In the footsteps of Josef Gočár
Josef Gočár (1880–1945) is considered one of the most important Czech architects of the first half of the 20th century. His creative career was significantly linked with the city of Hradec Králové, where he was invited by his teacher Jan Kotěra during his studies. The trail presents Gočár’s contributions into the local urbanism, his designs and visions of the city’s development, and unrealized projects. The trail begins in the Elbe Basin (Labská kotlina) designed by Gočár in 1925–1931. His other projects include the school buildings on the Elbe embankment, symbolizing modern education which was a priority for the newly established Czechoslovak Republic. As part of the modern development of the city, Gočár designed the form of two key sites: Ulrichovo náměstí and Masarykovo náměstí Squares. He also designed the entire buildings and/or façades that became the fronts and landmarks of the two squares or were built nearby. One of the city institutions widely discussed between the wars was the new theatre that Gočár planned for today’s 5. náměstí Square. From this place, you can make a small detour to the building of today’s State District Archives, originally the Institute for the Improvement of Trades designed by Gočár in 1923. Returning back to 5. náměstí Square, you can continue along Tyrš Bridge, also designed by Gočár, to the center. Behind the bridge there were to be two late Gočár’s projects: a gallery building in Osvoboditelů náměstí Square and a museum extension designed in 1942. Below the historic city center, Gočár designed one of his first buildings, a house for Anna Fultnerová; opposite the villa, there was to be his adaptation of the Grand Hotel, which was never realized. On the way across the historic square you can visit Gočár’s revolutionary reinforced concrete staircase from 1909. Gočár’s Luther Institute was supposed to stand at the eastern end of the old town, but eventually, it was designed by Václav Rejchl Sr. Below the square hill Gočár designed a remarkable Protestant church, eventually built according to the project designed by Oldřich Liska. On the circuit below the historical center you can see the last project of Josef Gočár in the city: the District and Financial Offices from 1935, now the seat of the city office. In the Silesian Suburbs, Gočár designed two early tenement houses for František Jaroslav Černý with Art Nouveau, geometric façades, one with rich sgraffito decoration. The trail ends at Šimkovy sady Park whose modern, loose English form with an artificial lake was designed by Gočár in the early 1930s.