Palác U Stýblů was built by Václav Stýblo, the descendant of a family of booksellers and publishers who lived and traded in the original buildings on the plot since the mid-19th century.
In 1927, Václav Stýblo was granted permission to demolish the current buildings and construct a commercial project on the site. Architects Ludvík Kysela and Jan Jarolím finished working on the design during the same year. Initially planned as a multipurpose building, the Palace contained offices, artist studios, flats and public facilities. Among these was the Alfa cinema, which featured an expansive proscenium; the 1250-seat hall was, at the time, the largest in Prague. The courtyard wing contained a small theatre space, originally known as the ‘Divadlo Oldřicha Nového’ and converted to theatre Semafor in the late 1950s.
The mezzanine held one of Prague’s largest cafes, Café Boulevard (later Alfa), with a capacity of nearly 1000 guests. Towards Vodičkova ulice, the palace ends in a setback, all-glass upper floor used for ateliers. The offices were situated facing the square and inside the wings, while the rear section facing the ‘Franciscan Garden’ contained residential flats. The two-storey parterre with its shopping arcade offered direct access to the garden and connected to the atrium of the ‘Palác České banky’ (now Světozor).
The palace was expropriated in 1948 and the ownership of the Palace was passed back to Václav Stýblo’s great-grandson, Ondřej Stýblo after 1989. The reconstruction of the palace was held back due to increasing financial difficulties on the part of the investor. Currently, the building is stripped down to its exposed reinforced-concrete frame and the only restored section is the elliptical arcade from Wenceslas Square to the garden.
Text by Barbora Slavíčková
1927Mixed Cultural: cinema, theatre; Residential apartment building; Commercial – shopping passage, café
1948 1948-1989: Mixed – Cultural - Cinema, Theatre; Residential Apartment Building; Commercial – shopping passage, Café
2018 Abandoned except shopping passage
1927 Václav Stýblo
2018 Ondřej Stýblo
Form of government
1927 Parlimentary Republic
1948 Socialist Federative Republic
2018 Parlimentary Republic
Spatial Planning Agency
Type of heritage and protection
2018 Conservation area, Cultural monument