Janáckovo divadlo - Brno, Czech Republic
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Arne1
N 49° 11.910 E 016° 36.618
33U E 617310 N 5450770
Quick Description: National Theatre in Brno - Janácek Theatre
Location: Jihomoravský kraj, Czechia
Date Posted: 6/27/2010 11:01:26 PM
Waymark Code: WM94MF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 166

Long Description:
The construction of Janácek Theatre which took place in the first half of the 1960s was the culmination of a half century of efforts at deciding upon the most suitable project for the Czech theatre scene in Brno. This project was expected to combine qualities of aesthetics, technical suitability, sufficient capacity and a ceremonial appearance. The first public architectural competition was organized in1910 by the Association of the Czech National Theatre in Brno (with a construction plot on the corner of Žerotín Square and Veverí Street). The second, so-called general round of this competition, followed in 1913 with, however, none of the designs being awarded first place in the end. The subsequent war years along with the altered political situation significantly slowed down thoughts regarding a new theatre structure. The renewal of these plans came about in the middle of the 1930s. Another two-round public architectural competition took place in 1936 and 1937 with the project of Jan Víšek emerging victorious. The actual construction, however, once again failed to come about.

The theme of a new theatre building became prominent for the third time at the beginning of the 1950s. The first round of a public, non-anonymous design competition was announced in 1956 with the overall participation of 56 architects. A change in the construction site was introduced, however, with a plot of land in the orchards in close proximity to the historical city centre being chosen as most appropriate. The shared project of Jan Víšek, Vilém Zavrel and Libuše Žácková-Polednová was awarded the highest evaluation after the first round, drawing inspiration from the pre-war studies and plans by Víšek. The original study was, however, altered and adapted in the awarded project from the year 1956, in particular in the exterior parts (suppressing the Historicizing Neo-Classical tendencies). A second, selective round of the competition followed the introductory public round. The ten best designs progressed to the next round with apart from the victorious project, designs by Jirí Cancík – Antonín Flašar – Jan Palacký, Jirí Albrecht – Karel Prager – J. Ulman, Štefan Lukacovic – Miloslav Tengler, Viktor Rudiš – Vladimír Palla as well as projects by Jaroslav Otruba, Jan Novák, Lubor Lacina, V. Beneš, Jirí Lasovský and A. Véla. The specialised jury once again awarded the first prize to the project of Víšek, Zavrel and Žácková-Polednová after the second competition round. An internal business competition of Stavoprojekt Brno followed in 1958 with the design of the collective of Jan Víšek once again emerging victorious. A new studio dedicated to all the design work was established that same year. Otakar Oplatek was named the head while the main engineer became Vilém Zavrel with Libuše Žácková-Pokorná contributing to the designs. Jan Víšek worked in the role of external expert with, however, only minimal possibilities to influence the emerging project which eventually led him to leaving the studio and withdrawing from the project. The definitive version of the project was prepared by Otakar Oplatek and Vilém Zavrel. Žácková-Pokorná cooperated with Zavrel on the designs of the theatre auditorium and the stage while the look of the public parts of the interior were designed by Ivan Ruller, and the operational parts by Boleslav Písarík. The actual construction work was begun in 1960 with the final look of the project completed in 1963. Two years later, in July 1965, the building of Janácek Theatre was finished. The ceremonial opening of the new stage took place on the 2nd of October 1965 with an opening performance of the opera, The Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janácek. The original name of the theatre was Janáckovo divadlo opery a baletu (Janácek Theatre of Opera and Ballet) with the shorter name of Janáckovo divadlo (Janácek Theatre) employed at present.

The theatre building is a free-standing structure built on the edge of Kolište park. The immediate surroundings of the theatre were thoroughly landscaped and formally unified with the actual structure, thereby achieving a stylistic unity as well as emphasising the grandeur of the structure. The space in front of the main façade was conceived in the most impressive fashion. The extensive surface is covered by a network of concrete squares whose regular rhythm is only disturbed by the central right-angled pool with a fountain (at present, non-functional) and the half-circular grassed parterre. Low granite socles demarcate the sides while artificial lighting is provided by both single-armed and double-armed lamps. A walk-through concrete terrace adjoins the structure from the north, east and also partially the south sides. This is accessible via a staircase leading from Kolište park along with a pair of stairways from Rooseveltova street.

The main façade of the theatre faces out on the west onto Moravská square. The concrete surface entrance area is connected to the actual building by two flights of stairs with a stone wall along the sides. The front side contains the décor of a statue of a Moravian eagle by Olbram Zoubek. The façades of the theatre consist of large glazed surfaces with two narrower, non-articulated axes enclosing them from the sides. A monumental portico juts out of the central part made up of eight smooth pillars bearing up simple entablatures. The glazed surface is articulated by vertically conceived metal bars, dividing the walls into long vertical fields. These are further articulated by short, horizontal bars whose placement in terms of height correspond to the location of the parterre in the interior. The façade on the ground floor parts opens up with three right-angled entrances. Five right-angled balconies are located on the first floor whose copper parapets are designed as wrought, ornamental belts according to a design by Eva Zoubková-Kmentová and Olbram Zoubek.

The side wall of the theatre facing out on Rooseveltova street (in the direction from the rear façade) is articulated on the ground floor by a fourteen window scheme, a pair of right-angled entrances to the interior of the theatre, six display windows and a group of three entrance doors to Bohéma restaurant. The remaining surface of the façade faces out on the corner and is supplied with a continuous non-articulated stone belt. The ground floor of the opposite side façade, opening out on Kolište park, is designed in the same fashion with the non-articulated corner axis followed by six right-angled entrances, a three window scheme, another three entrances and culminating in a fourteen window scheme.

The articulated upper floor parts, separated from the ground floor by a fascia, are designed in a similar fashion at both side façades. High vertical glazed fields are employed here, separated from one another by thin stone pillars. This field is further articulated by both vertical and horizontally conceived metal bars. A right-angled hanging bay whose front side is covered by blind vertical belts juts out from the façade along the width of four windows. The side is composed of rectangular, glass planches. The solid surface is punctured at the front corner by rectangular openings made up of smaller squares and rectangles as well as coloured, covered glass.

A longitudinal terrace, accessible via a staircase originating at the lower parallel platform, projects from the rear side of the theatre. A spacious, right-angled entrance tunnel, running the entire length of the northern terrace, originates under the north-east corner of the terrace. The rear façade of the structure is composed of a wide medieval bay and two non-articulated side axes. The ground floor of the bay is articulated by twelve rectangular window openings and a right-angled entrance. The ground floor contains a fascia with the seven window scheme upper floor section above it. A vertical, glazed field, whose appearance and articulation exactly correspond to the side façades, runs between the thin, metal pillars. This is only distinguished by the corner axes of the bay made up of four balconies on top of one another. The building culminates with a cubic fly loft tower towering above the eastern half of the structure, while the remaining surface is covered by a flat roof.

The monumental style employed in the exterior is also repeated in the interior parts. A major emphasis was placed, in particular, on the large-scale conceptions of the public areas. A group of three main entrances lead into a modest-sized entrance area which consequently runs into the open, grandly conceived vestibule. The grand double-flight staircase is the most impressive element here, providing access to the first floor and the foyer. High, decorative marble walls meet the staircase from the sides. The open space of the vestibule is further articulated by high cylindrical columns fastening the ground floor with the first and second floors. Movement on the part of visitors between the particular floors is ensured by the central, ceremonial staircase as well as side stairways situated in the corners of the façade. The sources of light, often altered in terms of colour, are tubes in the stairwells of square and rectangular shapes, supplemented by coloured solid glass. The authors of the artistic design are Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová.

The theatre auditorium was constructed as a sectored floor plan with a tiered amphitheatre arrangement. Cascade rhythmic rows of loges run along the side of the first tier. The second tier contains a spacious central balcony accompanied by side balcony flights arranged, once again, in a tiered rhythm. The auditorium is covered by an articulated ceiling consisting of hanging plaster panels. The light sources, of various sizes and intensities, are located on the surfaces of the panels as well as in the panel slots. The stage is distinguished from the auditorium by a huge, funnel-shaped, tapering portal with the orchestra pit situated below its lintel. The main stage space is supplemented by two side stages and one rear auxiliary stage. The structure has not as yet undergone any major reconstruction work with only minor repairs of the most necessary kind having taken place since the 1990s.

Works of art serve to create the appearance of the interior, such as, for example, a large tapestry by Alois Fišárek on the motif of The Cunning Little Vixenin the vestibule or a bust of Leoš Janácek by Miloš Axmann on the landing of the ceremonial staircase. Monumental sculptural work was also installed in close proximity to the theatre. The corner of the north-east terrace contains a sculptural group of the Mrštík brothers on a high socle, the original model of which, of a third of a size, had been created by Vincenc Makovský. The final look of the sculptural group was the work of Stanislav Hanzík in 1964 who contributed part of his own concept. A second monument, dedicated to Leoš Janácek, stands above the stairway between the park and the main façade. This bronze statue, situated on a massive granite pedestal, was created by Stanislav Hanz in 1975.

(Theatre database TACE)
Theater Name: Janáčkovo divadlo / Janáček's theater

Country: Czech Republic

Rooseveltova 7
Brno, Czech Republic

Web Site: [Web Link]

Venue: Community Theater

Type of Productions:
Oper, Balet

Restored Building: no

Date of Construction: 1965

Architect/Designer: Ivan Ruller, Boleslav Písařík,

Stage Type: Proscenium

Seating Capacity: 1110

Special Productions/Events/Festivals:
Possible usage for concerts or conferences.

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