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: 1927 (P)
Architect: Josef Gočár
Investor: Jaroslav Urban
In 1927, the hotelier Jaroslav Urban bought the Grand Hotel in Hradec Králové after years of renting it. The mayor František Ulrich had a share in the privatization as well. Urban decided to expand the accommodation capacities of the inadequate Neo-Rococo hotel from 1898. Thanks to his close friendship with František Ulrich, who was in close contact with the leading architects from Jan Kotěra’s circle, namely Josef Gočár, Urban first approached Gočár.
Josef Gočár drew up a project for the reconstruction and extension of the hotel on 10 February 1927. Only two plans have survived: the ground floor plan and the first floor plan.
In December, however, Gočár drew up the final plans, implemented by the local architect and builder Josef Fňouk. Fňouk was a close collaborator and friend of Gočár’s: they worked together on the design of Masarykovo náměstí and Ulrichovo náměstí squares. In 1927 Gočár worked on the conceptual design of the exterior and mass of the Fénix insurance company in the south-eastern front of Ulrichovo náměstí Square, and Josef Fňouk drew up the realization project and the internal layout of the building in 1928–1929. It is possible that the collaboration between Gočár and Fňouk on the design of the Grand Hotel worked on the same plan. If we compare Gočár’s design and Fňouk’s detailed design of the interior layout, they differ only in minor details.
Gočár planned modifications in the operation of the former District House designed by Jan Kotěra, where a new office was to be built, and in the extension in the courtyard, which created a sufficiently spacious hotel lobby behind the entrance from today’s ČSA Street. In Fňouk’s final design, this idea is repeated (although it did not probably include roof lighting at the end of the hotel lobby), and Fňouk went even further, planning to transform the former smaller hotel lobby with a cloakroom in the District House building. In contrast to Gočár’s plan, he also created one smaller hotel office in the last bay of the hotel café facing ČSA Street. Next to the entrance to the café and restaurant from the main hotel lobby in ČSA Street, Gočár planned a cloakroom, while Fňouk did not think about the storage of overcoats and left the original toilets in this place. In Gočár’s design there were only two toilets on the ground floor: in the District House and in the palm garden; in Fňouk’s design there were three: one more just off the main hotel lobby in the corner hotel. The layout of the first floor differed, especially in the corner part: Gočár planned one large apartment containing three rooms and a bathroom with a bath, which occupied the corner and continued into today’s ČSA Street. One more luxurious room with its own bathroom with a bathtub faced Palackého Street. While Fňouk designed a four-room apartment with a bathroom, there was another large apartment on the floor of the former Palm Garden, which could probably be divided into smaller units if necessary. In the wing facing Palackého Street, Gočár proposed a large billiard hall on
the first floor, while Fňouk made maximum use of the space for accommodation. Gočár’s design of the area of the Palm Garden and the corner building included fourteen rooms, a billiard room and two games rooms, while Fňouk proposed twenty rooms.
We can only judge from the floor plans that there is more of a parallel and continuity between Fňouk’s project and Gočár’s proposal. We do not know how Gočár imagined the exterior of the building. It is possible, however, that the concept of linking it to the Palm Garden (designed by Jan Kotěra) next door and essentially copying its concept for the entire corner building is from Gočár’s mind. Although Gočár was a very distinctive personality with his own original designs, he seems to have held Kotěra in high esteem, and if he had to design
an extension or a new structure to build on an earlier building by his teacher, he always took
a very conformist approach and tried not to shadow Kotěra’s work with his own inventiveness, however outdated Kotěra’s concept might have been. Gočár proved this in 1942 during
the competition for the completion of the Museum designed by Jan Kotěra, when he submitted the design that most faithfully imitated Kotěra’s original design of all the proposals received.
It is therefore possible that he would have shown similar respect when designing the new façade of the Grand Hotel, although in nearby Pardubice, for example, Gočár opted for a completely progressive architectural gesture in the second half of the same year, despite the fact that the Grand Hotel in Pardubice was located in the very historic center of the city.
The project was never built.
- Národní technické muzeum, Archiv architektury a stavitelství, fond Josef Gočár, č. 14, inv. č. 20060925/02
Jan Jakl, Sny a vize: Neuskutečněné projekty Josefa Gočára pro Hradec Králové, Hradec Králové 2010, s. 22