Address: Československé armády 295, Hradec Králové
Public transport: Adalbertinum (BUS 5, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, TROLEJBUS 2, 6)
GPS: 50.210585, 15.829932
Date: 1896–1898, 1927-1928 (P) 1896–1898, 1927-1928 (R)
Architects: Viktor Weinhengst, Josef Fňouk
Builders: Viktor Weinhengst, Josef Fňouk
Building owners: Oto a Josef Fränklovi, Jaroslav Urban
Trail: The Ring Road
The corner building of the Grand Hotel was built by Oto Fränkl and his son Josef. Later it was bought by Jaroslav Urban, who first expanded it with the Palm Garden building no. 275 and then had the old building raised and rebuilt.
Although the plans of the original form of the corner Grand Hotel No. 295 by Viktor Weinhengst have not survived, we can get an idea of it from contemporary photographs and the internal layout can be deduced from the surviving local descriptions and the plan of the later reconstruction, where the existing and newly planned building structures were distinguished.
The construction took place between 28 April 1896 and 9 October 1897, or 1 May 1898, when additional changes to the original design were approved by a committee inquiry. The building permit states that Wienhengst will be the architect and contractor: “It is hereby acknowledged that the construction will be carried out by Mr. Viktor Weinhengst, an architect in Hradec Králové, who thereby assumes responsibility in accordance with §§ 51 and 52 of the Building Code, for which reason he must also be informed by you of this order and the conditions laid down therein, in order to be guided by them in carrying out the construction.” According to the local entry of 20 November 1898, which lists all residential and non-residential rooms, the internal layout was as follows: the basement contained thirteen cellars, a boiler room, and an ice room where large blocks of ice were stored all year. On the ground floor, there were restaurant premises, a tap room, a kitchen, a pantry, a fridge, toilets, laundry, and a glassed-in veranda with a terrace facing the courtyard. On the first floor, there were fifteen rooms with a shared toilet and bathroom; on the second floor there were seventeen rooms and a shared toilet and bathroom.
Weinhengst designed the exterior as a neo-Baroque façade. Eight window axes faced Palackého Street, six faced Československé armády Street. The façade facing both the streets was closed on each side by bossed avant-corps enclosed by an undulate crown cornice; above the cornice, there were volute gables with an oval skylight topped with a vase. The crown cornice was supported by neo-Baroque brackets with a volute profile. The first-floor windows were covered with segmental cornices. The entire ground floor was bossed. A bay window protruded from the beveled corner, extending over the first and second floors, above which rose first a volute gable and a polygonal tower with a lantern. There were two entrances to the building: one from today’s Československé armády Street and one from the corner.
In 1914, Oldřich Liska was asked to redesign the interior of the hotel café and in 1918, he also redesigned the hotel lobby with striking dark paneling and Cubist staircase detail.
In the courtyard, there was a single-story building with a garage and workshop. Josef Fňouk planned to extend this in a December 1927 project of a single-story building containing two parts: a joinery and painting workshop and accommodation for the hotel staff in four large rooms. The quarters were accessible from a courtyard balcony. The toilet was on the balcony and the bathroom with another toilet on the ground floor.
The new owner Jaroslav Urban – who took over the hotel from the hotel owner Morávka, who had rented it and subsequently bought it – decided to rebuild the hotel. In 1927, he asked Josef Gočár for a project, whose design is dated 10 February 1927 and with whom he apparently did not agree on cooperation. Subsequently, Josef Fňouk took over the renovation project based on Gočár’s design and implemented it. Fňouk’s plans are dated December 1927 and they were approved on 13 March 1928. The basement and ground floor were preserved – more significant changes were already made in 1904 with the addition of the District House designed by Jan Kotěra and later in 1911 with the extension and addition of the Palm Garden. In the basement, there was a wine bar with a buffet (in the wing facing Československé armády Street and in the basement of the Palm Garden at no. 275) and a billiard hall (in the wing facing Palackého Street). In addition, there was an office, warehouses, and cellars. Due to connecting the building to the District House in 1904, some of the operational premises were moved to the basement of the District House, for example, laundries, almond rooms, and a wine cellar. The ground floor restaurant facilities were moved to the District House in 1904, and the corner building of the Grand Hotel served as a cafe. In the wing facing Československé armády Street, a “people’s restaurant” was created, served from the central kitchen. The 1927 project changed the basement and ground floor of the corner hotel very little, the only significant change being the demolition of a new material drop shaft into the basement at the corner of the building and the construction of a glazed atrium adjacent to the hotel lobby behind the entrance from Československé armády Street. On the second and probably also on the first floor, a two-room “apartment” with a separate bathroom was created in the corner space, which was also included in Gočár’s previous design (however, the apartments were supposed to have three rooms and their layout was slightly different). The main change concerned the modification of the façade and the attic. The attic extension eliminated the tower and created sixteen new rooms with a shared bathroom and two toilets, a maid’s room, and two chambers.
The exterior was adapted by Fňouk from the facade of the Palm Garden designed by Kotěra in 1911. Retreating lesene frames protrude from the cornice between the ground and first floors. This cornice contains masks designed by Jan Štursa for the adjacent Palm Garden and local sculptor Josef Škoda for the corner building No. 295. The main entrance to the hotel from Československé armády Street had a new sculptural decoration by sculptor Emanuel Kodet. The portal is framed by a relief of a boy and a girl supporting a drapery with a medallion. The sculpture is made of travertine, fashionable at the time.
The Grand Hotel as a whole, including the Palm Garden and the District House, served the purpose of accommodation until 1989. In the 1990s, it was privatized as three independent parts. The corner of the house no. 295 underwent roof repairs in 2001 and it was completely renovated in 2008–2009. Today, the ground floor serves commercial purposes and the hotel facilities have been restored on the upper floors.
The Grand Hotel is an immovable cultural monument No. 28983/6-556 registered on the Central List of Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic (ÚSKP) and part of the protected urban conservation area in Hradec Králové.
- Státní okresní archiv, fond Berní správa, dokumentace k objektu čp. 295
Jan Jakl, Sny a vize: Neuskutečněné projekty Josefa Gočára, Hradec Králové 2010, s. 22
Jakub Potůček, Hradec Králové: Architektura a urbanismus 1895–2009, Hradec Králové 2010, s. 77
Ladislav Zikmund-Lender, Jan Kotěra v Hradci, Hradec Králové 2016, s. 40