The Construction, Purchasing and Production Civic House Cooperative in Hradec Králové, established by the local branch of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Workers’ Party (ČSDSD), was founded in 1908 and initiated the acquisition and/or possible construction of the Civic House. Two years later, the cooperative bought a civil shooting range with a garden restaurant on the border of the Prague Suburbs and Hradec Králové for CZK 60,000. In the building, there were the headquarters of the party, the Workers’ Gymnastic Union, and trade unions.
Gradually, however, the premises proved to be inadequate for the growing apparatus of the party and its affiliated organizations. It was necessary to raise more money for the operation and to organise more cultural activities for the party members. Therefore, the cooperative asked architect Oldřich Liska to design the reconstruction and extension of the one-storey cinema (operated by the cooperative since 1913), adjacent to the main building of the former shooting range. In the late 1930s, the local party organization asked Liska to design a building for the Central Consumer Cooperative and East Bohemian People’s Bakery. The reconstruction of the cinema, designed by the architect, was carried out after 1920, and in the project, Liska used the features of modern classicism. They included a dimensional tympanum on the main façade and dominant half-columns with fluting dividing the ground floor façade. A new significant feature of the building was a large terrace, enhanced by the main façade. The most important reason for the extension of the cinema was to build a hall for 800 people with central heating. In 1924, a wooden multi-purpose hall was built in the neighbouring Japanese garden by master carpenter Jan Krám.
The cooperative founded by the local organization of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Workers’ Party approached the architect again in 1926 because the administrative premises of the Civic House seemed inadequate due to their insufficient capacity. Liska designed a project for the reconstruction of the original building and decided to adjust his earlier project for the extension of the LIDO BIO cinema. The four-storey multi-purpose building designed by him was built between 1927 and 1928. The architect designed very simple purist façades with cornices. He also decided to unite the design of the newly extended building with the cinema, replacing the original tympanum and terrace with another single floor terminated with a cornice and a flat roof. After the reconstruction and extension, the complex could serve both the trade union and political party that now gained a number of new offices. The premises also offered accommodation services in fourteen rooms, and there were several club rooms, a library, a gym, and a ground floor restaurant for 300 people. The complex also included a large theatre for up to 2,000 visitors.
After the merger of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Workers’ Party and the Communist Party in 1948, the complex was used by the cooperative until 1951, when it was taken over by the Regional Trade Union Council. At that time, only minor structural modifications in the garden, kitchen and sanitary facilities were made. After the Velvet Revolution, the building became the property of the renewed Social Democratic Party again. Since no fundamental reconstruction has been carried out yet, the windows and façade still have their original design. The Regional Committee of the party rents the former cinema and restaurant to businesses. Some parts of the complex are, however, now in disrepair, e.g. the wooden multi-purpose hall in the garden.
No protection has been registered.
- Archiv stavebního odboru Magistrátu města Hradce Králové, Pražské Předměstí, složka – číslo popisné 45
Karel Říha (ed.), Hradec Králové v roce 1925, Praha 1925, s. 40
Zdeněk Vašata a kol., 100 let Střelnice Hradec Králové, Hradec Králové 2010
Ladislav Zikmund-Lender, Struktura města v zeleni: Moderní architektura v Hradci Králové, Hradec Králové 2017, s. 151