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Town Theatre Jablonec nad Nisou

Ferdinand Fellner, Hermann Helmer

alias Julius Fučík Theatre (1948 - 1990), Stadttheater
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1900 | 1st competition
The Vienna architect Rudolf Krausz was awarded the best prize, W. Berger from Jablonné came second and the office of architects Badstieber and Rainer from Viena came third. The project was never realized.
(detail)1903 | 2nd competition
New architectural competition was announced in which the project of Franz Krauss and Josef Tölk won. It is not known whether or not the studio of Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer took part in the competition. Nevertheless, the theatre society finally commissioned this studio to prepare the project.
(detail)21.9.1907 | OPENING
The official opening ceremony took place on 21 September of the year 1907. The opening play was a comedy Husarská horečka (Husarenfieber) by Gustav Kadelburg and Richard Skowronka.
(detail)1965 | 1st Reconstruction

(detail)1996 | 2nd Reconstruction
Some technical equipment was replaced by new one, some construction repair work and craftsmen’ work was done – replicas of the missing sculptures and the original lighting. The old painted curtain was replaced by a new iron one.

People

(detail)Hermann Helmer |main architect
The phenomenon of the architects Fellner and Helmer would be difficult to capture with only one building. Their work consisted of continual, although somewhat stereotypical, work in terms of style. They placed a great emphasis on achieving the technical-operational needs of theatre buildings. They created a large number of theatres (mainly national theatres) in Central Europe - Austria, Croatia, Romania, the Czech Republic, etc.More theatres

(detail)Rudolf Krausz |architect, architect - participant of the competition

Worked in atelier Hellemer and Fellner, favoring the style of Baroque revival architecture in early period  , in course of time shifting to Functionalism. 

Source:

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Karl Reiner |architect - participant of the competition
Karl Badstieber |architect - participant of the competition

W. Berger |architect - participant of the competition
Franz Krauß |architect - participant of the competition
Josef Tölk |architect - participant of the competition
(detail)Josef Zasche |architect - participant of the competition

A prominent architect of the Art Nouveau and Modernism styles was of German background, studied a technical college in Liberec and then architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna by professor Karl von Hasenauer. After his return to Bohemia, he designed the Feast of the Cross Church for the Old Catholic Church in 1902-1903 in his hometown that is one of the most important sacral buildings in the Art Nouveau style in the Czech Republic. He became one of the few architects of the German nationality who acquired important contracts in Prague in the interwar period. He designed an array of palace buildings and villas. He participated on realization of the Palace of Viennese Bank Union Na Příkopech in 1906-1908, cooperated with Pavel Janák on the construction of a palace of an insurance company Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtà  – Palác Adria on the  Národní Avenue (1922-1925), designed villas in Bubeneč. Zasche was respected by the members of the Czech Avant-garde, which protested against his resettlement after the World War II that was eventually implemented.

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Karl Hegenbarth |sculptor
Josef Schmidt |interior designer

History

The foundation meeting of the newly established theatre society Gablonzer Theaterverein, which aimed at establishing a permanent municipal theatre since the start of its activities, took place on 22 December 1894. The theatre society organized a lottery in support of its effort. As a result of the lottery and other financial contributions they raised almost seventeen thousand gold coins by 1897. Upon the recommendation of Hermann Helmer, a plot on Staré náměstí (Alter Markt) – today Mírové náměstí – was originally selected for the new theatre building.

Shortly after that, the above mentioned newly established theatre society commissioned the studio of Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer to prepare the basic concept of the project, which was complete in August 1895. However, the theatre society didn’t have enough funds, and the work on the project had to be suspended. A new step forward was made when a competition was announced in 1990. The society invited Josef Zítek and Angel Neumann, the director of the New German Theatre in Prague, as members of the jury. The Vienna architect Rudolf Krausz was awarded the best prize, W. Berger from Jablonné came second and the office of architects Badstieber and Rainer from Viena came third. The project was never realized.

In 1902, the theatre society bought a new plot for the construction of a new theatre building in Říšska street – today Generála Mrázka.  In 1903, a new architectural competition was announced in which the project of Franz Krauss and Josef Tölk won. It is not known whether or not the studio of Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer took part in the competition. Nevertheless, the theatre society finally commissioned this studio to prepare the project. It was most probably due to the fact that the winning project exceeded the limited funds available to the society. Members of the society were also inspired by the successful construction of the theatre in Liberec which was designed by the same studio.

Vienna architects came with a completely new approach to the theatre project in Jablonec. They had a progressive concept in terms of dispositions as well as exteriors. The building design with its simpler and more pragmatic architectural expression doesn’t hide its modern structural principals. It is assumed, due to the secession style of the building that Hermann Helmer Jr. also greatly contributed to the design project of the Jablonec theatre.

On 15 August, the town council finally approved the financial plan for the construction, and on 18 August, the foundation stone was officially laid. The construction was implemented by Jablonec company of Emilian Herbig within a very short period – the building approval was awarded on 2 September 1907. The official opening ceremony took place on 21 September of the same year. The opening play was a comedy Husarská horečka (Husarenfieber) by Gustav Kadelburg and Richard Skowronka.

In 1928, due to the need to increase the capacity of the theatre, the theatre management decided to abolish the alleys in the middle. However, this project, as well as the one from 1941 on the reconstruction of the auditorium (an installation of a box for VIP guest in the circle), was never realized.

An extensive reconstruction of the entire building took place in the period of 1964-1965. The original interior was adjusted to suit the contemporary requirements as well as the capabilities of the suppliers at the time.  The alleys in the auditorium were built over. Golden stucco decoration in the interior and exterior was reduced, however, the statues of charioteers disappeared mysteriously from the building.

In 1995, the theatre was closed down due to technical and sanitary requirements. In the same year, the Town Council decided to reconstruct the entire theatre, and the woks started in 1996. Some technical equipment was replaced by new one, some construction repair work and craftsmen’ work was done – replicas of the missing sculptures and the original lighting. The old painted curtain was replaced by a new iron one.

The original sculptural and relief decoration of the façades and roofs was created by the Vienna sculptor Ernst Hegenbart. He also designed the chariots with the original allegorical statues located on pylons of the northern front façade as well as two lyres on the roof of the rig loft. 
From the very beginning of its existence the building was called Stadttheater, after 1948 Julius Fučík’s Theatre, and since 1990 the Municipal Theatre.

The building is located on the southern side of a steep hill with its front façade facing the street Generála Mrázka in the north. It has an oblong ground plan and is roofed with a system of saddle roofs. There is a buttress with a slightly vaulted front framed by a pair of rusticated pillars in the centre of the front façade – with three axis at the ground level and six axis at the first floor level. The edges of the façade are uni-axial. There are three entrance doors on the ground floor protected by a metal sunblind filled with glass; there are six high windows at the first floor level separated by slim pillars with mascaron ornaments at the top designed as theatre masks. The buttress is positioned between two rusticated pillars which carry mascaron ornaments, oblong cartouches with a town emblem of Jablonec and the emblems of dramatic and musical arts.  Above the window lintels, there are neo-classicist relief fields featuring the motif of the Dance and the Farewell of the Warrior.

The front façade is topped with the principal moulding with an attic gable decorated with square fields with eight-beam corrugation. In the central part of the gable, there is a plastic sign „Městské divadlo“ (originally „Stadt-Theater“). The dominating features of the front façade are the chariots - the metal sculptures of lions pulling two-wheeled carts, which stand on pylons above the edges of the buttress. The copies of the original laterns created during the last reconstruction of the theatre are also part of the design of the front façade.

The eastern and western façades copy the interior layout of the theatre building – the lateral staircases stand out at the level of the second axis; on each of the side façades there is a buttress with the side space next to the stage which are topped with a triangualar gable.
On the steep land, the basement in the northern part continues into the ground level with the stage sector; there is a half story with an attic above two other floors. The façades are divided by high rusticated pilaster strips; there are suprafenestrea above the windows decorated with ornaments with voussoirs or mascarons; on each side of the attic windows on the shell of the lateral staircases there are massive stucco heads of women with a crown. The tower of the flyloft comes out above the stage, the front and back triangular gable of the tower is topped with bronze lyres. The ridge of the roof above the stage carries aureate latern for ventilation.

The back façade has a central buttress under the triangular gable. There is a double-wing door on the ground level and a balcony on the first floor level carried by massive masonry brackets. The balcony door has a massive lintel, which is standing out. A three-part window sits on the lintel and this motif repeats itself in the middle axis of the façade in monumental entablature. The triangular gable of the buttress is broken by a thermal window. The corners of the façade and the buttress are shaped by rusticated pilasters on higher floors. The entablature carries a motif of crowned tablets surrounded by floral ornaments.

The right-angular oblong entrance lobby has a flat ceiling divided by concrete joists; the interior of the entrance hall is decorated with floral stucco decoration with mascarons in secession style. On the sides, there are windows of box offices and doors, which provide the access to the staircases leading upstairs to the circle. You can access the cross hallway in front of the auditorium through a set of five doors in the entrance lobby. There are side staircases leading to the circle. The ground floor of the foyer copies the segmental shape of the front façade on the first floor of the building. Its ceiling is divided by concrete joists with geometrical stucco decoration, which is also applied on the walls in the foyer where they are decorated with gilded heads of ionizing pilasters.

The auditorium is almost square shaped with an elliptic vault at the back. The ascension of the rows in the stalls is applied in the same way in the circle and balcony where the rows are oriented to the front. The vault of the auditorium has a concrete-steel structure. Its surface is divided by a large oval slightly concave mirror with stucco decoration with tiny abstract and floral elements and gilded beams leading to the foot of the vault. The main lighting of the auditorium composed of small cylindrical lights decorated with glass chains is installed around the perimeter of the mirror. The stage portal with segmented funicular arch has distinct features and carries secession ornaments with leaves. The design of the side boxes at the level of the circle is austere; the parapets connect with the parapets of the circle and balcony; only the parapets of the proscenium boxes are slightly convex with distinct pillars and rich stucco decoration.

The pillars supporting proscenium boxes are decorated with ornamental stucco with statues of cupids who support cartouches; with the town emblem on the left, and with emblems of arts on the right.

The theatre is designed in secession style with some neo-baroque features. The interior was designed by the company of Josef Schmidt; the stylish lighting and other metal elements were supplied by the Vienna company Zeisser and Habiger.

 

Literature:

- Alfred Javorin, Divadla a divadelní sály v českých krajích I, Praha 1949, p. 76–77

-Hans-Christoph Hoffmann, Die Theaterbauten von Fellmer und Helmer, München 1966

- František Padrta – Jan Strnad – Dieter Klein, Městské divadlo v Jablonci nad Nisou, Jablonec nad Nisou 1998

- Jiří Hilmera, Česká divadelní architektura, Praha 1999, p. 45–46

- Gerhard M. Dienes (ed.), Fellner & Helmer: Die Architekten der Illusion. Theaterbau und Bühnenbild in Europa, Graz 1999

 

 

Tags: Art Nouveau, Belle Époque, Fellner and Helmer, Fin de siècle, Neo-Baroque

 

Author: Ludmila Hůrková

Translator: David Livingstone

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