Address: Gočárův okruh, Malšovická, Brněnská, Hradecká , Hradec Králové
Public transport: Heyrovského (BUS 8, 9, 16, 19, 24, TROLEJBUS 1), VŠ koleje (BUS 8), Koupaliště Flošna (BUS 11, 17, TROLEJBUS 7)
GPS: 50.202860, 15.832096
Date: 1926–1931 (P)
Architect: Josef Gočár
Investor: Město Hradec Králové
Pre-war architects imagined that the kidney-shaped formation defined by the left bank of
the Orlice River and the second circular avenue to the south of the historic city center, which is today occupied mainly by educational institutions (the campus of the university, university residence halls, the campus of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Charles University and
the Secondary School of Arts and Crafts of Musical Instruments and Furniture) should be used in a very diverse way. They were aware that it was the largest undeveloped area in close proximity to the city center and its regulation and uniform character were therefore probably of the utmost priority. However, the area was developed in stages throughout the twentieth century, and perhaps the most original is the central part of the area, built up with school buildings between the 1960s and 1980s according to the general design by
Karel Schmied Sr.
In the competition for the overall regulation of the city between 1908 and 1909, we can see different approaches. Oldřich Liska and Otakar Klumpar planned detached houses and semi-detached houses in the south-western part of the area, while the rest of the area was to be built up with blocks of tenement houses in which the principle of communal inner gardens was to be applied. Liska thought of the area as a workers’ town, which was to accommodate most of the workers employed in the local industry. The territory was to have three centers: one consisting of a civic center for workers, the second a church, and the third an unspecified public building. On the other hand, Vladimír Zákrejs, Josef Šejna and Václav Rejchl Jr. imagined that there would be a showpiece part of the city with blocks of tenement houses,
a central square and public buildings in the western part, a promenade park and a sports ground in the middle and an exhibition center, and six irregular blocks of tenement buildings in the eastern corner (on the site of today’s all-sports stadium). The unsigned competitors with the design entitled “Zion” planned to develop the area with a completely regular network of blocks of tenement houses with diagonal spaces at the intersection of the streets, similar to what Ildefons Cerdà designed for Barcelona in the 1860s.
Neither of the designs was built, so Josef Gočár took over the design of the area in the late 1920s. Between 1925 and 1931, when Gočár was working on the urban planning of Hradec Králové, his opinion on the character of the place changed only slightly. In one of the first designs, which can be dated from 1925 to 1926, Gočár planned a complex of a nursery school and town and elementary schools on the site of the former town slaughterhouse opposite the already standing tanning school on the left bank of the Orlice River. This plan was soon abandoned and the school complex moved to the area of the right bank of the Elbe River. Nevertheless, Gočár was certain that an unspecified public building should stand opposite the tanning school, perhaps also a school, which was to have the unusual layout of three tracts arranged in a semi-open triangle. Unlike all the previous architects who had designed the area before WWI, Gočár wanted to preserve at least the so-called “Pajkrova flošna” (a casemate building built in Hradec Králové as part of the city fortress and owned by Rudolf Pajkr’s company – translator’s note) and all the remains of the fortress ramparts and walls that surrounded it; the so-called “Pivovarská flošna” (another casemate building which used to be part of the city fortress and used by the local brewery) was to be demolished. Gočár planned to divide the area into three parts: the western part, the central part with
the nature park and “Pajkrova flošna,” and the eastern part.
In the western part Gočár planned a diagonal elongated square. At its southern end,
a symmetrical public building with a central elevated tract and two lower tracts was to stand; in a later version, it was to have the U-shape. Behind the building, towards the circular avenue, Gočár planned an important monument in the form of a tall slab stele or obelisk. The opposite north-western face of the central square was not to be terminated in any way in the first design. In the next version, it was to be terminated by an elongated row of tenement houses, which were spaced in the middle in a communal “dorf,” i.e. a courtyard with greenery, playgrounds, resting areas and utility facilities (carpet beating frames, etc.), as was designed by the architects of communal construction in Vienna at that time. The final design of April 1928 no longer envisaged a central “dorf” and the front of the square was to be terminated only by an elongated, unarticulated building. As evidenced by all the designs, the square was to be planted with three lawn parterres. The north-western face of the square was to be terminated by a horseshoe-shaped row of low deciduous trees in some of the previous designs. The western remaining part of the site was to be block development. The blocks were to be elongated, Gočár envisaged a common green in the middle, and the individual apartment blocks were to have planted front gardens. As several surviving axonometries show, the apartment buildings were probably to have two floors.
The central park area with “Pajkrova flošna” was far from the original idea of a promenade park as designed by Rejchl, Šejna and Zákrejs. Gočár designed an English park with an oval path around “Pajkrova flošna” and a kidney-shaped formation encircled by a path towards
the Orlice embankment. A straight path with an avenue was to run along the Orlice embankment. In the direction of the circular avenue, or between “Pajkrova flošna” and
the circular avenue, Gočár designed a rectangular playground with a training ground, probably with a running track. The final draft of April 1928 did not include such a sophisticated and differentiated park design and Gočár wanted to cancel the avenue along the Orlice River.
The area was not to be crisscrossed with such an elaborate network of loose paths and clumps of shrubs and trees, there were to be only open grassy areas and between the Orlice River and “Pajkrova flošna” there was to be only one path ending in a muddy area, perhaps serving as a playground.
The eastern part of the whole southern sector of the city was planned as residential. In
the first design, perhaps from 1925 to 1926, Gočár planned eight regular blocks of houses, of which there were to be eighty-five in total. Over time, however, he increased the residential capacity and the design was to become more complicated. He planned a rectangular square in the center of the area, and an axial street, planted with trees on both sides, was to run through the center of the area, connecting the Orlice embankment with the circular avenue. Along this street, around the central square and along today’s Hradecká Street, Gočár planned terraced housing. It is not clear whether these were to be terraced houses or apartment blocks, but it would seem from one of the axonometries that the terraced houses were to be taller than the surrounding detached houses, so they might even have been apartment blocks. This solution corresponds to the plan that Gočár introduced in his 1931 design of the Greater City of Hradec Králové and for which he was sued by Vladimír Zákrejs, the author of the original design of the Greater City.
Neither the previous designs nor Gočár’s plan were carried out. After WWII, a housing estate was to be built there according to a regulatory plan resulting from a competition held in two rounds in 1958–1959. The competition was attended by pre-war architects such as Jan Rejchl and Oldřich Liska and young architects represented by Věra Machoninová. Even this competition did not come to fruition, and from the 1960s onwards the idea of building up
he area changed from a residential, uniformly designed district to several separately and gradually designed areas: the school district, the green areas around “Pajkrova flošna” and “Pivovarská flošna” and the sports stadium in the easternmost part. Unfortunately,
the incoherence and cluelessness of the area’s solution was confirmed by the construction of the university campus, which has been underway since the 1990s.
The project never built was.
- Národní technické muzeum, Archiv architektury a stavitelství, fond Josef Gočár, č. 14, inv. č. 20100916/01, 20081118/02, 20081118/03
Zdeněk Lukeš; Pavel Panoch; Daniela Karasová; Jiří T. Kotalík, Josef Gočár, Praha 2011