1924-1925: Machoňova passage in Pardubice (Ladislav Machoň)
1925: Villa for Viktor Kříže in Pardubice (Karel Řepa)
1926: department store with Myšák pastry shop in Prague 1, Vodičkova street (Josef Gočár)

The Legiobanka Building by Josef Gočár, a typical example of rondocubism
Rental house in Prague, Kamenická 35
Pardubice Crematorium
Machoňova passage in Pardubice
Detail of the UP factory, Třebíč
The Brothers of Capek, Prague

Source From Wikipedia