TRADITION OF FUNCTIONALIST ARCHITECTURE IN BOHEMIA

TRADITION OF FUNCTIONALIST ARCHITECTURE IN BOHEMIA

Functionalism, characterized by its specific artistic and philosophical values, literally revolutionized architecture during its era. For example, the renowned architect Adolf Loos shocked by his statement: „Lack of ornamentation is a sign of spiritual strength.“ Functionalism gives architectural admirers of buildings and their interiors a completely new point of view.

 

However, the path of development to this ingenious simplicity was much more complicated. Throughout the nineteenth century, historical forms of architecture were alternating in rapid succession, trying to replicate the elements and motifs of the great historical styles that have evolved and worked for centuries. These new forms worked with cheaper materials and substitutes and, according to some visionary architects, were fussy, complicated. The emerging purposeful functional, austere, geometric architecture, free from pomp and decor, was influenced by societal changes and at the same time responding to the development of industry and construction. It corresponded to a certain lifestyle, and especially in the period of the First Republic between the two world wars, it met the requirements for refined and comfortable modern living.

 

The importance of Czechoslovak interwar functionalist architecture is evidenced by the work of leading Czech architects. These extraordinary works have made a great contribution to European and world architecture and are clearly one of Europe's top. Adolf Loos designed, among others, the famous Müller Villa on Ořechovka and Winternitz Villa in Košíře, Jože Plečnik made the Church of the Sacred Heart of the Lord in Vinohrady, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe created Villa Tugendhat, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Le Corbusier constituted the urban plan of the Zlín town, Czech architects with the help of Dutchman Marta Stama solved the Baba settlement in Prague, Dejvice. This is only a small account of the significant architectural achievements of the new era. One of the most important functionalist villas is the absolutely-unique villa in Prague 4, designed by the renowned architect Karel Honzík, who enriched our offer of First Republic villas and luxury family houses.

 

Karel Honzík's functionalist villa

 

It is a villa in the purist functionalistic style, whose author Karel Honzík is one of the few Czech architects and theoreticians of architecture. He was part of the interwar avant-garde, a member of the so-called Purist Four, co-founder of the Devětsil association, a member of the Left Front, author of other famous buildings (including the former palace of the General Pension Institute). He was also the author of scholarly books on architecture, for example, Introduction to the Study of Psychic Functions in Architecture, Necessism: The Idea of ​​Reasonable Consumption, Creation of the LifeStyle, Architecture for All, Beyond the Objectivity, etc., and Memories from the Life of the Avantgarde. He emphasized architecture that is both utilitarian and aesthetic. In his work he tried to make the space not only well-arranged and comfortable to live in but to attract, to evoke the desire to live in it, to pass through spaces, touch surfaces, and shapes.

 

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Clean geometric lines, smooth snow-white facade, horizontal strips of windows, terrace on a flat roof; all in harmony with a perfect design and in accordance with a functional garden designed by another prominent Czech architect and urbanist Otokar Fierlinger. The garden and the villa are reconstructed exactly according to the original plans, photographs, and visions under the supervision of the Heritage Institute. During the reconstruction, the latest technologies and the highest quality materials including exotic wood and stone were used. The result is a building with a totally pure functionalist appearance providing comfort and convenience for the most demanding clients.

A detailed description of the functionalist villa can be found here.

This article was prepared by Ing. Lenka Dušková.

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