The architect J. Štěpánek came from Modřice na Hané. He graduated from the secondary school of stone sculpture in Hořice. In 1912–1916 he studied at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, specifically at Josip Plečnik’s Studio of Architecture. The turning point for him was 1916, when he decided to study transfer under Jan Kotěra at the Academy of Fine Arts. There he met Bohuslav Fuchs, with whom he subsequently began to work closely and became friends. He remained at the Academy until 1919, and in 1921, Štěpánek and Fuchs founded a joint studio.
Štěpánek’s early work was strongly influenced by Jan Kotěra. One of his first commissions was a complex of a power plant and a family house in Háj near Mohelnice in 1921. A year earlier he created a competition proposal for a regulatory plan and expansion of the town of Prostějov. In the 1920s, there was a noticeable shift towards constructivism in his work. In this period, he designed, for example, the family house for the sculptor Julius Pelikán in Na Vozovce Street in Olomouc. At the end of the 1920s, Štěpánek’s work leaned towards the emotional wave of functionalism–he designed, for example, the houses at 9 Ke Klimentce Street and 66 Moskevská Street in Prague.
The architect also won several awards. Together with Bohuslav Fuchs and Antonín Moudrý, he won the highest award in the competition for the redevelopment of the Lesser Town in Prague. Štěpánek also created the winning design for the industrial school in Mladá Boleslav together with Antonín Moudrý, but this project was eventually awarded to Jiří Kroha. Štěpánek was also the winner of a competition to develop Prague’s Letná neighborhood with parliamentary and ministerial buildings, but this project was not executed. He took part in a competition for the design of the Braník stadium in Prague and he won the best prize, but the project was not executed either.
Štěpánek also worked in the editorial office of Český stavitel (Czech Builder) magazine from 1924. Between 1926 and 1928, he was chairman of the editorial board.
One of his last major projects was the hydroelectric power plant in Předměřice; after its completion, he resorted mainly to creating monuments and sculptures, although he was an urban planner and promoter of modern architecture throughout his life. He died in seclusion.
Barbora Kašubová, Martina Valchářová, Tomáš Lorenc
Power plant and family house complex in Háj near Mohelnice
Julius Pelikán’s villa, 21 Na Vozovce Street, Olomouc
Tenement house, 66 Moskevská Street, Prague
Family house, 9 Ke Klimentce Street, Prague
Semi-detached house for the Nový dům (New House) colony, 1012, 1011/2, 4 Petřvaldská Street, Brno
Zdena and Josef Vlček’s house with a studio, Lipnice no. 620
Hydroelectric power plant in Předměřice nad Labem