U Stýblů Palace

Palác Alfa

Location

Prague, Czech Republic

50.0823606, 14.4250642

Author

Ludvík Kysela, Jan Jarolím

Architects

Built in

1927

Modified in

1948

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.

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

Function

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

Ownership

1927 Václav Stýblo

1948 State

2018 Ondřej Stýblo

Condition

1927 Good

1948

2018 Poor

Property Management

1927

1948

2018

Form of government

1927 Parlimentary Republic

1948 Socialist Federative Republic

2018 Parlimentary Republic

Spatial Planning Agency

1927

1948

2018

Type of heritage and protection

1927 None

1948

2018 Conservation area, Cultural monument