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Municipal Theatre Mariánské Lázně

Friedrich Zickler

alias N. V. Gogol theatre (after 1952), Kreuzbrunnenkino
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)17.8.1868 | Opening performance

After the decision of municipal council of Mariánské lázně  to build a theatre and the project was given to local architect Friedrich Zickler , the construction was commenced in 1866 and finished after two years. Opening performance took place 17. august 1868.

(detail)1904 | renovation and extension
According to the project by architect Alfred Walcher from a Viennese studio Fellner-Helmer.
(detail)1976 | complex reconstruction
According to a project by Ing. Dalibor Štys. The major changes took place in the entrance sections. The triplet of the front entrance in the centre of the front façade was canceled and replaced by tall windows. The side entrances in neighboring axes and round corners were utilized. The space of the vestibule was deepened and a cloakroom was newly established. The sight conditions in the auditorium were improved and all the decorations were restored.
(detail)2008 | Renovation

Project architects were Dalibor Urbanec and Ivan Hložek from atelier UNIART.


(detail)Friedrich Zickler |main architect

Local architect and builder in Mariánské Lázně, where he realized an array of buildings e.g theater, city hall, observation tower, garden pavilion "Forest spring".

(detail)Alfred Walcher |architect

Architect, who was concentrated on reconstruction, restauration, rebuilding and enlargement of historical buildings of the nobility. He can be considered as a representative of late Revival architecture, who thanks to his conservative clients had not developed his own specific style.


(detail)Ivan Hložek |architect
Contemporary architect in Mariánské lázně.

(detail)Dalibor Urbanec |architect
Contemporary architect in Mariánské lázně.


The Town Council in Mariánské Lázně decided to build a new permanent theatre building in town in the year 1865. Architect Friedrich Zickler was assigned to work on the project and the construction was started in 1866 and finished after two years. The opening performance took place on August 17, 1868.

The main principal space outline of the theatre remained the same until today: Central space is formed by an auditorium of a horse-shoe shape on a circular base with two balconies, originally with boxes. There used to be thirteen of them with one extended box in the centre, the second balcony was formed by six boxes on the sides and one deeper “amphitheatre” in the centre. There was an outside running corridor in a shape of the inner horse-shoe ground floor plan. The orchestra pit was situated in front of the parterre rows. The stage was framed by triplet prop frames in six rows on an in-depth converging ground floor plan. Someone could enter the cross oriented vestibule through three front doors inserted in the risalit of the main façade. The vestibule ceiling was supported by couples of columns in front of each pillar of front and back walls with single columns situated in corners. Platform stairways which led to the circles were situated in projections in the middle of the side façades. There was also a spiral staircase inside the front left quoin. The size of the backstage was minimal – just two modest rooms behind the stage. For this reason storage room had to be established in a rather nonstandard way in between side walls of the parterre and an outside corridor.  

In contrast to the moderate adaptation of the auditorium the theatre exterior had typical classical neo-renaissance character. The penta-axial façade used a three-axial risalit with bossage ground floor which opened by three semicircle vaulted front entrances. Their blind analogies were repeated on the side walls of the risalit. There were three-quarter pillars with vaulted capitals (doubled along the central axe) framing the individual front and side axes. The front wall would open with tall semicircle vaulted windows which were again repeated as blind analogies on the side walls. A large open terrace with a balustrade railing was placed above the first risalit floor. The remaining façade including the stairway risalit were horizontally rebated. Tall semicircle vaulted windows and also side stairway entrances were placed in shallow square depressions. There was a longitudinal attic extension with a diagonally situated fly loft tower of the same height placed above the space of the auditorium both with semicircle vaulted partially blinded windows and also both topped with simple triangular gables. A new boiler-room was established in 1894, it’s existence proved by a tall chimney in the corner above the left stairway depicted in a photograph from about the year 1900. This picture shows one more addition to the original state of the building: single axe outbuildings adjoined to the vestibule sides. Little later low terraces in front of the side entrances were probably established.  

The theatre building was remarkably renovated and extended in 1904 after a project by architect Alfred Walcher from a Vienna studio Fellner-Helmer. Construction work started in February 1904 and was carried out under the guidance of builder Ignac König. The work progressed well and the theatre was reopened the same year on May 7th. The auditorium space, side stairway and supporting stage walls, even the original backstage stayed preserved. What we can read from Walcher’s plans with coloured highlights of the former state and new walling is that there were no side parterre storage areas preserved even back then provided they had ever been established. The parterre thus gained on size. Everything standing back then was surrounded by new space. The most radical changes took place in the front section. The old vestibule was cancelled and a new one built little deeper with a lens shaped ground floor plan. Passages leading to adjacent side areas were widened and new corner ones were established with circular bases. Coming from here new rooms lead all the way to side stairways. The same adaptation was carried out on the first floor with foyer. Similar solution was applied to stairway risalites towards the back façade where spiral stairways were set into circular corner sections. What remain unclear are the boxes. The Walcher’s plans show boxes running along the whole circumference of the both balconies, but not on the ground floor. In contrast the seating plans from 1939 show a parterre with fourteen seat rows and triplets of large boxes on both sides with four, ten and eleven seats. There we could find one central box with eleven seats in three rows up and three seats on sides where the first row was divided into four groups with three, two times five and four seats, the last row with fifteen seats. The second balcony had the first row divided into seven pentads of seats, the second row into five groups of six seats in the central triad and with five on both sides. The narrowed back section of the second balcony held four continuous rows. It is unknown when this adaptation was carried out. However it is also recorded in building surveying plans of the then state which was done prior to the major reconstruction in 1976.

The theatre was adapted in the year 1944 for film performances and was named Kreuzbrunnenkin’s Theatre. A projection room was set up in the central box of the first balcony. In the years 1967 to 1968 the stage was reconstructed after the plans carried out by Scenographic Studio in 1966 with the chief designer Ing. Beneš. The reconstruction was the most remarcable in the height of the fly loft tower. The then established revolving stage was not utilised enough in practice and later had to be canceled. A complex reconstruction of the building was done in 1976 according to a project by Ing. Dalibor Štys. The major changes took place in the entrance sections. The triplet of the front entrance in the centre of the front façade was canceled and replaced by tall windows. The side entrances in neighboring axes and round corners were utilized. The space of the vestibule was deepened and a cloakroom was newly established. The sight conditions in the auditorium were improved and all the decorations were restored. The roofing material was repaired in 1987. In 1992 and 1993 a new lifting table was set for transportation of properties from the new outbuilding to the back façade. The elevation of the parterre was risen at the occasion of the theatre anniversary in 2008. Also, some details in stucco decorations in balcony’s bottom view and side corridors were completed. New lamps stylized to match the adaptation style of the year 1904 were hung up in lounges. During the same year air conditioning was replaced and the façade was newly painted. This renovation was done under the architects Urbanec and Hložek from Marianské Lázně Office UNIART.


Contemporary state description

The concept of the theatre building exterior prevails in geometrical secession style. The main façade has two stories, five axes with adjoined circular pavilions at the quoins. The central thee-axe risalit contains four-sided super elevated pylons originally carrying obelisk shapes reflecting decorative vases. Pylons’ walls carry flat stucco in shapes of shabracks (prolonged in the front façade) placed under the cornice. The ground risalit floor opens with three tall windows which replaced the original three entrances during the building reconstruction in the second half of the 70’s. The windows are framed by embedded columns (resp. by quarter-columns in case of the pylons) formed by five-layered cylinder bossage which carry a false balcony with secession decorative bar railing in front of French windows. These windows are framed with pilasters with vault consoles at the place of the capitals. A distinct cornice domed on plan and on surface comes out above the window heads in between the pylons. The cornice carries a segmentally voluted tablet with a bass-relief of a geometrically stylized lyre. Each of the axes on the side of the base risalit contains a squarer entrance on the ground floor and a semicircular-vaulted window with shabrack filling on window sills on the first floor. The ground floor area is structured by horizontal strips with ochre and white colouring (with the same design repeated on the side walls façade). The first floor façade area is treated with horizontal pointing. The rounded corner pavilions open with wider square entrances on the ground floor as they were established during the reconstruction in the 70’s. with doors imitating decorative door shapes from the 1904 adaptation. The first floor contains five narrow French windows with railings similar to the railings in front of the foyer windows. These are separated by smooth pillars with ridge-shaped cornices at the place of the capitals.

Side façade (coping with a gradually descending terrain and thus gradually revealing semi-basement) is divided into five sections in between the rounded corner pavilions. There under a triangular gable is the front of the original stairway risalites found in the centre of the side wall with windows of vaulted heads similar to those on the front façade axes on the ground floor and on the first floor as well. The same windows used on the upper stories contain sections with a narrow attica and a slightly domed tablets in the centre. Even numbered in contrast to odd numbered lower sections open with quadruplets of narrow French windows in between window pillars on the upper stories and are the same as those on the corner pavilions of the front façade. The attica placed above the fourth sections and back corner pavilions is structured with bass-relief lisenas and flat voluted consoles. On the ground floor façade there are square windows of various sizes and they are placed variably in the individual sections.

Rounded corner pavilions by the back façade contain only three simple square windows placed above each other in a column. Area filling the space among the windows is symmetrically divided into three sections. Side sections have smaller vaulted windows in all the stories. There are two on the upper one and one extra narrow window on the both lower stories. Right below them we can find entrances leading to semi basement and backstage.  The central wide and slightly elevated section contains two larger vaulted windows on the upper story, lower half is blocked by the outbuilding with the lifting table established in the years 1992 and 1993. This outbuilding has rounded corners, vaulted windows on the upper floor, both blind and it has a medium sized triangular gable placed above the centre.

There are two objects which are salient to the elevation of the rest of the building by a couple of metres from the upper rim of the above described body of the façade. Those are: an attic adaptation covered with a pitched roof right above the auditorium space which is closed with a triangular gable and which contains five semi-voluted windows, the middle one being blind. On the side walls there are six windows on each which are blind again in the back part of the building. A fly loft tower situated above the stage forms in its lower sections a part of the original building structure. Its area is covered with blind voluted windows, a group of five on the side walls and a group of six on the back. A contemporary upper cubus is bare with a sole strip of thirteen windows going round the front and back side under the upper cornice.

The auditorium was preserved in its original proportions on a ground floor plan of a wide horse shoe with an inner supporting system made of steel columns in an insulation panelling. The stage portal is also original and its cross beam supported with voluted consoles carries in its centre a framed cartouche with a relief depicting a tragic mask. There are two stucco rendered faggots of musical instruments and two masks hung on the inner side of the portal jamb. Also, the window sills’ decorations on both balconies are in their original forms. We can find rosettes in circular frames alternating with oblong frames all made in relieves. Into these frames relieves of heads in rocaille and leafwork framing are inserted on the first balcony. The ceiling is covered with a fine stucco decoration. A doubled circular frame around a grid above the chandelier is topped with certain fine spiral-drawn acroteria. The circular ceiling area is divided by thin beams into eight sectors. The sector’s areas are filled with rosettes in circular frames. The external circular framing in each sector is elevated with a low segmented arch topped with an acroteria which points to the centre. Colouring of the whole interior is kept in combinations of white, blue and gold. Parterre has rapid elevation and both the circles are of amphitheatre arrangement with no boxes. There are windows of the technical cabins placed in the back wall of the second circle. A covered orchestra pit serves as a front scene area.

The side entrances with seven-step stairways descend to a foyer and then from there by another several-step arched stairway in the central axis of the building into the cloakroom. There is a row of lobbies spread over the whole width of the building behind the first circle. Their artistic character is specified with very flat stucco decoration formed by broad strips or less frequently by fine lines on the ceiling and on the walls creating figures of secession character. The vestibule is of a similar decoration. The new light fittings had to be matched with the interior style. The doors are replicas of the original, partially damaged doors.


Tags: Neo-Baroque, detached building, prestige building


Author: Jiří Hilmera

Translator: Hana Atcheson

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