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National House (with the Town Theatre Prostějov)

Jan Kotěra

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Important events

(detail)1906 | Construction
By the beginning of April, Kotěra delivered the definitive plans.The foundation stone was laid on the 24th of May of that year. The construction work was assigned to the Prostějov company of the builder Čeněk Venclík with the supervision of the construction work by the builder Otakar Pokorný. Kotěra also participated at times with the supervisory work carried out by his colleague the architect Richard Novák.
(detail)1. 12. 1907 | Opening of the theatre
The gala launching of the activity of the entire building took place from the 30th of November to the 1st of December 1907. The opera and operetta company of Alois Janovský performed Smetana's Bartered Bride on the 4th of December in the new theatre.  .
(detail)1910 | Monument
Jan Kotěra created a study for a monument to the Vojáček couple, the monument was realized  in front of the main façade with the co-operation of the sculptor Bohumil Kafka in 1910-1911.
(detail)1927 | Study for an extension
Study by Bohuslav Fuchs for an extension to the National House, particularly in connection with the need for an expanded theatre facility.
(detail)1941 | Study for an adaptation
1941 – study by the Brno architect Emil Tranquillini for reconstruction work on the National House in the spirit of German Neo-Classicism
(detail)1944 | Adaptation
In 1942-1944, reconstruction of the interiors of the theatre wing took place according to a design by Emil Tranquillini in a style corresponding to the Nazi ideology.
(detail)50. 's 20. century | Reconstruction
After the liberation discussion began concerning the restoration of the original appearance of the National House with only more concrete plans eventually arising in the year 1952. An adequate plan for the look was finally obtained in the year 1956 when Bohuslav Fuchs created a project for the renewal of the National House.
(detail)1962 | Cultural monument
The School and Cultural Commission of the National Committee in Prostějov decided to register the structure of the National House on to the state list of cultural monuments (today the central list of cultural monuments).
(detail)1969 | Reconstruction
First phase of reconstruction finished.
(detail)2007 | Second phase of reconstruction

Second phase of reconstruction, which begun in middle of the 1980s, was completed,  affecting rehabilitation of the connecting corridor on the first floor, restoration of the salons, common rooms in the society wing and lecture hall and restaurant in the connecting wing.

(detail)2008 | Building declared as a National cultural monument


Jan Kotěra |main architect
(detail)Bohuslav Fuchs |architect

One of the leading representatives of Czech Functionalism ,of  the so called Brno architectural school. With wide sense for harmony between new building and the environment, he helped to create a modern city from Brno.

Source: Archiweb

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Richard Novák |architect
(detail)František Kysela |painter
Was a versatile designer. Most of his work belongs to period of art deco style. He cooperated often with architects Pavel Janák and Josef Gočár mainly for the decoration of the interior. Source: More theatres

(detail)Franta Anýž |interior designer

He was initially manufacturing  jewelry and items from iron and leather in Art Nouveau style with characteristical floral ornaments. He founded a modern iron founding firm (Anyž - later Zukov) and cooperated with significant sculptors and architects on realization of their works (Municipal house, St. Vitus cathedral). He was manufacturing illuminants, which connected  high quality of workmanship with simple shapes.

In: Prostor - AD

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Theodor Dostál |interior designer
Josef Horák |Commissioned by
(detail)František Kovářík |Commissioned by
He became a minister of public works in the first care government in the Czechoslovakian republic.

(detail)Karel Vojáček |Commissioned by

He became a mayor of Prostějov and he supported  building of public buildings.



From the end of the 19th century Prostějov represented the largest town with a Czech municipal government within the territory of Moravia. In the year 1892 the Czechs were victorious in the local town hall elections. The town was evolving into a centre for the textile and metal works industries, a centre for a range of social and cultural organisations, the seat of a number of prosperous companies and the industrial core of Moravia.  This growth in the importance of Prostějov became manifest as early as the year 1875 in an attempt on the part of representatives of the Czech population to construct a seat for a corresponding, nationally profiled cultural institution. Parallel with the acquisition of the Town Hall, interest in constructing a theatre and concert hall began to appear. The Association Savings Bank and Loan Office, along with the Prague architect Václav Roštlapil, proposed the creation of a palace-type addition in the late Historicism style to the building of the château in the years 1898-1899. This was consequently reconstructed for the needs of the town savings bank over the years 1900 to 1906 according to Roštlapil’s design. The addition of a cultural house was not, however, carried out. 

Instead, however, the town representatives established contact at the end of the year 1904 with the young Jan Kotěra (1871-1923), inspired by the new structure of the District House in Hradec Králové (1903-1904. Kotěra consequently first visited Prostějov in January 1905 where he met with the initiators of the structure. On the 11th of February 1905 he met with the group of ‘respected men of the town’ under the leadership of the mayor of Prostějov at that time Josef Horák (1848-1914) with the aim of recapitulating the work which had been prepared up until that point. This could also be viewed as the first meeting of the committee for establishing Association for a Town Cultural House. On the 24th of February a preparatory association was duly elected with its official establishment on the 14th of July 1905. 

Jan Kotěra submitted the first drawings of the building in March 1905 consisting of a theatre, ‘Sokol’ and community part. Another version of the plans with a restaurant and café emerged in May. In July the local industrialist and chairman of the Association for a Town Cultural House František Kovářík (1865-1942) ordered another version of the plans from Kotěra. Changes were carried out to the proposed appearance of the National House up to the spring of 1906, in particular to the shape of the theatre and lecture hall and to the size of the structure. Only by the beginning of April did Kotěra deliver the definitive plans. In March of that year, trees began to be cut down on the construction site. On the 21st of May 1906 construction permission was issued. The foundation stone was laid on the 24th of May of that year. The construction work was assigned to the Prostějov company of the builder Čeněk Venclík with the supervision of the construction work by the builder Otakar Pokorný. Kotěra also participated at times with the supervisory work carried out by his colleague the architect Richard Novák. The company Czech-Moravian Engineering Works supplied the construction of the roof above the auditorium along with the construction of the  ceiling as well the proscenium arch and the construction of the ceiling and roof above the lecture hall, while the company Fanta and Mareš supplied the roof construction of the stage, its equipment and the balcony supports. Both companies were from Prague. The sgraffito work was carried out by Jindřich Taschner, while the sculptural and stucco work was performed by the company Pavlík and Vajgant from Prostějov. In the autumn all of the wings of the National House were completed in a rough structure and roofed over.

In the spring of 1907 the commissioning of the work on the décor of the interiors took place. The installation of the electric lighting was carried out by the company of František Křižík. The Art-Nouveau candelabras and lighting stands were supplied by the Prague company of Franta Anýž (1876-1934), The hammered and pressed metal work, along with the chandeliers and mosaic work was carried out by the Prostějov company of Theodor Dostál which later became the famous Vulkania company. František Fröhlich from Prague was responsible for the painting work. The Kotěra designed furniture was produced by a range of small Prostějov companies, while the armchairs and chairs from bent wood, also according to Kotěra's designs, were in contrast ordered from the renowned company of the brothers Thonet.

In November 1907 the particular wings of the National House were gradually opened for operations. The gala launching of the activity of the entire building took place from the 30th of November to the 1st of December 1907 with the participation of a range of delegations from throughout Moravia as well as from Prague. The opera and operetta company of Alois Janovský performed Smetana's Bartered Bride on the 4th of December in the new theatre.    

Jan Kotěra chose the locale of an unmaintained sports ground on the edge of the historical core of the town for his new cultural and social centre. This consisted of the space between the building of the château, demarcated by the landscape grounds in front of the town fortifications (at that time Jungmann park, now Smetana park) and the Baroque Church of St. Jan Nepomucký. A street was first marked out in the given space, the present day street Vápenice which sprang from the circular boulevard around the historical centre of Prostějov. Kotěra composed the building of the National House, in particular the main longitudinal wings with the theatre, in order to fit in with the street. He added the smaller association wing along with the theatre section of the diagonal wing so as to face out on the newly created square in the historical core of the town (Hálkovo, today Hlaváčkovo Square). Along with this already-mentioned square, the structure of the National House also projects out onto E. Husserl Square and I. V. Netušil street in the centre of Prostějov.

A restaurant came about in the diagonal wing while the lecture hall was placed on the first floor. The association wings, forming the northern side to the already-mentioned town space, had a café on the ground floor, the associations rooms on the first floor and the office of the National House on the second floor (at present the office of the Town Theatre). Kotěra developed the building on a ground plan of an H letter shape, thereby forming the front of the new street, two squares and the park. The landscaped park space in front of the main façade was named Vojáček Square.  A monument to the Vojáček couple, designed by J. Kotěra in co-operation with the sculptor Bohumil Kafka,  the author of the metal portrait reliefs on the monument, was situated on this square in front of the main entrance façade of the theatre wing in the years 1910-1911. The monument is in the shape of a stone ring on columns. Metal relief plates with portraits of Karel Vojáček (1848-1899) and Karla Vojáčková (1858-1905), renowned supporters of culture in Prostějov who through their financial bequests contributed in key fashion to the emergence of the National House, are set into the ring. A lime tree was planted in the middle of the ring which was consequently due to its poor condition replaced with a new tree in the year 2006. The monument is lined by a half circle of stone benches from the side of the square.

With the National House Jan Kotěra created his first masterpiece which brought a close to his introductory creative period. This is demarcated by his studies at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts over the years 1894-1897 under Professor Otto Wagner, to his taking a teaching position at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague in the year 1898 and his introductory buildings including Peterka House on Wenceslas Square in Prague (1899-1900) up to the first decade of the new century with works such as the District House in Hradec Králové (1901-1904), the exhibition pavilion of the Mánes Union of Fine Arts (1902), the S. Sucharda villa with a studio (1905-1907) or the waterworks in Královské Vinohrady (1906-1907), all of these in Prague, and others. The National House is imbibed with a lyrical note along with folk motifs, as well as in Kotěra's case fairy tale motifs (for example the two-towered façade of the theatre wings and tower flyloft) and finally the vegetation (organic) Art-Nouveau. In terms of its ground plan arrangement, distinguished by the functional division of the structure along with the construction elements, the building also ranks among the leading pioneering work of the Czech Modern Movement style, immediately preceding Kotěra's Town Museum in Hradec Králové, the most significant building of the Central European architectural Modern Movement. The emphasis on lyricism and decorativism, criticised by certain critics, architecture historians and supposedly even by Kotěra himself, is usually attributed to the influence of Kotěra's student and colleague the architect Richard Novák.

Not long after completion of the building it came to light that the theatre was insufficient in terms of its dimensions with a lack of the needed facilities; considerations began regarding an addition. In the year 1927 the architect Bohuslav Fuchs was invited to design an annex. He conceived it as a contrasting volume, attached to the dominant tower structure of the flyloft from the side of the present-day Smetana Park. The project in the style of so-called White Functionalism, which was not carried out in the end, corresponded in terms  of its simplicity of volume and stark details to Fuchs' work at that time, for example, the well-known Zeman Cafe (1925).

The second phase of attempts at reconstruction of the National House influenced the appearance of the structure in an essential fashion. At the time of the occupation, the appointed German mayor of the town, the Nazi Maximilián Girth, pushed through the overall reconstruction of the National House in a style corresponding to the Nazi ideology and the closely connected architecture of a stark Neo-Classical expression according to a project by the Brno architect Emil Tranquillini who initiated the work on the design in the spring of 1941. In September of that year he submitted a completed project which consisted of the needed addition to the theatre facilities, as well as the complete reconstruction of the external appearance of the other parts of the structure including the removal of all of the Art-Nouveau elements as well as the art works in order to remove the Czech character of the building. The reconstruction began the following year effecting all of the public spaces of the theatre part, in particular the vestibule, still preserved up until the present day in the Nazi implemented form, the stairways, corridors, proscenium salons and the actual theatre hall. The exterior appearance of the structure was thankfully only affected in minimum fashion.

After the liberation discussion began concerning the restoration of the original appearance of the National House with only more concrete plans eventually arising in the year 1952. An adequate plan for the look was finally obtained in the year 1956 when Bohuslav Fuchs created a project for the renewal of the National House. Roughly according to his designs, the first phase of restoration took place up to the year 1969, without, however, significant rehabilitation interventions in the interior which had been damaged the most by the Nazis during the war period. Repairs to the façades took place over the years 1961-1968. The restorers Jan and František Tříska renewed the sgraffito according to a design by František Kysela, while the sculptor Jan Tříska restored the balustrade with the sculptural elements by Stanislav Sucharda.

A new project for the renewal of the National House began to come into being starting in the year 1985. This initially consisted of historical construction research carried out by a team of specialists from the State Institute for Reconstruction of Historical Towns and Structures (SÚRPMO), centre 40 – Olomouc (the architects Josef Němec and Zdeněk Hynek, the art historian Slavomíra Kašpárková and with the co-operation of Veverková) and completed in March 1986. On the basis of the obtained knowledge the project for the renewal came about. A new project for saving the cultural monument of the National House in Prostějov was prepared over the years 1995-1996 with the participation of the architects Jiří Mikšík, Josef Němec and PhDr. Slavomíra Kašpárková. Work took place according to this as well as for particular innovated parts up until the year 2007. Renewal of the roof and statics safety work on the building took place over the years 1995-2002. The painters Miroslava and Marek Trizuljak worked on the reconstruction and conservation of the sandstone elements of the external casing and on the renewal of the sgraffito. In the year 1996 the lecture hall underwent overall monument care renewal. In the years 1996-1997 the stage technology was reconstructed. The greatest success was obtained with the re-installation of the figural mosaic candelabras in the auditorium (2002), the repairs and furnishings of certain replicas in the café (2005) and restaurant (2007) on the ground floor, etc. In November 2006 the general repairs to the interior of the theatre parts of the National House were completed according to a project by the architect Zdeněk Beran, linked with the rehabilitation to its original appearance of the connecting corridor in the auditorium part on the level of the first floor.

The fact that the structure had been registered on to the state list of cultural monuments on the basis of a decision by the School and Cultural Commission of the National Committee in Prostějov on the 24th of August 1962 was particularly important from the perspective of monument care for the building. It is listed at present under the registration number 13874/8-5717 in the current Central List of Cultural Monuments. Its importance as a historical building was further enhanced by a decision of the government of the Czech Republic on the 28th of April 2008 making the National House in Prostějov a national cultural monument.



From its beginnings the building bore the name Národní dům (National House), with the same applied to the guest theatre which professional troupes would regularly visit from Brno or from the National Theatre in Prague as well as after the first World War from Olomouc or from the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Moravská Ostrava. During the protectorate, a German Theatre (Deutsches Theater) existed here, although the building continued to bear the name Town Theatre in Prostějov (Stadttheater Prossnitz). After the liberation, the original name National House was restored with the building placed back into operations on the 11th of June 1945 with a performance of Smetana’s Bartered Bride as performed by the City Theatre in Olomouc. In the year 1954 the entire building was renamed as the Dům osvěty Jiřího Wolkera (Jiří Wolker Educational House) and from the year 1957 became the site of the annual competitive performances of artistic recitation ‘Wolkrův Prostějov’ (Wolker’s Prostějov). From January 1965 it functioned as a theatre without a troupe with only a working agenda and with a theatre space, a guest theatre. In the year 1974 a semi-professional troupe Hanácké divadlo (Haná Theatre), the basis for the later Ha – Divadla came into being in Prostějov and began to work out of the spaces of the National House. At that time the National House was operating a Town Cultural Centre whose activities came to an end on the 31st of December 1991. From the beginning of the year 1992 the Town Theatre in Prostějov operates the theatre part of the National House.


Current State of the Building

The National House has been preserved in an extremely authentic form in terms of its volume as well as to a great extent in terms of its layout and composition of detail. It is founded on the concept of a connection of three wings with the dominant in terms of volume theatre wing on the northern side of the composition and situated in a longitudinal fashion along the east-west axis. The smallest, only two-storey wing, is connected from the southern side containing the restaurant on the ground floor and the lecture hall on the first floor. This is joined on the southern side to the longitudinal three-storey association wing, with access to those parts of the National House and to the café on the ground floor, with the association salons on the first floor and with office operations on the second floor. The main eastern façade, facing out on Vojáček Square, is divided up on the basis of this functional scheme. The most prominent feature is the main façade of the theatre wing with a protruding portico, a metal, glazed marquise held up in the front by two stone columns with figures of male and female figures of Haná people by Stanislav Sucharda (1866-1916). The three oblong entrances under the marquise lead into the vestibule. The front part of the theatre wing contains two side tower bays with staircases, connecting up the public spaces on the ground floor and first floor. These staircase bays are crowned on the exterior with circular stone parapets with herms in the form of Cubist shaped female busts, Haná women, once again by S. Sucharda, referring to the already-mentioned similar figures on the northern column of the portico. A terrace above the vestibule is spread out between the staircase towers, demarcating the horizontal parapet. Above this looms the steep triangular gable of the actual volume of the auditorium part of the theatre wing, broken up by the huge thermal window on the first floor. The gable is crowned by an parapet extension decorated with the stylised coat-of-arms of the town of Prostějov. The side longitudinal northern façade is articulated in both the front and back (western) parts by one entrance each with wooden two-leafed doors and with stone staircases, supplemented in the western part by a lamp post. The western part of this façade juts out in the form of a four-windowed bay making up the base for the large tower of the flyloft. The windows of this façade are primarily rectangular and vertical, with cylindrical or belt springers in certain smaller parts such as in the case of the ceremonial salon on the first floor. Above the auditorium is a steep mansard roof with a metal clad ventilation tower on the ridges. The western part of the theatre wing is emphasised by the tower flyloft on the stage level, designed as a Neo-Romantic  style fortress vertical object with softly modelled parapets, corners with polygon pylons and a steep roof culminating with a copper plate covered prismatic extension. This extension is decorated on the northern and southern sides with the motif of the  Prostějov coat-of-arms female eagle adjacent to the segmented arched ventilation openings for the air-conditioning of the theatre. At the top of the roof of the flyloft is a modelled column from metal plate culminating in an actor's mask. Both roofs have steel trusses in a combination with wood parts and covered with hard-burnt roofing tiles.

The western façade of the theatre wing faces out on the park. It is relatively austere, only decorated with belts of various structured plaster, partially with sgraffito and a softly modelled parapet. The central part juts out toward the park in the form of a wide bay with narrow side windows and a central gate leading to the space behind the stage. The southern façade of the theatre wing is designed in similar fashion as the northern façade including another side entrance with a staircase and candelabra, with the bay, however, containing five windows in the western part in contrast to the opposite northern façade. The southern façade is additionally, in contrast to the northern, significantly shorter, as the volume of the theatre hall connects up to the transverse connecting corridor from the southern side.  

The main front of the connecting wing facing east with a four-windowed façade is composed in a different fashion on each floor. The ground floor consists of the trio of large segmented vaulted display windows of the restaurant as well as one side entrance where the transverse wing meets up with the association wing, that is on the southern side. A trio of vertically, rectangular windows are on the first floor above each display window with figural sgraffito on the façade between them, one with the motif of a Haná man and the second with a deer according to a design by František Kysela (1881-1941). The terrace, accessible through one French window, is situated above the already-mentioned side entrance. The western courtyard façade of the transverse wing is made up of the windows of the utility rooms (the kitchen) on the ground floor and a parallel composition of three rectangular windows on the first floor. The connecting wing has a saddle roof with its truss a combination of steel and wood and covered with hard-burnt roofing tiles.

 The volume of the association wing is three-storeyed. The eastern façade on the ground floor is articulated by the main entrance with a barrel vaulted portal. The memorial plate on the stone socle next to the entrance bears the signature and date ‘J. Kotěra 1906-07’. The façades of the first and second floor have five windows, with the parapet panel windows of the second floor decorated with filigrane décor.  The southern façade of the association wing is of an asymmetrical composition made up of various numbers of window openings composed into the ground floor three-windowed flat segmented bay, linking up to the three-windowed structure on the upper floors and above them the two part triangular parapet gable with windows in the shape of an oculus. A polygonal oriel window on the south-west corner serves to bring dynamism to the asymmetrical composition of the southern façade. A fountain with the ceramic figural relief in colour glazed tiles Woman above a Spring by Stanislav Sucharda or possibly by his brother Vojtěch who assisted S. Sucharda with the carrying out of the décor of the National House in Prostějov is situated under the oriel window in a canted corner. The fountain consists of the figure of a woman with her hands pressing the stylised surfaces of walls from which a water spring emerges. The figure is conceived in a style between Art Nouveau symbolism and a more distinct abstraction of the shape in the spirit of more radical forms of Modernism, corresponding to other local work here by Sucharda. The surface along the sides of the figure is inlaid with square tiles with vegetable décor. The water shoots into an oval basin under the relief. Above this is sgraffito work by F. Kysela with motifs of doves. The relief is in colour polychrome. An identical relief, this time, however, only coloured in monochrome, was situated in the fountain which is part of the waterworks of Polská Ostrava (now the city area of Slezská Ostrava). At present the torso of this fountain, the lower third of the relief, has been preserved in Ostrava. The association wing has a hip roof with a steel-wood truss covered with hard-burnt roofing tiles.

The façades are composed of stone socles, made up of sandstone plates and plastered in combinations of scratched surfaces of grey colour with belts of smooth plaster, with the surfaces sand coloured and decorated with ornamental and figural sgraffito on folk motifs according to a design by František Kysela.

     The layout of the theatre wing develops out from the main entrance on the eastern side. The vestibule, here, is tiled with travertine plates and decorated with a figural relief with the motif of dancing women. The present appearance, as has already been mentioned, originates from the reconstruction work during the German occupation. J. Kotěra designed the original vestibule as a well-lit room with an oval skylight, supplemented by stained glass according to a design by F. Kysela. The skylight led out on the terrace above the vestibule. The ceramic decorative tiles have been preserved from the original design. The cladding from marble plates and decorative lighting candelabras on the railings of both staircases in the form of blooming flowers were all destroyed. Paintings by Jan Preisler (1872-1918) Dream of a Girl and Dream of a Young Man, examples of the excellent work of Art Nouveau symbolism, were situated on the side walls of the vestibule.  At present the works of art are housed in the Prostějov Town Museum. From the vestibule one enters corridors along the sides on the ground floor and staircases leading up to the first floor. Behind the vestibule is a connecting corridor from the Protectorate adaptations with access to the rear boxes on the ground floor of the hall. In the middle is the entrance to the Mayor's box via a small entrance hall. The double-flight of stairs on the side, at present almost without décor and with crystal chandeliers from the Nazi era, was designed by Kotěra with subtle, organically treated ornamentation. The spaces were crowned by richly designed candelabras in the form of stylised ears of grain. The original appearance of the connecting central corridor on the first floor between the southern and northern corridors was restored within the framework of the final phase of reconstruction. The corridor narrows in taper fashion as it moves upward. The upper part of its side wall is articulated by rectangular windows while the filigrane organic stucco décor has been preserved and restored on the roof. The ten brass chandeliers give off a gem-like feel in the space. Six of them were restored with the use of the preserved torsos while four had to be replaced by copies. The side corridors lead to the box entrances, both staircases and the proscenium salons.   

These ceremonial rooms, connected up with the honorary boxes, have square layouts, wooden coffered ceilings and figural décor in the form of impressively decorative wall paintings according to a design by František Kysela. The walls of the northern salon have been significantly damaged by water leakage only to be later restored with deforming paintings symbolising dramatic art (a kneeling woman and man with crowns on their heads; the man is embracing a doe with a peacock sitting on his shoulder). The authentically preserved paintings of the southern proscenium salon make reference to the local activity of the choirs Orlice and Vlastimila (a young man playing on the flute and a girl with a stringed instrument).

The theatre auditorium is conceived as a large hall space with significantly flattened vaulting, arched belts articulated with barrel vaulting with four lunettes which originally contained windows. The windows were also on the eastern wall above the balcony. The openings had stained glass work according to a design by F. Kysela. The windows were bricked up during the occupation. The rear (eastern) part of the pit of the auditorium contains three symmetrically placed central boxes and two side boxes on the ground floor (the central box originates from the Nazi adaptations, with it originally being a place for standing room) as well as a balcony on the first floor. The balcony is supported by two side pillars projecting above the level of the balcony railings. Kotěra placed metal candelabras in the form of two sitting fairies on the pillars with light sources with cascades along the sides. In the year 1992 the candelabras were restored from preserved parts found in the attic and placed back on their original locations. The originally segmented vaulting and the rectangular four entrances to the seats of the pit are located along the sides of the auditorium on the ground floor. The same number of separate entrances to the side boxes are located on the first floor, organically projecting from the volume of the balcony along the side walls. The proscenium sections of the walls of the hall are broken up on each side by one proscenium box. During the Nazi reconstruction work the boxes were bricked up, only to be opened up once again during the post-war renewal including the originally segmented vaulting. One side of the floor consisted of the box of the mayor while the other belonged to the head of the district office. The proscenium boxes in front of the main portal now fully serve the needs of the theatre, with lighting technology on the first floor and with the ground floor part included as part of the proscenium.

The  auditorium has a slight elevation on the ground floor. At present the hall has an overall capacity for 513 seated people, out of that 364 on the ground floor. The stage is supplemented by an orchestra pit with an area of 5 x 8 metres and with a capacity for approximately 40 musicians. The stage is 11 metres wide, 10 metres deep and 13 metres high. The forestage is 3 metres wide. The portal has dimensions of 8 x 5 metres. The actual stage area is 10 metres wide and 12 metres deep. The stage is divided up by a fire-proof curtain and netting. The stage equipment consists of one motorized winch, 15 hand winches and 3 windlasses, all of them with a load-bearing capacity of 160 kg. The stage lighting consists of a STRAND LBX – GENIUS lighting console. The electro-acoustics are run by a SOUNDCRAFT – SPIRIT 24/8 channel console along with additional equipment for using various sound technologies. 

The second part of the National House, made up of the transverse two-storey wing and the association three-storey wing, is accessible through the barrel vaulted entrance in the eastern façade of the association parts.  The entrance space leads into the café and the restaurant with both spaces equipped during the final phase of restoration in the years 2005 and 2007 with replicas of the original sidings, furniture (partially) and brass lighting appliances with glass elements. The restaurant space contains preserved items such as the original ceramic, low, colour glazed figural relief, slightly smaller than life-size, of The Three Graces by Sucharda's student, the sculptor Karel Petr (1881-1914).

The entrance way also provides access to the small vestibule with the beginning of the stone self-supporting staircase with metal railings and a rectangular mirror lit up by the metal, glazed skylight on the roof. The staircase leads to a wide corridor on the first floor leading to the entrance to the lecture hall in the connecting wing. The hall has segmental vaulting with stucco décor and is supplied with wooden wainscoting and decorative metal covers for the ventilation openings and the heating in the form of owls (along the sides of the podium) or with vegetative décor (on the ceiling). Access to the salons of the association wing is from the opposite side of the corridor. The choir practice room for the groups Orlice and Vlastimila is located in the south-west corner (above the fountain), followed by the salon for town meetings (today the red salon), the blue salon and the green. The salons were equipped with authorial furniture and originally lined with appropriate colour textile wallpaper. At present the colour scheme is merely reminiscent of painted walls since the textile wall paper was not restored due to financial reasons. Only the built-in wooden furniture has been preserved. Simply equipped office spaces are located on the second floor with the space of the staircase and entrance corridors only lit up by the already mentioned roof skylight above the staircase.

The National House in Prostějov represents a remarkable work not only within the framework of the architectural work of Jan Kotěra, but also in terms of the beginning phase of Czech Modern Movement architecture. Its shaping reveals a transition level to the crowning phase of Kotěra's work. The structure is also of interest from the perspective of examining the importance of the centre and the periphery in Czech modern fine arts, as the environment of Prostějov became a locale where the Czech Modern Movement could realise a synthetic work, combining architecture with the creative efforts of sculptors and painters of the SVU Mánes generation, while in vivid contrast this kind of project was not possible at that time in conservative Prague.

The current state of the National House corresponds to a major extent to the original concept at least in terms of the exterior and the shaping of the side wings. The interior of the theatre wing, however, is a compromise between the original appearance of the structure, the destructive phase from the occupation years and the attempt at restoring the original state. Certain interventions from the German occupation period continue to harm the architectural and cultural monument value of this part of the Prostějov National House. The completion of the rehabilitation of the theatre wing should continue to be the main principle in terms of considerations as to the process of caring for this prominent monument of modern architecture.



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Tags: Art Nouveau, Austria-Hungary, Culture house, detached building, multipurpose facility, National House, theatre hall


Author: Strakoš Martin

Translator: David Livingstone

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