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Pardubice Competition 1961-1962

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(detail)1961 | Competition

Architectural competition was proclaimed for a design of a new building in 1961. The jury , which chairman was architect Josef Kittrich, consisted of Richard F. Podzemný ,architect Karel Kalvoda, Miroslav Kouřil, František Tröster, Zdeněk Vávra. The jury decided not to award the first prize after study of forwarded designs, because of none of the designs was convenient enough to become a foundation for realization without Essentials changes.


Karel Gogel |architect - participant of the competition
Jindřich Malátek |architect - participant of the competition
(detail)Ivo Loos |architect - participant of the competition

He left a mark on the Czech architecture as with his realizations as with his designs. A large part of his work is connected with the atelier Spojprojekt Praha (1974 – 1997). His most renown realization is the building of transit control on Vinohradská Street in Prague (1978), on which he collaborated with J. Eisenreich, J. Malátko and V. Aulický, that represents one of the most  distinct examples of Brutalist architecture. He was employed for short, however important time in SÚRPMO (1975–1977), where he participated in completion of buildings of the National Theatre (finished in 1983).


(detail)Ivo Klimeš |architect - participant of the competition

Significant architect from Ostrava. In his work he was dedicated above all to the designs of theatres. The most well known of his projects are Most city theatre and reconstruction of the theatres in Ostrava. In his designs form 1960´s applied sharp features and  crystallic  forming of the materials.  Then he switched to more organic compositions with oval and soft materials inspired by the Scandinavian architecture.  His work , gradually more  focused on the designs of the theatres , made him a leading expert on this issue.

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Vlastibor Klimeš |architect - participant of the competition
Eva Růžičková |architect - participant of the competition
Vratislav Růžička |architect - participant of the competition
Milan Vašek |architect - participant of the competition
Stanislav Nábělek |architect - participant of the competition
Mojmír Böhm |architect - participant of the competition
Josef Menzl |architect - participant of the competition
Anton Cimmermann |architect - participant of the competition
Dušan Kuzma |architect - participant of the competition
Karel Kalvoda |jury member
František Tröster |jury member
(detail)Zdeněk Vávra |jury member

He worked in Státní ústav pro rekonstrukci památkových měst a objektů (State institute for reconstruction of memorial cities and constructions) throughout his life. He realized theatre in Český Těšín with J. Černohorský in 1960. He was working on design studies for National Theatre reconstruction. Afterwards he led the realization team.  Later he worked on the reconstruction of the South Bohemia Theatre. 

Source: www.cka.cc/

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The decision about new theatre construction, dedicated to opera and ballet, was made within the frame of planned further development of Pardubice city, important centre of East Bohemia region. A new building should have been erected besides existing theatre building in Art Nouveau style, which was built in 1906-1909 according the design by Prague architect Antonín Balšánek and was enlarged by Viennese architect Herman Helmer Jr. in the second half of 1920s. The council of Městský národní  výbor (Municipal National Committee), after it had been  negotiated with Krajský  národní  výbor ( East Bohemia Regional National Committee) in Hradec Králové and with Union of Czechoslovakian architects,  announced public tender for a design of new building, into which 43 designs were submitted within prescribed deadline in spring of the following year. Terms of competition stipulated the capacity of auditorium to maximally 800 seats, declared a requirement for the most variable solution of the stage and auditorium relation  ( up to non –illusory space) and supplementary rooms of café and buffet connected with the building foyer. 

The jury, which evaluated the works and whose chairman was architect Josef Kittrich, was attended by bearers of interwar Czech architecture tradition as were Richard F. Podzemný or Pardubice architect Karel Kalvoda, representatives of untraditional solutions of theatre space complying the contemporary staging tendencies, which were represented by  Miroslav Kouřil and stage designer František Tröster, together with experienced architects in modern theatre architecture designing (Zdeněk Vávra, co-author of remarkable design of Realistic Theatre in Prague from the same year) and experts in building economy field. In first phase of evaluation,  the jury excluded – apart of two designs, where the jury took interest in architectural and town planning qualities of the solution- the designs with traditional proscenium scheme and chose 26 more progressive designs for further evaluation.

M. Kouřil explained the clean-cut attitude of the jury members by statement that proscenium stage represented „expression of capitalistic society“, on the other hand, new theatres with hall, revolving stage and annular stage are programmatic „type of socialistic camp“ – he left aside  generously that the trend of untraditional forming of theatre space with the effort for maximal variability did not emerged from programm of „socialistic camp“ , but our designer reacted by it on world-wide movement (Kouřil himself stated that in other cases by examples from America and other non socialist countries). After submitted designs had been evaluated, the jury decided not to award the first prize, because according to them, none of the designs did fit so well to be able to become a basis for realization without any essential modification. They agreed on assignation of 2 awards without determination of the designs succession, which authors were Ostrava architect Ivo Klimeš and a team of Prague designer, composed of  Vlastibor Klimeš, Eva Růžičková, Vratislav Růžička and Milan Vašek.

Two by jury lowered prizes were gained by the joint design by Stanislav Nábělek and  Mojmír Böhm, architects from Ústí nad Labem, and design by Prague architects Rudolf Oplt and Josef Menzl. The award of 6 000 Crowns was granted for their designs to Bratislava designers Anton Cimmermann and Dušan Kuzma, joint design by Prague architects Ivo Loos and Jindřich Malátek and other to Prague architect Karel Gogela. Lower financial award was taken by another seven prizes; the extra competition financial means served to evaluate, for its inventive and maximally variable solution, the design by František Fencl, who endeavoured for theatre space with removable walls, stage floor and auditorium.  


Description of the solutions

The new theatre should have been located not far away from the historical core of the city, behind North-west tail of náměstí Republiky (Republic square) with neo classicizing building of miller's school (originally Industrial Museum), which was protruded to intended construction site by built-up rear annexe, built in 1930 by Pardubice architect Karel Řepa, a disciple of Josif Plečnik. Selected unsymmetrical plot was enclosed from the North by busy road of Sukova Street, behind which a through view opens through park zone of Tyrš orchard to Renaissance castle with its fortification, court facades, incongruous in mass from south side,  of the houses on main artery of trade třída Míru (Peace Avenue) and from west Na Hrádku Street with frontage of multi storey housing blocks. The highest awarded projects were seeking for the harmonic relationship between free standing building and surrounding housing. The design by I. Klimeš brought the horizontally  unfolded and in staggered mode conceived assemblage of quadratic masses with surmounted fly loft; the design by V. Klimeš and collective rounded off the centrally conceived segmented mass by truncated cone. Other awarded creators wanted on the contrary to highlight urbanistic inquietude of surroundings by the building of exclusive forms (hexagonal ground plan of the theatre design by team Nábělek and Böhm; scheme of paddle mill by Slovakian duo Cimmermann and Kuzma).

The authors of 26 evaluated designs worked from technical point of view with range of six different technical-operational principles: with traditional theatre with proscenium (2 designs, with reformed proscenium stage (4 designs), with revolving stage (5 designs), arena stage(11 designs), round stage ( 2 designs)  and with ring shaped stage (1 design).  V. Klimeš a collective based the theatre space on  fanned  out auditorium with round stage, equipped by three turntables and low fly loft. Breadth of auditorium space was being able to be changed according the needs due to system of sliding walls. Ivo Klimeš proposed clear segmentation in disposition of the spaces behind the front facade of the theatre, orientated towards Tyrš orchards. Period commentaries positively evaluated especially his effort for width expansion of the auditorium. Nábělek and Böhm attained the variability of the theatre by shifting the side walls and they were enlarging the stage by projecting platforms of side stages along the sides of amphitheatre auditorium. Karel Gogela conceived the exterior of the theatre as a assemblage of geometric solids. Glass entry cuboid with three oblique access ramps continued by its capital towards central mass of theatre hall with turntable inside the outer ring track. Common sign of all evaluated designs was the modern technical equipment.

The authors of four designs, awarded by 2nd and 3rd prizes,  should have proceeded into second round of the competition, which would have decided, whether arena type of theatre or type with revolving stage would have been more convenient. Albeit this second round nor realization has not ever been realized -similarly as other competition in 1960s - , the results of Pardubice tender outlined dispositional possibilities and perspectives of new Czech theatre architecture.


Architektura ČSSR XXI, 1962, č. 9, s. 554–561

– A. Malinský, Soutěž na budovu operní a baletní scény v Pardubicích, Československý architekt VIII, 1962, č. 13–14 (15. 7.), s. 5

– Miroslav Kouřil, Více diskuse o výstavbě divadel, Acta Scaenographica 4, 1963, (sv. 66?, č. 11–12?, červen–červenec 1963), s. 201–204, 207–208

– Jiří Hilmera, Česká divadelní architektura. Praha 1999, s. 162–163, obr. 244–251 na s. 266–267

Note: The deposition of competing designs- if they are preserved at all in any of the state archives- is not known as so far.


Tags: Architectural competition, Communist Czechoslovakia


Author: Pavel Panoch

Translator: Jan Purkert

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