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Renovated and newly opened to the public VILA VOLMAN.
Permanently represented glass accessories from Frantisek Jungvirt.
A Jewel of Czech Functionalism
Josef Volman, a factory owner and patron, who first envisioned this impressive villa in a large park above the romantic landscape of the Elbe River in Čelákovice, 20 km east of Prague in the Czech Republic. One of the most beautiful and expensive residences of the interwar period, it was designed for him in 1938-1939 by the young avant-garde architects Karel Janů and Jiří Štursa. The magnificent grounds of the villa are an excellent example of modern housing of the interwar period, incorporating the best of Czech functionalism and architecture, and the ideas of Le Corbusier, who was a great inspiration and role-model for these architects.
The leading creators of the Czech interwar avant-garde, the left-leaning Jiří Štursa (*1910 – †1995) and Karel Janů (*1910 – †1995) were already actively involved in architectural circles during their studies at the Czech Technical University. In 1931 they founded the PAS Working Architectural Group together with Jiří Voženílek. As Karel Teige’s pupils, active supporters of the scientific approach to architecture, they were also great admirers of Le Corbusier.
In the second half of the 1930’s they extended the rational scientific approach to the requirements of the human soul. In addition to the scientific, they acknowledged the psychological function of architecture, aided by Freud’s psychoanalysis and surrealism. Emotional and artistic elements gradually began to assert themselves in their designs. The Volman Villa is the culmination of this period (1938-1939) and the most famous joint realization of these architects. A monumental building that the architects did not claim as their design after the communist takeover.
Professor Jiří Štursa taught at the Faculty of Architecture from 1948, where he influenced the next generation of architectural artists and theoreticians with his long-standing influence. Together with his wife Vlasta Štursová, he created the plinth with stairs and terraces for the large Prague Stalin monument by Otakar Švec in the 1950’s. Professor Karel Janů was employed at the Faculty of Civil Engineering where he worked continuously on the concept of industrialisation of the building industry, eventually leading to his invention of the so-called apartment core.
Photos by Anna Pleslova.