Just before WWI, there was another wave of construction of family villas at Orlické nábřeží Embankment. Jan Schimann, who moved to Hradec Králové from Prague–Vinohrady, asked local architect František Jaroslav Černý to design a historicist villa for him. In 1912, when most architects and builders in Hradec Králové inclined to modernism or Art Nouveau, it was a very conservative demand. Schimann probably wanted to spend his retirement in the villa but unfortunately, he died four years after its completion.
The plans, dated 10 September 1912, were approved on 7 October 1912, and the construction began in the same month. The villa was completed in the spring of the following year, on 20 May 1913. It has two residential floors; the tract with a kitchen, facing the yard, has only one floor. The house, except for a small part in the northern tract, has a basement. The basement plans are not described but we can assume that they included facilities and storage areas such fuel and food storerooms, a laundry room, etc. The ground floor had a very traditional layout: large representative and residential rooms, such the gentlemen’s room and the dining room with an alcove, faced the street. At the rear, facing the garden, there was the kitchen with a pantry and the maid’s room. This part of the house also had a separate back entrance leading to the garden. The communication core of the house was the staircase hall, an example of a relatively new principle of modern living inspired by the reformist English rural architecture. On the first floor, the residential stair hall lead to two parts – a large bedroom and a small room with another staircase leading to the attic, designed next to a toilet and a separate bathroom. Above the alcove in the dining room, there was a terrace. The attic was used exclusively as a loft.
The exterior of the villa has an eclectic style. It includes neo-Renaissance and neo-Baroque elements such as the ground-floor rusticwork, Tuscan pilasters lining the large window of the alcove on the ground floor, the niche of the dining room with a mansard roof on the ground floor, and the multi-level gable with scrolls above the street avant-corps. However, the half-timbered hipped main gable refers rather to traditional folk architecture. The interior included furniture with folk features designed by Dušan Jurkovič.
In 1928, the new owners, Alois and Marie Vacek, had the terrace on the first floor closed, thus expanding the residential space. The terraces was walled up and decorated with rusticwork to fit the new form into the original conception of the façade. This part of the building also had a half-hipped roof with the same gradient and design as the rest of the roof. Such a conformist solution required a building permit: “In terms of the architectural division, materials and colours, the annex façade should be unified with the house façade on the front, untouched by the reconstruction.” The reconstruction was performed by local builder Jan Kraus.
Jan Schimann’s villa is part of the protected urban conservation area in Hradec Králové.
- Státní okresní archiv v Hradci Králové, fond Berní správa, dokumentace k objektu Součástí čp. 532.
- Ilona Motejlová, Architektura vil v Hradci Králové 1900–1945, bakalářská diplomová práce (Bc)., Filozofická fakulta Univerzity Palackého v Olomouci, 2011