In the 1925 competition for the design of the so-called Elbe Basin, which included in particular the concept of the new Ulrichovo náměstí Square, a condition was the location of several public buildings that no new district could do without: a Catholic church, a church of
the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, and a theatre. With the exception of Oldřich Liska, who placed the theatre in the neighborhood of the Museum designed by Jan Kotěra, most of
the designs placed the new theatre as the dominant feature of the Square. This was true also about Josef Gočár, who placed the theatre building at the head of the square – while
the entrance façade faced the city, its back faced the station, which was not evaluated very positively by the conservative jury consisting of Antonín Engel, Bohumil Hübschmann, Ladislav Machoň, Josef Šejna, František Ulrich, Zdeněk Wirth and Vladimír Zákrejs. According to the axonometry of 1925, Gočár planned a symmetrical building with a covered entrance and a glass façade. The exterior was to consist of smooth surfaces of exposed masonry, broken by windows on the sides and in the stairwells. Above the stage there was
a cube of mass concealing the stage machinery. Because of the theatre, Gočár’s original design called for the square to be deeper than it ended up being. However, the location of
the theatre was soon abandoned, Ulrichovo náměstí Square took on the character of
an administrative and commercial center, as opposed to the cultural and residential center in Gočár’s first design, and the theatre had to be relocated.
In Josef Gočár’s regulation study of 10 June 1928, the theatre building was already situated in a new location and Gočár counted on it until the complete completion of the work on
the regulation of Hradec Králové in 1931. On the site of Novák’s later elevated garages, Gočár planned a block of tenement houses, which were to form the background for a dignified theatre building. Gočár designed the exact location and layout of the surroundings in a plan dated 1 March 1930. The program of the building was apparently enlarged from its original location on the Square, because although the building was to be symmetrical again in layout with side buttresses in the entrance facade, the rear wing was to project and be longer in
the western part. Gočár also designed a quite detailed park arrangement – the sides of
the theatre building were to be lawned fields, the extended embankment of the Elbe would contain an avenue of deciduous trees, where presumably the audience would be able to cornice during the interval or before and after the performance. Gočár envisaged twenty-nine parking spaces for cars in the western part of the area away from the theatre.
Even the construction of Novák’s garages in 1932 and the completion of Gočár’s work on
the regulation of the inner city in 1931 did not conclude the plan to build a theatre on this site.
A photograph of the model of the area has survived, showing the Novák’s garages and
the theatre building in front of it, which is still extended by a ground-floor antic colonnade on the embankment closed towards the Tyršův Bridge by a pavilion with a dome. This model probably originated in the Municipal Technical Office. The unspecified development of
the area in front of Novák’s garages was also envisaged in Ernst Bode’s wartime regulation plan of 1942. The location of the new theatre was changed only in the new zoning plan by František Bartoš and Josef Havlíček in 1946, and it was finally dealt with by František Čermák in 1956, who located it in the northern part of the inner city, which the architects dealt with in the following three decades.
The project was never built.
- Národní technické muzeum, Archiv architektury a stavitelství, fond Josef Gočár, č. 14, inv. č. 20110309/04