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By Firemen Theatre

Tomáš Pražák, Pavel Moravec

alias Varieté-Bio, Tatra cinema, The House of the Czech Regional Firemen's Association, Theatre of Spejbl and Hurvínek, Small Operetta House
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1929 | opening
The theatre hall is located in the House of Firemen from 1926–1930 in Prague in Vinohrady.. The building was designed by the Vinohrady Technical Office of Architecture, Building and Real Estate Ltd. of Tomáš  Pražák  and Pavel Moravec, the construction was carried out by the firm of Alois  Krofta.  The construction of the Firemen House was completed in 1929, when the approval for use was issued on 24th  June.
(detail)60. 's 20. century | reconstruction
The   reconstruction of the theatre hall was carried out in 1961–1963 by the atelier of the State Design Institute in Prague under leadership of František  Cubr, engineer Jiřičný was signed under the design as a leading designer.
(detail)1974 | reconstruction

General reconstruction of the Theatre of Spejbl  and Hurvínek was designed by František Raška and Karel Hauer in 1974. New rooms in the basement, mezzanine and first floor of the building were reserved for the theatre apart of the ground floor. This architectural concept has remained in essence up to the present days.


(detail)2000 | reconstruction

A reconstruction of the building was carried out in 1999–2000 according to the design by FARA company (designers Eva Linhartová and Z. Pavlas).


People

Tomáš Pražák |main architect
Pavel Moravec |main architect
Z. Pavlas |architect
Eva Linhartová |architect
Karel Hauer |architect

History

The theatre hall is located in the House of Firemen from 1926–1930 in Prague in Vinohrady. The Czech Firemen's Association in Prague, Ltd. commenced its operation in 1922 and started to build its own multifunctional building on a parcel of the former Seidl’s estate. The building design was developed by the Vinohrady Technical Office of Architecture, Building and Real Estate Ltd. of Tomáš  Pražák  (1890–1947) and Pavel Moravec (1891–1979), the construction was carried out by the firm of Alois  Krofta. Facades in the spirit of scientific Functionalism are topped by a corner tower, a symbol of fire houses. Rostislav Švácha classifies this project as a characteristic example of the work of the Group of Architects assembled around the periodical Architekt SIA, here „combining Functionalistic continuous windows with expression of Jan Kotěra“. Offices and flats alternate in two three-wing parts of the corner building on six storeys.    

There were shops and restaurants in the ground floor and a large conference hall and dormitory in the tower. The construction of the Firemen House was completed in 1929, when the approval for use was issued on 24th  June. In relation to its height, the structure was presented as the first sky scraper in Prague in the press of that time. According to experts, it is the best realization of the team Pražák – Moravec, these architect probably reacted by this to the competing design of the building of Chicago Tribune in Constructivist style by Walter  Gropius and Adolf Meyer from 1922. The theatre is located in the yard of the ground floor wing and it served as Varieté-Bio from the beginning of 1929. The movie projections alternated with musical, cabaret and artistic productions. The architects designed a fireman's museum with its own entrance in the basement under the cinema and there was a restaurant with a dancing hall above it. The hall had its separate entrance from Římská Street since the beginning. The architects designed a conically convergent shape to the auditorium with elevation and divided the seats into three groups. There were also boxes that do not exist today as a component of the auditorium – three by the side walls and eleven in the rear part. The auditorium had 457 seats, from which 82 in boxes.

The hall was used by the Small Operetta of director Mirek  Bukovský after the Varieté-Bio had ended. How the original facing of the hall looked like is clear from the situation that occurred in 1933. The theatre director complained  to the building office about the restaurant, which customers disturbed the spectators so much that the ceiling stirred : „ the glass facing in frames causes strong noise and even panic emerges among the audience because of fear that any glass panel could be loosened and fall directly into the auditorium.“

The cinema Tatra replaced the Minor Operetta in the middle of the 1930s. The theatre of Spejbl  and Hurvínek moved into the structure after 1945 and had remained here until 1994. This theatre had to use two rooms of the flat of the theatre founder Josef  Skupa in the second floor of the structure for its administration due to lack of space. The first reconstruction of the theatre hall was carried out in 1961–1963, during which the rear and side boxes were removed. The changes were carried out by the atelier of the State Design Institute in Prague under leadership of František  Cubr, ing. Jiřičný was signed under the design as a leading designer.

General reconstruction of the Theatre of Spejbl  and Hurvínek was designed by František Raška and Karel Hauer in 1974. New rooms in the basement, mezzanine and first floor of the building were reserved for the theatre apart of the ground floor. This architectural concept has remained in essence up to the present days. One entered through a narrow corridor from Římská Street into the theatre foyer, where an office and cloak rooms were located on the left side, the architects inserted a rest room and another cloak room into the location of the present cafe. The present facing was given to the conically convergent hall with elevation without side boxes. The forestage was extended and the stage was enlarged and deepened, the architects designed dressing rooms along its right side (another two dressing rooms are in two basement floors in the present days). Theatre store facilities were inserted into the basement, technical workshops together with recording studio into the first floor. Emergency exits were made on both the sides of the auditorium.

The building was returned to its original owners in 1992. In the present days, it is a seat of the property owner, the Firemen's Association from Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia  and other organization as for instance the Fire Mutual Insurance Company and others. A reconstruction of the building was carried out in 1999–2000 for the new property owner according to the design by FARA company (designers Eva Linhartová and Z. Pavlas). The present ground floor that is arranged in somehow insensitive manner came into existence during this reconstruction. The access to the hall, where the By Firemen Theatre is located in the present days, has remained the same, only a cafe came into existence in the foyer.

The theatre hall is accessible from the foyer through two entrances and it has 358 seats in 14 row nowadays. The theatre offers its space including services and technology for rental to theatre companies or for business parties with performances and bashes. Also the foyer and entrance hall are used in major actions for such occasions apart of the cafe area. The capacity is around 300 seats in such a case.

Sources and literature:

–  Úřad městské části Praha 2, spisovna Odboru výstavby, spis domu čp. 2135

–  Památník města Královské Vinohrady 1849–1879, Praha 1929, s. 151–152

–  Rostislav Švácha, Od moderny k funkcionalismu, Praha 1985, s. 287

–  Alena Pomajzlová (ed.), Expresionismus a české umění 1905–1927, Praha 1994, s. 210

–  Jan E. Svoboda – Ester Havlová – Jindřich Noll, Praha 19191940: Kapitoly o meziválečné architektuře, Praha 2000, s. 139

–  Marie Platovská (ed.), Slavné stavby Prahy 2, Praha 2011, s. 215–217

 

Tags: Functionalism, Interwar period, terraced house, theatre hall

 

Author: Markéta Svobodová

Translator: Jan Purkert

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