The consolidation of the new republic and the drama of war – 1918–1945


The establishment of the independent republic marked a significant milestone, which not only stirred civil society and economic relations, but also initiated massive construction development. In Jihlava in the 1920s and 1930s, the new Czechoslovak state created the conditions for several important construction contracts for state institutions. Public buildings were commissioned exclusively to Czech architects, whereas in the German environment, contractors continued to choose from among German-speaking builders and architects. Such language-based separation of construction contracts was evidence of the growing national rivalry in the Jihlava region throughout the entire interwar period. At the beginning of the 1920s, there was also an effort evident in Jihlava to find a national style that would give the buildings of the new republic a clearly recognisable appearance with a certain nationalistic character. The designer of the District Legionary House (Župní legionářský dům) on the main avenue near the town railway station, Jaroslav Dufka, for example, chose typical rondocubist elements in the "national style” for this significant building, following the example of the Prague buildings designed by Josef Gočár and Pavel Janák. The social importance of the building "which will strengthen the people of the Jihlava region"was confirmed by President T. G. Masaryk when he contributed 50,000 crowns to the construction of the Legionary House (Legiodům).

The long-awaited opening of the first independent Czech school in Jihlava on Havlíčkova Street in 1925 was also welcomed by Jihlava’s residents.
In its design, the architect Jaroslav Oplt leaned towards the monumental conservative form of modernism. Gradually, in the 1920s, it was the distinctive architectural style which drew on Wagner’s modernism that was mostly applied to the state and public building contracts. This classical and at the same time purist style was used for the new Surgical Pavilion in the General Hospital complex by the architect Karel Roštík, the new Eskompt Bank (Eskomptní banka) at Palackého Street 53, and the important Masaryk Jubilee Schools (Masarykovy jubilejní školy) building on Žižkova Street by the Prague architect Alois Mezera. Population growth led to the rapid development of the suburbs, transforming them into coherent residential districts. Initially, Jihlava City Council only regulated the development of the town to a limited extent, but from the second half of the 1930s onwards, it took on this task more consistently.

In the 1930s, functionalism, produced mainly by younger architects from Brno, began to be used in Jihlava. Their designs are characterised by functionality that predetermines the form and civic appearance without compromising monumentality. An example is the post office building by Miloslav Kopřiva, which the architect located next to the main train station building in Bedřichov. A socially significant achievement was the purely functionalist Sokol House building on the corner of Tolstého and Tyršova Streets designed by Bohuslav Fuchs. In the following years, this Brno architect also worked on several other projects in Jihlava, including the development concept of the General Hospital with the construction of the Facilities Pavilion and a number of other buildings, many of which only remained on paper. Bohuslav Fuchs also succeeded in the 1937 public tender for a general regulatory plan for Jihlava, but in the end, due to the war, nothing came of it. During the 1930s, the Psychiatric Hospital complex above Brněnský Bridge developed promisingly in the form of the modern and functional pavilions designed by the Brno team of Vladimír Kožíšek and Bohumil Šel. The architect Bedřich Rozehnal, also from Brno, completed the interwar construction with his design of the functionalist Facilities Pavilion. On Palackého Street, a tenement house with the Slavia Café was built before the war by the Brno builder Antonín Pisinger, which draws on functionalist designs. The inventive modern appearance of the buildings was gradually adopted by many local designers, for example the builders Jindřich Knorr, August Třeček, and Rudolf Janko, who designed the purist mill in Bedřichov.

As for buildings from the Protectorate period, the isolated Hitler Youth Hostel was built on the eastern slope of the Heulos Forest Park, which was transformed into an elite Nazi training school in 1944. The original design by F. G. Winter from 1939 was apparently not used, and only later a new three-section building in the Nazi preferred "Heimatstil" designed by the Berlin architect Helmut Weber was erected. In 1939, Emil Leo, an architect and professor at the German University of Technology in Brno, was involved in the design of the concept of a new housing estate in the Brtnické suburb, and in the same year, he also created a design for the renovation of the Jihlava theatre on Komenského Street. In 1940, engineer Emil Leo drew a road connection between Jihlava and the motorway that was under construction at the time (now the D1 motorway) in the overview plan. The feeder road leads from the motorway in the north to Znojmo in the south, both along the outer ring road on both sides of the city and along the arterial road through the historic centre of Jihlava. Emil Leo also included traffic documentation in the new regulatory plan, where he marked out building plots in concentric circles around the centre of the town in all directions, except for the wooded parts of Heulos and Březinovy Sady. However, due to the advancing war, not much of his project came to fruition.


Audio guide

Objects on the trail