Karel Caivas

  • Narození

    25. 7. 1897 Lanškroun
  • Úmrtí

    10. 3. 1977 Praha
  • Realizace AMOP


    Realisations in AMOP


    The New Sokolovna (together with Vladimír Chroust and Stanislav Andrlík)

    Přerov, Brabansko 566 



    Oskar Sternʼs Villa

    Teplice nad Bečvou, Zbrašov 67



    A selection of realisations in the region


    House for the Kerbr family

    Hranice, Pod Hůrkou 1065



    House for the family of Stanislav Tomanec

    Hranice, Jurikova 246



    Savings Bank (Freibergerʼs Pharmacy)

    Hranice, Pernštejnské náměstí 110



    F. Polednyʼs villa

    Teplice nad Bečvou, Zbrašov 70



    House for the Seidl family

    Hranice, Skalní 275



    A selection of other realisations


    House for a family (together with Vladimír Weiss)

    Praha, Na Kotlářce 1079/2



    House for a family (together with Vladimír Weiss)

    Praha, Lucemburská 27–30



    Grain storehouse




    Žižkov goods station (together with Miroslav Chlumecký and Vladimír Weiss)

    Praha, Jana Želivského

    1930–1935, 1940


    Repairs to the Unitarii theatre (Ta Fantastika)

    Praha, Karlova 8



    House for a family (together with Vladimír Weiss)

    Řevnice, Školní 610



    Tenement house (together with Vladimír Weiss)

    Praha, Hermelínská 6



    House for a family (together with Vladimír Weiss)

    Praha, Pod Habrovou 16



    Kolín railway station (together with Anton Jüngling and Vladimír Weiss)

    Kolín, Rorejcova 569



    Summer house

    Slapy nad Vltavou, letovisko Slapy 173



Karel Caivas, an architect and teacher, but also a literary scholar, made his mark on the history of architecture mainly as a specialist in agricultural and industrial buildings; his work also includes housing projects, among which the relatively complete Moravian complex in Teplice nad Bečvou and Hranice has long been neglected.

Born in Lanškroun in East Bohemia, he studied from 1916-1923 at the Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague; that he was already interested in the field of agricultural buildings during his studies is evident from his success in 1921, when, while still a student, he won first prize in a public competition for an exemplary type of small farmhouse. He is also mentioned as a pupil of Jan Kotěra, but he was not enrolled at the School of Architecture of the Academy of Fine Arts. From 1923 to 1937 he worked as an assistant to Professor Theodor Petřík at the College of Agricultural and Forest Engineering of the Czech Technical University and also independently as an associate in Petříkʼs office. In 1934, he obtained a Czechoslovak patent for a method of drying grain in so-called dam granaries. Together with his Prague colleague Vladimír Weiss, he frequently entered architectural competitions, e.g. a competition for model types of apartment houses with the smallest flats (1925), in which they won one first and three second prizes, or the competition for the architectural design of a part of the Czechoslovak pavilion in Paris (1935-1936).

Although in his numerous projects for agricultural buildings (more than 55 projects) he mainly pursued questions of efficiency and economy of construction and operation, each of his buildings was characterised by a high artistic standard, even in the case of such utilitarian types as grain silos (Sedlčany, Brandýs nad Labem) or goods stations (Prague-Žižkov). However, it would hardly be possible for us to look for a coherent development of architectural style in his work. While some of his many realisations in Prague, which he usually designed together with Weiss, are stylistically close to a sober, even ascetic functionalism, others – especially those outside Prague designed by Caivas himself – more often have a romantic, traditionalist, and sometimes even rural character thanks to the use of a hipped roof with a significant overhang, robust materials, etc. (the villa of F. Poledna in Teplice nad Bečvou or his summer house in Slapy nad Vltavou). He worked rather sporadically with emotive elements of fragile“white” functionalism, including “flat roofs” (the Sokolovna in Přerov or Oskar Sternʼs house in Teplice nad Bečvou). Caivas also designed a number of interiors (Pragueʼs Unitaria Theatre, the Palais des Nations in Geneva) and shops; he often worked together with the textile artist Antonín Kybal.

After the war he devoted himself fully to the problems of agricultural buildings. He continued to work at the College of Agricultural and Forest Engineering of the Czech Technical University. In 1955 he was appointed chief architect of Agroproject, and later he moved to the Research Institute of Agricultural Technology in Prague-Řepy. He summarised the findings of his long experience in the 1949 publication Construction in the Needs of the Farmer, the first of its kind. He collaborated in the creation of the Scientific Dictionary of Agriculture. However, he had published earlier, e.g. the study Grain Storage in the Light of Modern Technology (1933). On the occasion of his 80th birthday, the Czechoslovak Academy of Agriculture awarded him an honorary golden plaque for his contribution to the development of science and research in the field of agriculture and nutrition.

And finally... how are we to read the name Caivas correctly? With nice Czech pronunciation [cajvas]!


Selected literature

PV [Pavel Vlček], heslo Caivas, Karel, in: Pavel Vlček – Pavel Zahradník et al., Encyklopedie architektů, stavitelů, zedníků a kameníků v Čechách, 2. rozšířené a přepracované vydání, Praha 2023, p. 120. 

Tomáš Pospěch, Hranice, Teplice nad Bečvou a okolí. Architektura 1815–2018, Hranice 2018, p. 144.

Lukáš Beran – Jan Zikmund, PRO ZRNO: obilní skladiště a sila 1898–1989, Praha 2018.

MM [Martina Mertová], Vila Oskara L. Sterna, in: Pavel Zatloukal (ed.), Slavné vily Olomouckého kraje, Olomouc 2007, pp. 148–149. 

Rostislav Švácha, Od moderny k funkcionalismu, Praha 1995, pp. 394, 508, 510, 516, 519, 528.

Jiřina Masnerová, heslo Caivas, Karel, in: Pavla Vošahlíková et al. (eds.), Biografický slovník českých zemí, 9. sešit (C), Praha 2008, p. 372.

Karel Souček, 70 let arch. Karla Caivase, Zemědělská technika XIII/XL, 1967, č. 8, pp. 525–526. 



Industriální topografie. Průmyslová architektura a technické stavby, available online: http://www.industrialnitopografie.cz/databaze.php (retrieved 4.10.2023)

Databáze divadel, available online: https://www.theatre-architecture.eu/cs/db/?personId=1705&theatreId=345 (retrieved 18.7.2023)

Osobnosti regionů, available online: https://www.osobnostiregionu.cz/osoby/956-karel-ing-dr-caivas-1897-1977 (retrieved 18.7.2023)