Address: Bílá 1, Praha 6-Dejvice
Year: 1934; 2006 (reconstruction)
Architects: Jan Gillar
The construction of the so-called French schools in Dejvice resulted in architect Jan Gillar gaining respect from the Czech and foreign professional public and also obtaining membership in an art society called Devětsil when he was no more than 27 years old. The Institute for Teaching the French Language had these premises built, and they are still considered to be an inter-war functionalist gem. Although the project was not realized to its full original extent, it can still be surprising with its well-thought concept even today. The original design included a preschool, a primary school, and a lycée; the second stage of the construction was supposed to include a hall of residence with apartments for educators and administrators, kitchens, and study rooms. However, the hall of residence was never built. The building was designed in the manner of the “open-air” type of schools that were Holland and Germany. The primary school classrooms have their own terraces connected to them – this allowed classes to be moved outside into the fresh air, if the weather was good. There was a high emphasis on making the area that is lit by natural light as big as possible. Each building was placed in such a way so that the sunlight would not be blocked. The original heating system created another interesting part of the building. It was based partly on hot air ventilation and partly on local radiators.
The complex was fully reconstructed in 2006, and it is where Bílá Preschool and Elementary School now resides.
- The design of the window arrangement was very inventive as well – the windows on the south side were supposed to be smaller than the ones on the north side in order to regulate the amount of sunshine. However, this idea was carried out only in the primary school that was there at the time.