The author of the villa in Prague’s Croatia Street, architect Kamil Roškot, carefully followed the work of his teacher, the famous architect Jan Kotěra, under whose guidance he studied at Prague’s AMU. He developed it from his own villa to standard houses for garden cities on approximately square floor plans, with a plinth of rough masonry, rough plaster on the floor and topped with a tent or hipped roof.
When Roškot finished his studies at the academy, he created a charming design for a villa in Smíchov with an Italian motif of a high corner loggia. He was then given the opportunity by his friend from the masonic lodge, the builder Strnad, who enabled him to make the first realizations, with which this original, uncompromising and generous architect definitively entered the consciousness of the Czech architectural public.
The first realization was a residential house in Čechova Street in Letná. Kotěr’s successor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Josef Gočár, himself moved into this house, whose vestibule was decorated with a sculpture by Ota Gutfreund. The second building was a villa in Croatia Street from 1924, built not far from Kotěr’s own villa. This Roškot’s villa is clearly a continuation of the Kotěr tradition. It has a clear form with a paired plinth, a plastered main side and a hipped roof finish.
The architect adapted the building well to the location
The small entrance part of the building already reveals Roškot’s own signature in understanding the place, humanizing the scale and guiding the visitor along an architectural promenade from the inconspicuous entrance gate through the stairs to the terrace to the covered, paired masonry framed lee. This highlights the entrance to the house, oriented to face the southern slope of the garden.
For Kamil Roškot, architecture has always remained a supreme part of art, connected to the tradition of Mediterranean culture, with the magic of the surprising division of materials and spaces and their contrasts.
When he managed to translate his visions from the scale of a family house for the middle class to the metropolitan scale of generous projects for Prague, he matured very quickly into one of the most outstanding personalities of our interwar architecture. He was elected chairman of the Association of Academic Architects, uniting graduates of the architecture class at the Prague Academy, but also chairman of the SVU Mánes group of architects.
His contribution to Czech interwar architecture culminated in the construction of the theater in Ústí nad Orlicí, the tombs of the Czech kings in the crypt of the Prague Cathedral, and the state pavilions at the world exhibitions in Chicago in 1933 and New York in 1939. Roškot’s work has remained relevant to this day and is still admired abroad.
Source: Publication of the famous Prague villa, Vladimír Šlapeta
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