Two-generation house for the Ludík family

Kojetín

The semi-detached house for the Ludík family was designed and realised by the Kojetín architect Bohumír Novotný in 1938, on the representative Republic Square, which in the period between the wars was to become the pride of the town on the road between the railway station and the historical centre. In the local context it is an exceptional and, at the same time, highly original achievement. The designer made creative use of reinforced concrete structures and played a remarkable spatial game of advanced functionalism in the interiors.

For the new building, the builder found a plot of land in a location that began to take shape according to the regulatory plan of the experienced urban planner Josef Peňáz in the 1920s. A free central area with park landscaping was to be surrounded by both public buildings (of which only the Sokolovna was actually realised) and individual residential buildings reminiscent of the still popular concept of garden cities. In terms of its scale and the representative character of family housing for the upper middle class, the Ludíksʼ house conformed well to the urban vision approved by the town council in 1921.

The Ludíks moved into the finished house at the beginning of November 1938. Until then, they had lived on the premises of the school in Uhřice, where František Ludík served as the principal between 1920 and 1939, when he retired. The second half of the house was intended for his daughter Marie, who became the first wife of the architect Bohumír Novotný. We thus find ourselves in a house that the architect designed for himself.

It is a four-storey house with a raised basement and a gable roof, one of the gable walls of which adjoins the neighbouring building. A two-storey bay window rises from the façade, divided by large window openings of various shapes. Both the bay window and the massive cornice beneath the roof are supported by prominent brackets. It goes without saying that in the interiors they transition into the construction of coffered reinforced concrete ceilings. Similarly, the street façade reveals a mirrored layout with its symmetrical yet unconventional arrangement. To provide housing for two generations, the architect did not choose the usual scheme of separate flats on top of each other, but instead used a pair of units that mirrored each other. Each family used the premises separately, with only the technical rooms of the cellars and the attic with a terrace being shared.

The essentials take place on the elevated ground floor and first floor. The architect worked inventively with the space plan. With a distant memory of the halls of English villas, the “Loos Raumplan”, or even just Fuchsʼ Avion café in Brno, he inserted an unexpected spatial game into the narrow, elongated layouts of both apartments. A staircase attached to the dividing load-bearing wall leads to an arched gallery from which one can observe events in the dining room and living area with a conservatory. The apartments and individual spaces are designed with an emphasis on efficiency, but also with an unusual degree of generosity, as evidenced by the open space of the maisonette.

In the same year Bohumír Novotný built a house for the Kuchařík family (Kojetín, Chytilova, no. 1145) that followed a similar symmetrical principle. Probably together with his father Jiří, the owner of a local construction company, he also designed the remarkable studio of the local academic painter Jan Sáil in 1932 when he was still a student. However, despite displaying a considerable degree of inventiveness and commitment, the architectʼs work cannot be said to be a fully refined architectural expression. The strong motifs of his projects are weakened by compositional clumsiness. A novice architect is also certainly constricted by the ideas and limits of the local clientele. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, the whole house acts as a perfect illustration of the struggle of modern architecture for its position in a small-town environment. The degree of preservation of the house, including many authentic details, makes it a very valuable document of the culture of living on the periphery in the First Republic.

Probably during the 1940s, the gallery in the Ludíksʼ apartment was closed down by Bohumír Novotnýʼs company to reduce heating costs, while the Novotnýsʼ half remained unchanged. In 1965 the Ludík family sold the house to new owners, who made partial modifications. The current owners, who have owned the house since 2020, are planning a sensitive renovation, including, for example, the restoration of the elevated dining area in the parentsʼ left-hand apartment. The valuable things that the state conservation authorities are not interested in therefore have a chance of being saved by the hands of informed owners.

LJ+MM

 

Selected literature

Adam Stěch, Dům Františka a Františky Ludíkových, Architect+, 2020, č. 25, pp. 93–96.

 

Sources

Statement of the son of Ing. Petr Novotný (the interview on 14 May 2023 was conducted and subsequently arranged by Ing. arch. Zdeněk Modlitba)

Statement of the current owners (the interview on 4 April 2023 was conducted and subsequently arranged by Ing. arch. Zdeněk Modlitba) 

SOkA Přerov, fond Archiv obce Uhřičice, NAD 434, inv. č. 16, Zápisy pro léta do 1960; 1968–1970 (Available online: https://digi.archives.cz/da/permalink?xid=78a7f606a42f483ca073ccbc970b9e9d, retrieved 13.10.2023).

Martina Horáčková, Architektura střední Moravy, 1918–1945: Přerov, Kroměříž, Bystřice pod Hostýnem, Holešov, Kojetín (diploma thesis), Katedra teorie a dějin výtvarných umění FFUP, Olomouc 2004, pp. 174175.