Experimental apartment buildings on Křídlovická

D151

Křídlovická street in Staré Brno was the site of an experimental development that was designed to test the potential and methods for future housing construction in Czechoslovakia. Experiment A was a five-storey building (nos. 70–76) that was meant to test the effectiveness of a traditional masonry structure. Experiment B (nos. 78, 80) was an eleven-storey free-standing block testing the method of pouring concrete in situ, which architect František Zounek had already used with a prototype building on Vinařská street. Apart from technological issues, the architects wanted to experiment with spatial configurations of flats in response to real and ideologically construed changes in the lifestyles of inhabitants, which differed significantly from the standard designs of that time. The composition and function of the unit was complemented by a civic amenity in the form of a two-storey crèche (No. 68).

 

The five-storey residential building in four sections with apartments for two to four people was built to a structural system of transverse load-bearing walls of narrow burnt-clay blocks and clay filler block inserts, which was to achieve greater variability in layout and violate the pure structural principle of transverse load-bearing walls. The construction was carried out with only traditional masonry, local materials and light mechanization, without industrially manufactured housing cores. The design was influenced by efforts to reduce the space for secondary functions, such as storage and hygiene, in favour of the strict separation of living rooms, bedrooms and children’s rooms. However, the manual brickwork of the blocks, which increased the difficulty and cost of the project, was the determining factor in the decision not to go any further with the prototype. The eleven-storey building consisting of two sections with perimeter walls of suspended cast-in-situ concrete panels was an experiment in the use of a spiral staircase placed together with the core and the kitchen inside the floor plan, as with the prototype on Vinařská street.

 

Despite the acclaim associated with the considerable promotion of the experiments on Křídlovická street, there was also some criticism. Both of the prototypes were presented to the public by means of an exhibition of the model prototype furnished apartments, and visitors had the opportunity to record their observations in a guest book. The most common criticisms related to the limited storage and secondary space of the apartments, the design of the layout − with the passage to the toilet leading through the bathroom, and inadequate sound insulation. These points were also precisely summarized by the publication by Libuše Macková, published by the Research Institute for Construction and Architecture, which analysed from a functional and technical perspective all fifteen projects of the first experimental event. The propaganda potential of the construction on Křídlovická was also exploited by an instructional film entitled Film about Experiment B, which was made by the construction enterprise Pozemní stavby and was to be ‘shown to our [Czechoslovak] workers, and even in the Soviet Union’. The film captures the creation of a cast concrete structure on site and the Minister of Construction, Oldřich Beran, at the ceremonial opening of the building. A prototype of a furnished apartment from experiment A was exhibited at Brno Exhibition Centre in the form of an actual-size model.

 

It was the home furnishings designed by the architects Mojmír Požár and Jaroslav Šmídek from the Furniture Industry Development Brno that were the user-attractive feature of both experiments. The apartments were furnished with a combination of standard sector furniture from the U series and Montisektor, and development models. The equipment included coffee tables, living room suites, cabinets, wall units, TON chairs, built-in wardrobes and storage spaces, which came in several wood veneers and colourful designs for children’s rooms. These comprehensive and stylish furnishings were accompanied by lighting fixtures and floor coverings. The furniture and fittings were acclaimed for their originality and quality, which aroused considerable interest, although it was impossible to buy them in ordinary stores. The architectural design of the free-standing block was also well received, as it resonated with ‘the Brussels style’, which became widespread after the success of the Czechoslovak pavilion at the Expo 58 Brussels World Fair.
 
 

Name
Experimental apartment buildings on Křídlovická

Date
1958 – 1961

Architects
Miroslav Dufek, Miroslav Brabec, Radko Černý, František Zounek, M. Sláma

Trail
Štýřice 1946–1989

Code
D151

Type
Apartment building

Address
Křídlovická 371, 372–375, 376, 380 / 68, 70–76, 78, 80, (Staré Brno), Brno, Střed

Public transport
Křídlovická (TRAM 8, 10; BUS 60, 61)

GPS
49°11'01.9"N 16°36'22.2"E

Literature
Jaromír Houdek, Naše experimentální stavby bytů v Brně, Pozemstav buduje, 1960
Jaromír Houdek, Naše experimentální bytové stavby, Pozemstav buduje, 1960
Jaromír Houdek, Měníme tvář Brna, Pozemstav buduje, 1960
Jaromír Houdek, Naše experimentální stavby bytů v Brně. Užijeme zkušeností ze stavby z litého betonu, Pozemstav buduje, 1960
Jaromír Houdek, Experimentálka roste, Pozemstav buduje, 1960
Blahoslav Váňa, Velký zájem o náš brněnský experiment, Pozemstav buduje, 1960
Bronislav Žáček, Na brněnském experimentu finišujeme!, Pozemstav buduje, 1960
Blahoslav Váňa, Montovatelné příčky na experimentu, Pozemstav buduje, 1960
Jaromír Houdek, Také experiment A dokončen, Pozemstav buduje, 1960
Bronislav Žáček, Experimentální výstavba bytových domů v Brně, Pozemní stavby , 1960
Karel Stroch, Pokusné stavby, prototypy, projekty a studie rozvíjející novou techniku, Architektura ČSSR , 1961
František Zounek, Pokusný dům v Brně, Československý architekt VI, Praha 1960, p. 3
Kolektiv autorů, Kuchyně z Experimentu A, Pozemstav buduje IX, 1961
Kolektiv autorů, Ministr výstavby na našem Experimentu, Pozemstav buduje IX, 1961
Kolektiv autorů, Film o našem experimentu B, Pozemstav buduje, 1961
Libuše Macková, Bydlení v experimentálních domech, Praha 1964


Sources
Fotodokumentace uložená v Archivu města Brna (fond U 5 Sbírka fotografií 1850–2011) a v Muzeu města Brna (Oddělení dějin architektury a urbanismu)
https://pamatkovykatalog.cz/experimentalni-jedenactipodlazni-bytovy-dum-13889306