Gočár and Pardubice
Every city has an architect, without which it would look completely different than it looks now. One of these is Josef Gočár for the town of Pardubice. And not just for them.
Josef Gočár was a Czech architect, one of the founders of modern architecture in Czechoslovakia.
He was born in Semtín in 1880 in the brewery brewery family Alois Gočár and wife Anna, born Hüttlová. In 1891 the family moved to Bohdaneč. From 1892 he studied at lower secondary school in Pardubice; in 1902 at the School of Arts and Crafts in Prague, first in the studio of Jan Kotěra and later as a regular pupil of his special school.
From 1905 he started with the first projects. After completing his studies he worked in Kotěř’s studio. In 1908 he stepped out and became independent. In the years 1909-1910 he realized the first major projects: the staircase at the Church of the Virgin Mary in Hradec Králové (reinforced concrete structure, connecting the square with the underpass under the walls) and the Wenke store in Jaroměř. In 1910, the reinforced concrete structure of the water reservoir in Bohdaneč Spa was also built.
In 1909-1910, an important building was built in Pardubice – the premises of Winternitz’s automatic mills. It is situated on the right bank of the River Chrudimka in front of its confluence with Lab, in the White Suburb near the Renaissance historic town center. In the year 2014 the mills were listed on the National Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic. My opinion is that this building is very interesting. Currently, this building is renovated and converted to a museum. Today, various social events such as paintings, concerts and others are held here.
Another Gočár building in Pardubice is the Grand Hotel. Originally, the T.G.Masaryk District House was built between 1927 and 1930 at the site of the Hotel Kotel. The original construction investor was the District Administrative Commission, which also had its headquarters in the building. In the end, however, the investor became the District Authority of Pardubice (= state). When Josef Gočár became the architect of this building, the building was already under construction. In the finished building there was a district office, a café, a restaurant, a billiard room, a large social hall, a club room, a wine cellar in the basement and the SPORT Cinema (later the WORLD) and, of course, the GRAND Hotel with 57 rooms.
The first guest, who stayed at the hotel from 30 May to 31 May 1931, was President T. Masaryk. The reconstruction of the Grande building took place between 1998 and 1999, and on October 2, 1999, the GRAND Business Center was officially opened for the first customers. Unfortunately, nowadays, Grand is rather dull. I hope that things will get better.
The third building I am going to present today is Anglobank, today’s Komerční banka. The work of renowned architect Josef Gočár stands out from the frontage with square half-columns. Gočár took into account the close proximity of the late Gothic town tower, and used the copper plate on the famous roof of the so-called “Green Gate” to slake the low rack roof of the bank house. The building was built between 1923 and 1924.