First prefabricated panel building in Brno

D039

In accordance with the state-proclaimed requirement for the industrialization of construction, in 1951, the Institute for Research and Standardization in Prague, led by the architect Erich Kohn, began work on an overview of standard types that defined the parameters for building structures and features. The primary construction requirements were quantity, speed and efficiency, in order to make up the shortfall in the housing stock, which had been decimated in the Second World War. With regard to the situation in Brno, Jaroslav Mlýnský noted that ‘almost every other residential building had been destroyed or damaged, which added up to 11,800 apartments in ruins and 35,000 apartments in need of repair’. At the beginning of the 1950s, numerous institutes were established that focused on the development and preparation of documentation for the construction of standardized buildings and prefabricated building components and research in the field of architecture and urban planning (e.g., the Research Institute for Construction, the Institute for Architecture and Territorial Planning etc.). After 1955, when, following developments in the Soviet Union, the Czechoslovak political leadership rejected ‘ornamental decoration in architecture’ and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia adopted a resolution on measures to industrialize and further develop the construction industry, the importance of such institutes increased.

 

After Stavoprojekt was split into specialized design institutes in 1954, the Institute for the Industrialization of Construction in Gottwaldov (formerly Zlín) was tasked with the development of prefabricated buildings, and it was here that the first prefabricated panel construction system was born, designated by the letter G. Brno’s first prefabricated panel building was built from full-wall panels to the G-type design of Bohumír Kula, with local modifications to account for the sloping terrain. This type of construction system had transverse load-bearing inner walls, onto which floors were laid in parallel with the outer longitudinal wall. The perimeter panels were non-load-bearing and formed the brace of the building.  The system had a span of 3.6 metres, while the main construction components were the 24 cm-thick outer panels, the inner supporting panels (20 cm), the partition panels (10 cm) and the stair panels. By 1958, twenty-five thousand apartments had been built with this system, after which it was replaced by the G57 construction system, which was used throughout the country.

 

This four-storey building with three sections and thirty-four apartments is situated in the attractive residential district of ​​Černá Pole, which is mostly made up of buildings from the nineteenth century and the interwar period. This Brno prototype was meant to compensate for the shortcomings of the existing G-type prefabricated buildings, which were only for east-west orientation and therefore not suitable for the design of housing estates. However, the hopes placed in this technological innovation came to nought. Of the original forty planned apartments, only thirty-four were built, and only a fragment the fourth floor materialized in the form of two residential units in the left third of the block, which was meant to address the issue of its relationship to the buildings nearby. The gradient of the terrain also required the entrances to the outer sections to be placed on the side of the building, and the norms for the number and category of apartments were not observed. The poor choice of land eventually led to the failure of the whole project – rather than a building that would become a prototype for mass housing construction, it turned out to be ‘ordinary atypical design’.

 

Due to the very limited variety of prefabricated panel components (only four types were available in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s), it was virtually impossible to achieve any variability in the configuration. The role of the architect was purely a formality in the design phase, which is confirmed by the stark appearance of this building on Fišová street, whose classicizing entrance doorways on an otherwise bare facade hark back to socialist realism. The hasty implementation of these ‘proto-experiments’ and their insipid architectural solutions perfectly reflect the prioritizing of technical and economic solutions over individual concepts and aesthetic aspects that was typical for that time.
 

 

 

Name
First prefabricated panel building in Brno

Date
1955 – 1957

Architect
Bohumír Kula

Trail
Černá Pole 1946–1989

Code
D039

Type
Apartment building

Address
Fišova 417/21, Fišova 417/25 , (Černá Pole), Brno, Sever

Public transport
Zimní stadion (TROL 25,26,38,39)

GPS
49°12'32.0"N 16°36'42.6"E

Literature
Jaroslav Dřímal, Václav Peša (eds.), Dějiny města Brna 2, Brno 1973
Josef Pechar, Československá architektura 1945-1977, Praha 1979
Vítězslav Procházka, Československá architektura pro druhé světové válce, Praha 1976
Kolektiv autorů, Pozemstav buduje: časopis zaměstnanců závodu pro moderní stavby, n. p. Brno, Praha 1976-79
Václav Havránek, K architektonické problematice montovaných staveb, Architektura ČSR XIII, 1954
Marie Tomíšková, Panelová sídliště v České republice. Vývoj a výhled do budoucna, Architektúra & urbanizmus. Časopis pre teóriu architektúry a urbanizmu / Journal of Architectural and Town-planning Theory XL, 2006
Michal Novotný, Bytová výstavba v padesátých letech, Igor Janovský – Jana Kleinová – Hynek Stříteský (edd.), Věda a technika v Československu v letech 1945–1960, Praha 2010
Lucie Zadražilová, Když se utopie stane skutečností. Panelová sídliště v Československu 1953–1989, Praha 2013
Lukáš Pecka, Brněnská sídliště a jejich urbanistická struktura (dizertační práce), Brno 2013
Josef Vurm, Minulost, přítomnost i budoucnost národního podniku Pozemní stavby, Brno, nositele řádu práce, Brno 1971
Bronislav Žáček, Montovaný dům z celostěnových panelů, Pozemstav buduje , 1955
Bronislav Žáček, Jak budeme bydlet?, Pozemstav buduje , 1955
Bronislav Žáček, Směle nastoupit cestu ke zprůmyslnění naší výroby, Pozemstav buduje , 1955
Bronislav Žáček, Výstavba z celostěnových panelů, Pozemstav buduje , 1957
Eva Novotná, Jak dál s panelákem? Experimenty v bytové výstavbě z let 1959–1961, Beton: technologie – konstrukce – sanace, 2013
Kolektiv autorů, Prototyp montovaného domu z celostěnových panelů v Brně, Pozemní stavby, 1958
Kolektiv propagace n. p. Pozemní stavby Brno, Stavíme nový svět – kronika 2. pětiletky, Brno 1960
Jaroslav Mlýnský, XIV. Léta socialistické výstavby města (1949–1965), Jaroslav Dřímal – Václav Peša, Dějiny města Brna 2, Brno 1973
Ladislava Horňáková, Osobnosti zlínské – gottwaldovské architektury, Bohumír Kula, Hynek Adamec, Prostor Zlín , Brno 2010
Michaela Jehlíková Janečková, Vývoj panelových soustav v československém stavebnictví, Beton: technologie – konstrukce – sanace, 2008


Sources
Kolektiv propagace n. p. Pozemní stavby Brno, Stavíme nový svět – kronika 2. pětiletky, Brno 1960, nepag., MZA, fond K 171, karton 55, inv. č. 559; Vurm 1971, s. 5.
Šárka Svobodová, Černá Pole, Brněnský architektonický manuál, dostupné z: http://www.bam.brno.cz/stezka/10-cerna-pole, vyhledáno 15. 10. 2014.
Rozhovor s architektem Vladimírem Matouškem uskutečněný dne 17. 6. 2014