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C20 Guide to the architecture of TrenÄ?ianske Teplice

ISBN 978 – 80 – 972341 – 1 – 9


↖ Trenčianska Teplá






















In many respects, Trenčianske Teplice is an extraordinary spot on the map of Slovakia. For centuries, it has been recognised for its healing thermal water springs. These were already wellknown to the Roman legions during their expeditions beyond the borders of the Roman Empire. The healing effects of the water in Trenčianske Teplice used to be popular among peasants as well as the Hungarian nobility. The rapidly changing era of the past 200 years has been reflected in the spa’s development. Various decades illustrate changes in society, its needs and cultural preferences. Through these changes, Trenčianske Teplice is an open book telling the story of the dawn of the modern man as we see it now. The 20th century (C20) left its most distinct imprint here and Trenčianske Teplice became the town where new forms and contents of the architecture called functionalism were born and tested. This guidebook is a reflection of a group of young people who had been visiting the town during the famous film festival Art Film Fest, and who, since 2011, have been actively working with the town´s  memory

Martin Zaiček and Andrea Kalinová

within the Abandoned (Re)creation project. The town´s architecture with its quality, artistic and historical value shines beyond the Slovak borders. Witnessing the poor condition of these treasures was the reason for seeking an explanation for the public’s apathy towards these historic values. This guidebook is a  result of years of research and monitoring changes and development in architecture. It aims to present an experience of local architecture to every curious visitor to Trenčianske Teplice, a town famous not only for its curative springs, but also for its architecture. This guidebook is divided into four walking routes according to chapter colour. Each part: Artúr Szalatnai, The Park, Beyond the Town and Late Modernism contains buildings which should not be left unnoticed. We hope that this guidebook helps you discover new places and new knowledge that will enrich your stay. Do not forget that spa is a  place of recreation, where time plays no role. Therefore, the pace of your tour for the monuments of the 20th century should be recreational. Give architecture some time to impress you.


IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ARTÚR SZALATNAI-SLATINSKÝ The name of Artúr SzalatnaiSlatinský is closely connected to the town of Trenčianske Teplice. He designed many small sanatoriums and other buildings of spa infrastructure in the town. Moreover, this architect of Jewish origin, Artúr comes from a village called Slatina nad Bebravou, which is situated directly behind the Machnáč hill. On account of his origin, Artúr changed his surname after his birthplace following the WWII. The portfolio of significant architecture of the first half of the 20th century includes so many buildings designed by one architect that it inevitably calls for a separate architectural tour dedicated to his work.

After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the spa town had to face unfavourable circumstances. The spa tourism development suffered due to the collapse of the economic, social and political linkages to the demised monarchy and its Hungarian centre of Budapest, which used to greatly generate the clientele to the flourishing spa during the first decade of the 20th century. After a period of stagnation, the ownership passed to a newlyformed Czechoslovak joint-stock company. Jan Topinka became the spa´s director in 1930. As can be seen today, his management was associated with the most significant period of the spa Trenčianske Teplice throughout its history. Followed by significant personalities, he revived the spirit of the spa,; which is still visible – he initiated constructions of new buildings designed in the modern spirit of functionalism. The director´s ambition was to transform the quaint spa town into a modern centre of balneology and recreation. Artúr Szalatnai-Slatinský was one of the architects who started to fulfil the ideas of this transformation. Working in Bratislava, he had already carried out several outstanding projects like the Orthodox synagogue in Heydukova street (1926), a block of flats in Mickiewiczova street (1926-27) and many detached houses. Artúr entered the architecture of Trenčianske Teplice with the building of sanatorium Esculap, namely its adaptation from its original form. Even though this building cannot be labelled as functionalist yet, it performs the contemporary tendency to envisage a new form, where simplicity and utilitarianism say the final farewell to ornamentality and decorativeness. This so-called utilitarian architecture is an evolution pre-stage to functionalism. Trenčianske Teplice is hence a unique place hosting an overview of architecture evolution, telling the story from historism through utilitarianism to high functionalism of international importance like the sanatorium Machnáč and the outdoor swimming pool Zelená Žaba (Green Frog). The work of Artúr SzalatnaiSlatinský might be an important initiator to pave the way for these buildings. The Sina mirror pool indisputably belongs to outstanding European architecture and also to the examples of typical functionalism. Its extraordinary purpose makes it even more fascinating.

When you are floating nude in a spring of hot water, welling from deep below, embracing your whole body and covering your skin in tiny bubbles, you easily get the feeling that the place where you are turns into the centre of your own universe. SINA is exactly this kind of place. After the old octagonal pavilion had become insufficient for the required capacity of a developing modern spa, the decision was made to entrust Artúr SzalatnaiSlatinský with the design of a new pavilion in 1929. The building he designed unites the spirituality and sensuality of the place where it is situated. Positioning SINA close to the romantic Hammam from 1888 required a specific attitude. As a convinced modernist with the motto ‘form follows function’, Artúr Szalatnai-Slatinský created an architecture, whose meaning resides inside, not outside. Today, the architecture of Hammam harmonizes in respectful contrast with SINA´s pure pragmatism of the full brick facade and the rectangular window divided into 12 parts. The original pure wall tiling of bluish glazed rectangular tiles communicated with the blue Hammam´s interior. The walls still rise from the azure lagoon of the spring to the flue high above the spring level. The glass blocks of the 12-part window refracted the light which illuminated the opposite wall, originally a space separated into the ladies and gentlemen entrance by a pair of decreasing stair-like partitions facing each other. In the 1970´s, this geometric mass was replaced by a ceramic mosaic and the blue tiles by new yellowish ones. Currently, after 85 years of its existence, SINA has undergone another reconstruction, which changed the interior colour again. Today´s pure white interior, contrasting with


Artúr Szalatnai­

‑Slatinský 1929

the mirror pool blue, partly materializes the vision of the modernists in the 1920´s, who desired purity as a tool for healing and enlightening people´s environment. Unfortunately, the rigid sterility in this specific case unintentionally suppresses the subtle tension and connection between the body and the spirit, which occurs when entering the hot water. SINA inevitably belongs to the most significant examples of modernism in Trenčianske Teplice. In spite of multiple reconstructions, the spatial principles designed by the original architect were respected. As a result, visitors still have a chance to experience moments of relaxation in the functionalist bath, which used to draw attention from beyond the borders of Czechoslovakia at the time of its construction.

* Adolf Loos, Ornament and Crime (“http://en.wikipedia.org / wiki / Ornament_and_Crime”Ornament and Crime)

Standing at one end of the spa park, near the road to Omšenie, the Esplanade sanatorium was built to make up for the missing modern spa accommodation capacities in the 1930´s. Despite its functionalist character, it lacks the avant-garde shape of the nearby and more famous Machnáč sanatorium. Artúr Szalatnai – Slatinský uses the new language of modernism to react to the existing area of older spa villas in the promenade along the Teplička stream. Esplanade is symbolically turned back, nevertheless perceived as a part of the historic composition when looked at from the park. The sanatorium stands on the ground plan of a classicist palace with two avant-corps vividly standing out on both sides, lowered to allow for roof terraces. The entrance is placed at the end of a terraced staircase, which is located in the central axis of the house. The banisters and the terrace surface is made of Spiš travertine, the key material of Slovak functionalist architecture. Rooms on the second and third floors are sunlit by French windows, which were disregarded as an alternative to ribbon windows during the period of discussions about a new form of modernist architecture. Using the French windows also indicates the use of a traditional construction technology without ferro-concrete skeleton. However, there is a typically modernist feature – roof terraces with pergolas, providing the possibility of solar therapy and undisturbed relaxation with a view of the tree tops in the spa park. The sanatorium Esplanade house is an originally preserved historic landmark and is still in use.


Artúr Szalatnai­

‑Slatinský 1933 – 34

A small architecture in front of the frontage of the historic Spa Hall. A subtle concrete disc supported by thin concrete pillars on an elevated platform. This small building is a music pavilion and material heritage from the times when entertainment and live music were an inseparable part of spa life. In the early 1930´s, the pavilion was built by the architect, who designed several abovementioned buildings in the town during this period. The architect Szalatnai-Slatinský used an exclusively functionalist language, minimizing all features of the building. Despite its subtlety, the modest pavilion appears noble in the area of Spa Hall. Inspired by its efficiency and elegance, an identical pavilion was built later in the town park in Žilina. The building still stands in its original shape and place, the only thing it lacks is music and a joyful crowd of spa guests sitting in front of it.

S4 / P3 MUSIC PAVILION Artúr Szalatnai‑Slatinský 1931

The inconspicuous small sanatorium Esculap was built at the turn of the 1920´s and 1930´s. The original sa­natorium was named Aeskulap after the ancient Greek god of medicine Asclepius, son of god Apollo. Beside its name, the humanistic ideal was also projected into the new sanatorium. The building initially stood at the end of the street, which was lined on both sides by lower buildings of spa infrastructure, a manor-house and the post office, both historic buildings in a classicist style. The new sanatorium with its protruding portico was a symbolically remote conformation of a classical antique temple in antis. Nowadays, this modest temple of new architecture in Trenčianske Teplice stands in the background. However, it is a valuable monument, an initial milestone of the birth of modern architecture in this spa town. The building cannot be described as solely functiona­list, yet it represents the so-called substantive architecture, which was understood as an essential transition bridge between the past tradition and the future vision, especially in the region of Slovakia. The pure white facade, flat roof and clearly composed frontage with a balcony and originally three axes of windows, were the initiators of the new development, led by Artúr Szalatnai-Slatinský as the key creator.


Artúr Szalatnai‑­­­­­­Slatinský around 1930


THE PARK A spa park is an inherent part of each spa. A typically English style of garden used to add value to the balneological services of the spa. The large park in Trenčianske Teplice is seemingly a continuation of the forest from the side of Grófovec hill and also from the side of Klepáč hill. The park is a sophisticated example of the 19th century romanticism’s aspiration to include nature in p ​ eople´s lives. The 18-hectare park spreads at the bottom of the Teplička stream valley. It is bordered by the lake at Baračka in the east and by the edge of the central town zone in the west. This part of the town is rich in modernist architecture

monuments, despite the historic character of the area dominated by ostentatious buildings from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, for instance the former sanatorium Lipa, Salvator, Hubertus, residential villas Venezia and, of course, the Spa Hall building. The functionalist buildings, which are significantly different in form, like Villa Ria, music pavilions and the church, are part of a group of architectures in the park reigned by one of the greatest monuments of Slovak architectures ever: Sanatorium Machnáč. Enjoy the calm and recreational atmosphere of the spa park. Pamper yourself with a few stops of the Park trail and allow enough time and space for yourself to explore the details of modern architecture.

In spite of its modesty, Villa Ria represents one of the best examples of modern architecture in Trenčianske Teplice. The original owners must have been attracted to the development of the spa and bustling social life in the Spa Park and Spa Hall´s surroundings, when they decided to build a house with temporary lucrative accommodation here. The author of the building is still unknown, but an enthusiastic research will by all means bring the answer to the question in the future. The details and features of the house´s architecture obviously correspond with the modernist tradition represented by the Vienna architect Adolf Loos. The seemingly symmetrical composition, with a projected central part including a loggia on the first floor, is gently disrupted by the sunken entrance on the right-hand side. After walking up a few stairs, the visitor feels invited to rest on a built-in terrace sedile. The sunken entrance is counterbalanced by an offset window on the left, which is the only opening on the front facade that has no balcony. The window panels are particularly noticeable – their robustness and rigid triple segmentation is softened by the lyric colour of a green and white sash. The delicate shape of the facade´s material and details is visible mainly by the play of sunlight and shadow during sunny days. Having original windows, fence, and a maintained garden, the house is preserved in its original condition, which contributes to the unified nature of its architecture.

P1 VILLA RIA author unknown builder Josef Lešák around 1930

The outdoor swimming pool Zelená Žaba is not the only building in Trenčianske Teplice designed by the architect Bohuslav Fuchs, who comes from Brno. The Spa Hall, originally built in Moor style during the second half of the 19th century, is adding a touch of oriental romanticism to the end of spa promenade. As the Spa Hall had been gradually losing its meaning in 1930´s, it was necessary to adapt its construction to new forms of entertainment and social relaxation. The building of the Hall had been struck by destructive fire in the past. The new construction by Bohuslav Fuchs was supposed to replace the old building step by step and become a new representative centre of the spa life. Nowadays, only a small torso has been retained from the previously planned great concepts. When looked at from the entrance – composition axis, the new building seems quite moderate, despite its characteristic features: round windows and peculiarly rounded ledge. Nevertheless, it harmonizes with the original Hall. The really striking view appears from the former sanatorium Lipa, from where the left frontage shows its typically modernist modelling. A new dimension is added to the social importance of the building by an offset part with vertical column segmentation. The main purpose of the building is to accommodate the cinema Prameň and exhibition space, located on the first floor of the frontal part. Porches were a natural continuation to the gallery area. The cinema entrance is accompanied by the jewel of the building – a pseudo-strip window of showcases, which might have informed spa guests about the film offer. Finally, the back facade facing the spa park is interesting, as well. It is dominated by a pair of round windows in the ‘ship’ aesthetics style, a pure form, which made every building modern and lyric in the 1930’s. The corner window on the third floor and the pedestrian triumphal arc create a balanced composition. Still, a visitor has an opportunity to enjoy the film projection offer and become acquainted with the interior, which serves its original intent despite the changes.

P2 SPA HALL Bohuslav Fuchs 1935


SMALL HYDRO It might seem irrelevant to include the secesPOWER STATION sion building of a small hydro power station in author unknown, this catalogue of functionalist architecture in 1909 Trenčianske Teplice. Admittedly, neither the form National Historic nor the rendering of the building belong to the Landmark category of modernist architecture. However, its function makes it a part of local architecture development. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Teplice was a popular destination to the Hungarian middle-class from big cities. Regardless of the size of the spa town, services at city-level standards have always been required by spa guests. It was therefore necessary to build a street light system. The small hydro power station in the spa park served to produce energy for the town lighting. The raceway, leading from the Baračka stream, supposedly got clogged soon and the power station stopped working. Subsequently, its construction served mainly as a cultural facility – a park pavilion. The architecture of the power station is no less interesting. Although it is a secession building, its ornamentality is minimal. Moreover, the windows illuminating the turbine hall are glazed by an outstandingly shaped geometric glass, which resembles cubist architecture. The frontage is ruled by four columns, which line the edges of a trapezial avant-corps. The columns are crowned by pseudoegyptian lotus heads and small embedded sea shells, which also decorate the horizontal cornice frieze. The water elements were not used accidentally, as they directly correspond with the building´s function. In addition, a built-in fountain – a symbolic mouth of the viaduct – was part of the frontage. The building is currently abandoned. After 100 years of existence it does not even serve its alternative cultural purpose. Yet, together with the evangelical church and sanatorium Machnáč, the hydro power station remains a valuable part of the architectural composition of the park.

A little church stands modestly at the end of the park. Its position between the sanatorium Machnáč and the small hydro power station indicates a story in the background. Most likely, the building grew in parallel with the neighbouring sanatorium. The classicist composition of the little chapel and its tower lining the entrance axis is not an avant-garde form. However, its pure white facade, narrow vertical windows, and circular columns, which support an avant-corps with a strip window forming the chapel´s narthex, explicitly refer to the contemporary functionalist tendency. The chapel served to the evangelical community. The architect remains unknown, some sources refer to a local builder Adamec as the author, but the building´s form suggests the author might come from across the Moravia River. Accompanying the dominant sanatorium Machnáč, the still functional little church creates an extraordinary architectural composition of the small buildings at the end of the park.

P5 EVANGELICAL CHURCH author unknown builder Gustáv Dohnanyi 1931 National Historic Landmark

There are not many buildings in Slovakia, which can be admired for representing the principles and philosophy of functionalist architecture. In the 1930´s, the sanatorium Machnáč was built for and named after ‘Pojišťovna soukromých úředníků’ (insurance company for private clerks) in Prague. After winning a tender of architectural design in 1929, the author Jaromír Krejcar was assigned with task. The architect´s initial intention was not a patch on the progressive building we can be amazed by nowadays. Its location at the end of the park and its not ideal cardinal orientation were the reason to deflect from the initial vision of a three-wing monoblock facing the park with its longer side. The new design shaped a more extensive irregular T – ground plan. The T´s vertical base included the day part: kitchen in the basement, restaurant on the ground floor, café and reading room on the first floor and sunny terrace on the roof. The T´s horizontal roof became the accommodation part, with rooms overlooking the park and accessible from a spacious corridor lighted through strip windows. The building offers a unified example of principles of moder­­nist architecture defined by Le Corbusier, a world-famous architect: ribbon windows, roof terraces, ferro-concrete skeleton freeing the spatial layout, and large-area glazing. The room balconies on the east frontage form an iconic composition. A balcony and window are not only functional, but also a typical feature of architecture and also a place, which takes each visitor´s eye on a tour to the endless nooks of the park. Machnáč is not a mere building, it is a manifesto of Jaromír Krejcar´s architecture. His →→

P6 SANATORIUM MACHNÁČ Jaromír Krejcar tender 1929 realization 1932 National Historic Landmark

political conviction got transformed into the form of the house. A ramp enables every visitor to access the day area for entertainment and boarding stimulates social interaction. Small rooms open to the endless outside space are large enough for physical regeneration and relaxation. And finally, sunny terraces covering the whole roof, providing solar therapy to nude visitors, are free from the social norms of the surroun­ ding world. The entire house carries signs of the aesthetics of cruise ships and steamers. Machnáč is a celebration of technical and social development, a substantiation of the author´s humanistic vision. Machnáč used to be one of the most expensive buildings in Czechoslovakia. Even at present, the high standard of technical equipment and materials can still be observed. Sliding and folding windows, made by the Bratislava Company Kraus, were designed to instantly turn each room into a spacious loggia. The modernity of the house was highlighted by its colours, which are now hidden under layers of a newer paint. Originally, the house used to shine with bright colours. Blue window frames and the railings painted red contrasted with the white facade. The interior accentuated with modern rubber floors, minimal chrome furniture and bright yellow radiators. Unfortunately, the brass staircase handrails have already disappeared. Another evidence of the building´s architectural value is the fact that the house was included in the very first list of monuments in Czechoslovakia in 1969, nearly 37 years after its opening. Sanatorium Machnáč became a National historic monument of Slovakia in 1996. Sadly, it was closed 5 years later. At the moment, it is abandoned and decaying in spite of its priceless architectural and historic value. It is →

unprotected from weather conditions and, what is even worse, from people, who depreciate its original equipment. Its potentially insensitive and violent reconstruction also carries a risk of an irretrievable loss of original and its historic value, which reaches beyond the borders of Slovakia. The author Jaromír Krejcar had a similar destiny. The young and famous architect full of enthusiasm and admiration, was forgotten at the end of his short life. His next significant work, the Czechoslovak pavilion, was awarded gold medal for architecture at the World Exposition in Paris in 1937. Just across the river Seine, new tendencies of Soviet socialistic realism and Speer´s monumentality of the Third German Empire contrasted with the modern Krejcar´s architecture of steel and glass. Krejcar, as a leftist intellectual, was disfavoured during the war and he was forced to emigrate to London, where he worked at a prestigious school of architecture AA for a short period. Later, he moved to Israel, where he contributed to the development of a new state. He died at the age of 54. Recently, his name has been rediscovered by professional public and his work is worshipped as an example of European functionalism. Sanatorium Machnáč is an outstanding piece of Krejcar’s work and it is one of the most valuable architectural buildings of the 20th century in Europe.


BEYOND THE TOWN The red trail in the guide book about the architecture in Trenčianske Teplice links significant buildings of the first half of the 20th century, which are located outside the usual trails prepared for the spa visitors. Being the longest of all the other trails, the red trail comprises of a lot of the interesting, known and unknown. The trail starts at the Slovak Teacher´s Choir House. It is quite symbolic that the trail is unlocked by a building, whose architect Milan Michal Harminc stands on the frontier between historic and modern attitude to architecture. The trail continues down the main road towards the Teplička stream, where it meets the tram railway, which brought

modern spirit into the spa more than 100 years ago. The hospital, tram station, small and big buildings on the street parallel to the main spa promenade, are the undiscovered architecture of Trenčianske Teplice to many visitors. The name Beyond the Town was chosen exactly for that reason, to symbolize for the objects discovered beyond those usually seen. This trail finishes at a place that is legendary for the 20th century architecture in Slovakia. The outdoor swimming pool Zelená žaba is a must-see for every admirer of quality architecture, but also for many of those, who experienced unforgettable moments here. The swimming pool is currently under reconstruction, which it has awaited abandoned for more than a decade. Only the following years will show if this historic step helped Zelená žaba, or it distressed it forever.

At the time of its birth, the Teachers´ Choir House stood solitary in a field at the town periphery. Its architect Harminc composed a multi-floor object, because of the narrow building plot at the foot of the Klepáč hill and the high capacity requirements at the same time. It is the only building in Trenčianske Teplice projected by Harminc. Teachers´ Choir House is also one of a few constructions, which Harminc created in a more-or-less pure spirit of modernism. The main feature of the frontage is a portal with an entrance staircase and an overhanging marquee. On the ground and first floors, there are day areas of the canteen and the choir´s clubroom. The higher floors host accommodation units of various standard, which reflects in the irregular segmentation of the house´s mass. The house was built and it still serves the needs of the choir – recreation and training sessions of its members. A sporting area and a garden in the acclivity of the Klepáč hill are an interesting part of the building. The slope is connected with the house by a footbridge over the service courtyard, which might have been built later together with the boiler room. The terraced garden, reinforced by rough tooled stone blocks, and the tall greenery create a contemporary atmosphere. The path across the garden leads to an abandoned swimming pool with a nice view of the town valley.

Z1 SLOVAK TEACHERS´ CHOIR HOUSE Milan Michal Harminc project 1930 realization 1931-1933

The group of architects around expe­ rienced Gustav Kulhavý designed one of the first functionalist buildings in town in 1928. The time, when architectural mo­dernism was rather rare in Trenčianske Teplice. The original sanatorium provided spa treatment to the insured employees of Czechoslovak railways in 75 twin rooms. The building was transformed into a regional hospital in the 1940´s, like many other similar facility buildings of health insurance companies. A commemorative plaque on the facade of the building informs that a clinical rheumatology centre was established here in 1942. Nowadays, the building is decaying and awaiting its further purpose. Despite its functionalist features, the original building is rather a variation of the contemporary architectural development. It is noticeable that the authors were studying and working at the times of final stages of historism tendencies, so you can observe rhythmical windows, details on cornices and windowsills, sensitive ornamental usage of bricks on the facade. Nevertheless, there is also a characteristic feature of functionalism: rooftop terraces. There used to be a large roof terrace above the restaurant in the street-side wing before the reconstruction, which served the hospital´s purposes. After the extension with new floors, the building lost its architectural tenderness and balance. From the street-side view, there is an attractive composition of a corner curved inwards with an entrance into the shops on the ground floor, which is crowned by a high towering bunting.

Z3 SANATORIUM OF HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY OF THE STATE RAILWAY authors: Gustav Kulhavý, J. Tkalců, M. Fikr project 1928 realization 1930

Vysoké Tatry and Korytnica. There are not many spa destinations as popular as those that have their own railway with a direct route. Trenčianske Teplice joined the company in 1909, when a unique narrowgauge railway was built nearby the main railway in Trenčianska Teplá, which led directly into the centre of the spa town. In 1941, according to the project of Emanuel Adamec in 1939, a new terminal building of the station celebrated its grand opening. There is a similar building in the nearby town of Trenčín and it has similar features, like for example a brown glazed tiling on the facade. Despite its size, the tram station is a magnificent building. The tram used to finish its short line at the main roofed platform. A marquee resides on a series of columns and it folds into an elegant curve. At the opposite side of the platform, it mouths directly into the main waiting lounge – an open space hall illuminated by skylights glazed with glass blocks. Italian racionalism was obviously the main inspiration here. The station´s bright, nearly white walls used to contrast with the ebony tone of the glazed ceramic tiling. From the town´s side, the building attracts with a two-floor cubic mass of the background with the stationmaster´s flat, which has an elegantly shaped marquee above the entrance in the north. A staircase leading to the stationmaster´s flat is situated in a narrow vertical content, and it dominates the eastern facade with ceramic tiling, a tall one-piece window and a bunting. Since 2011, the station has been closed due to the line´s decommissioning. At present, it is waiting for its further purpose.

Z4 TRAM RAILWAY STATION Emanuel Adamec project 1939 realization 1939-1941 National Historic Landmark


SANATORIUM The post office building was designed in 1931 by SANSOUSSI / Jaques Oblatt, an architect of Jewish origin, who LUXOR / was not well-known in Slovakia, working mostly in POST OFFICE Vienna between 1919 and 1945. His work at the beginJaques Oblatt ning of the century was marked by Art Nouveau and 1935-36 eclecticism, his attitude reversed towards modernism National only after 1930. His realizations in Slovakia include Historic also the synagogue in Levice. In Vienna, he creLandmark ated the post-art-nouveau villa, currently the seat of Norwegian embassy, and also a villa in Hohe Warte. Although the post office in Trenčianske Teplice has had several names and it has also undergone a partial change of its function, it is still a well-preserved representative of the functionalist architecture style of the 1930´s. At present, the building is known as the post office. It has changed its names and has undergone a partial change in function since it was originally built in 1935. However, the post office is now a well-preserved example of a functionalist architecture style of the 1930´s. Based on an order from dr. Béla Pap, the sanatorium Sansoussi was originally established in mid-1930´s. Right in the first year of its operation, it hosted a very important state visitor – President Edvard Beneš, who visited the spa in September 1936. Later on, it was named Luxor, and it temporarily substituted for the hotel services of the demolished Grandhotel, which used to stand at the location of today´s sanatorium Krym. Lounges and a hotel café have been replaced by the post office. The house´s main feature is a seemingly historic form of three expressive vertical pylons above the entrance intersecting three rows of balconies, which used to be decorated by bunting. The house forms part of the composition of small street architecture on the bank of the stream Teplička. Its white facade and layout is eye-catching from distance. Unfortunately, the original roof terraces with wooden pergolas are being unused today. The house has a significant functionalist figure – a semi-circular hall ending with a staircase, which now connects the two floors of the post office.


OUTDOOR As a personal creation of Bohuslav Fuchs, SWIMMING POOL one of the most beautiful European summer ZELENÁ ŽABA outdoor swimming pools is situated in the Bohuslav Fuchs 1937 forest above the town. Its location in the heart tender / project 1935 of nature, the reef of the old quarry and the National Historic wavy contour of the forest clearing, make it Landmark a unique place. In 1935, the spa´s director Jan Topinka initiated an architect tender for a new outdoor swimming pool to replace the old declining lido at the Baračka Lake. Bohuslav Fuchs came up with the idea, not to locate the new recreation facility in the valley but on the contrary, above the town, onto the southern sunny slopes of the Grófovec hill. As it often happens with simlarly unique concepts, the author as the only competitor, stepped out of the line and fought, in a lone conviction, for the non-traditional location in the old quarry, close to the mountain spring Zelená Žaba. The author of the unconventional solution gained an enthusiastic partner in the director Topinka. The building was approved. The freedom of design gave life to a unique building. It is probably one of the first creations of Fuchs, a famous and successful Brno architect, which starts using curves to inconspicuo­usly leave the stern geometric orthogonal functionalism and tends to be more lyrical. The main groundplan curve determines the character of the whole building. Two floors of changing rooms line the contour on the forest boundary in a fine curve. It is not the landscape that adapts to the building, but the building succumbs to nature. In the first years of operation, the green of forest background was brightened by a modernist range of blue, red and yellow. Zelená Žaba (Green Frog) did not use to be originally green. Its facades were repainted →

green later. The concrete pool was placed into an elevated platform set in the central part of the quarry. The swimming pool was one of the first in Europe to use night lighting. There was an underground passage built for the maintenance of the lights system. Zelená Žaba is a far cry from the city swimming pool typology. Its function was not to provide recreation to working people, but to offer pleasure and experience of bathing and entertainment in nature. This is why it involves a background building, where the visitors could enjoy the services of a ta­vern, café and restaurant on top floor during the entire operation of the swimming pool between 1937 and 2011. The function of the catering services buildings might have been of an equivalent importance as the swimming pool´s function. The pull-out glass walls of the restaurant enabled opening the whole interior into the vast distances and views of the Teplička valley. The architecture provided recreation for both body and soul. The building site was visited by President Edvard Beneš in 1936. After the opening, Zelená Žaba was a popular destination for long decades and it belonged to the most wellknown summer outdoor swimming pools in Slovakia. Moreover, the spirit of nostalgia and wonderful experiences of youth outweighed the fact that the architecture of the place belongs to the most valuable of central Europe of the 20th century. The swimming pool was reconstructed in 2014 and 2015. The original building has not been restored as a historic monument and instead, it has surrendered to the contemporary trend of adaptation to modern tourism. We can only hope that the loss of the precious original gives Zelená Žaba its second life, at least as happy and successful as the first one.


LATE MODERNISM The short trail of Late Modernism leads you to discover long forgotten visions, which were supposed to change the face of Trenčianske Teplice. After the nationalization of big companies and beginning of communist government, spas had gradually altered their purpose of treatment. All spa locations in Czechoslovakia were affected by this trend. The 1950´s accentuated luxury and bourgeois comfort for the working class, but soon afterwards, senior civil servants reali­zed the potential to use the balneological treasure as a source of foreign income.

In the 1960´s, at the time of political and ideological ease connected with reforms, spas made a comeback. In late 1960´s, due to the lack of accommodation capacities, an architectonical tender was announced in order to create a new urban layout of the town. The vision of change was based on a completely new arrangement of the place of the original settlement between the manor house and the church, which is now known as spa square. Today´s big sanatoriums Krym, Jalta (Slovakia) and the oldest Pax, were supposed to include complete accommodation, cultural and balneological infrastructure. Despite the utopian intention, fragments of these projects can be observed. While the Jalta and the Krym were completed according to the tender´s intentions, the other side of the street stands seemingly untouched. Behind the small park at the manor house, there is a background facility intended for spa employees – a canteen. It has lost its histo­ ric value by an insensitive reconstruction. The building was supposed to complement a complex of new sanatoriums set in a gently increasing slope with terraced floors. The social infrastructure was expected to be complemented by a new cultural centre with several lounges and congress facilities, located next to the shopping centre. Considering this unified urban plan setting, two big sanatoriums exist nowadays, which are a valuable example of the Slovak architecture of the second half of the 20th century´s late modernism. Despite their size, they are an inseparable part of town centre.

At first sight, today´s hotel Slovakia makes the impression of a smaller sister of the neighbouring sanatorium Krym. Similarly, the facade is horizontally sectioned by a transversal parapet. However, here it surrounds the building from all four sides. The square ground plan with service area in the middle opened a possibility to direct all rooms for 180 guests to all four sides. The four floors of the accommodation part slope pyramidally, similarly as in the Krym, but in the opposite direction, which creates an interesting composition of a dialogue between the two buildings. Today´s Slovakia used to be called the Jalta, which indicates another connection with the neighbouring Krym. They both started to form in the late 1960´s, but the Jalta was passed into service later, probably due to the absence of medical and balneotherapeutical part, which is essential for running a spa. The architect Fašang used an unconventional technique of prefabricated skeleton elements, jutting onto the facade as consoles bearing the circumferential loggia. The concrete parapets and the industrial appearance of the prefabricated construction is softened by the ground-floor platform of the day part of the hotel, which is tiled with white limestone. A spacious summer terrace opens the hotel into the area of the square and spa promenade.

M1 SPA HOTEL JALTA / SLOVAKIA Vladimír Fašang project 1969 realization 1979

The sanatorium Krym now partly stands at the location of the former hotel Grand. With its secession style, Hotel Grand had contributed to the romantic atmosphere of the spa centre for decades. However, due to its low capacity and unsuitable statics, it had not met the requirements of modern spa care anymore. In the late 1960´s, a decision was made to build a modern facility to increase the capacity and quality of care services provided. The project institute Zdravoprojekt was dealing with many assignments in the whole country, where most spas were confronted with the same problem. It resulted in a professional architectural and medical discussion about the form of modern balneology. The sanatorium Krym was supposed to offer not only accommodation, but also balneotherapeutic services. It includes the pool Krym filled up directly from the springs, and thus it expands the overextended nearby mirror pools. Employed by the Zdravoprojekt institute, architect Milan Šavlík, designed a truly impressive building, which carries the aesthetics of ocean steamers. It is thus an evolutionary descendant of the first-republic steamer Sanatorium Machnáč ancho­ring nearby. The cruise-ship tectonics is created by Krym´s horizontal stripes of slightly receding windowsills tiled with white limestone and its pyramidally sloping ‘bow’. The image is shaped by guests, who like to sit on sunny terraces in summer. This concept used to be supported by an entry ramp (unfortunately not existing any more), leading to the first floor with the day part´s canteens. The ramp, symbolizing the public accessibility and formally resembling a harbour mooring, had to succumb to the pragmatic argument of ineffectiveness. The ground and first floor glass walls facing the square carry the mass of the

M2 SANATORIUM KRYM Milan Šavlík project 1969-73 realization 1975

accommodation part upwards, which makes it look elegantly lighter. The protruding bracket on the first deck of the accommodation part protects the parterre from rain, and thus creates a kind of spa colonnade. Although possessing its architectural and functional qualities, the house struggles for favour of public and visitors. Its modern and timeless character does not seem to match up with the image of a romantic spa. The Krym underwent an extensive reconstruction in 2015. Its noble facade of stone cladding was replaced with plaster. This unaccountable decision has fatally eliminated the expressive qualities of the building, which used to belong to 100 best architecture realizations of the 20th century in Slovakia, according to the DOCOMOMO list

The Pramenný dvor is a sanatorium, formerly an accommodation facility, sealing the dead end of Ľudovít Štúr street. A classical historic three-wing building with a central transversal corridor used to be a popular typology for sanatoriums and accommodation facilities at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Similar interior arrangement can be found in villa Viktória and Pavla located on the same street. In the 1960´s, it was necessary to build a direct entrance onto the upper floors of the sanatorium, in order to meet the needs of visitors’ comfort and to raise the quality of treatment care. In that time, a discussion was culminating about the vision of disabled facilities, which could enable a safe and roofed transfer from accommodation into the outpatients´ clinics, spa procedures and public spaces. Bridge passages started to appear, their central junction was in the nearby sanatorium Pax. Pramenný dvor was interconnected with the neighbouring Esculap by a bridge on the first floor and on the opposite side from the interior corridor closer the sanatorium Pax, there was a small, though interesting, pavilion, which still has the inscription of Pramenný dvor. This seemingly trivial building consists of a staircase and a lift, but it is formed with rounded corners, located between the original Pramenný dvor and villa Slávia, is a clear reference of first-republic functionalism of the nearby sanatorium Machnáč. This relationship broke up recently, when a sloped roof with bright red ceramic tiling was installed on the white vertical line of the modern Pramenný dvor. Its form which used to be sensitively arranged into its environment, was shamefully degraded.

M3 PRAMENNÝ DVOR (SPRING COURT) Project centre of Czechoslovak state spas and springs in Piešťany 1962-1963 realization after 1965



Artúr Szalatnai – Slatinský

Artúr Szalatnai – Slatinský





most probably Artúr Szalatnai


– Slatinský

Artúr Szalatnai – Slatinský

around 1930

around 1930


author unknown

Artúr Szalatnai – Slatinský

builder Josef Lešák


around 1930



Bohuslav Fuchs

Jaromír Krejcar


tender 1929, realization 1932 National Historic Landmark

P4_SMALL HYDRO POWER STATION author unknown, 1909 National Historic Landmark Z1_SLOVAK TEACHERS’ CHOIR HOUSE Milan Michal Harminc project 1930, realization 1931-1933

P5_EVANGELICAL CHURCH author unknown, builder Gustáv Dohnanyi, 1931 National Historic Landmark Z2_VILA NA ČERVENÝCH KOPANICIACH Eugen Kramár, Štefan Lukačovič 1943




around 1930

STATE RAILWAY Gustav Kulhavý, J. Tkalců, M. Fikr, project 1928, realization 1930

Z7 / M5_HOTEL FLORA Jozef Zelem project 1973, realization 1973-1977 Z4_TRAM RAILWAY STATION Emanuel Adamec project 1939, realization 1939-1941 National Historic Landmark


Z5_SANATORIUM SANSOUSSI / LUXOR / POST OFFICE Jaques Obiatt 1935-36 National Historic Landmark





Bohuslav Fuchs 1937

Project centre of Czechoslovak

tender / project 1935

state spas and springs in Piešťany

National Historic Landmark


M1_SPA HOTEL JALTA / SLOVAKIA Vladimír Fašang project 1969, realization 1979 M4_SPA CATERING CENTRE author unknown after 1965

M2_SANATORIUM KRYM Milan Šavlík project 1969-73, realization 1975

References: Dulla, M., Moravčíková, H. Architektúra Slovenska v 20. storočí. Bratislava: Slovart, 2002. 512s. ISBN 80-7145-684-5 Foltýn, Ladislav. Slovenská architektúra a česká avantgarda 1918-1939. Bratislava: Spolok Architektov Slovenska, 1993. 238s. ISBN 80-900483-6-6 Hanušin, Ján. Trenčianske Teplice na starých pohľadniciach. Bratislava: Dajama, 2010. 96s. ISBN 978-80-89226-87-0 Szalay, Peter., Pilný, Iva. In: Architektúra a Urbanizmus. Roč. XLIV, 2010. č. 3-4, str. 326-345 ISSN 0044 8680 Bahna, J. M.: In: Fórum architektúry. Roč. XI, 2012, č. 3, str. 14, ISSN 1336 – 0264

C20: Guide to the architecture of Trenčianske Teplice draft: Andrea Kalinová, Martin Zaiček Abandoned (re)creation text: Martin Zaiček editor: Andrea Kalinová photography: Peter Kuzmin archive photography: archive of Abandoned (re)creation design and graphic layout: Magdaléna Scheryová acknowledgement: Vlado Fiala, Filip Németh, Daniela Majzlanová english translation: Jana Valjašková, Lenka Blašková All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be distributed without the authors´ written permission. Published by Archimera, NGO Bratislava www.abandonedrecreation.com financial support: Slovak Arts Council, Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic, Tatra banka Foundation ISBN 978 – 80 – 972341 – 1 – 9


With financial support:

ISBN 978 – 80 – 972341 – 1 – 9

Profile for abandoned (re)creation

Guide to the architecture of Trenčianske Teplice  

Guide to the architecture of Trenčianske Teplice