Plzeňské sympozia

Jindřich Vybíral

"The Solid Stone and its Sunshine". An Attempt to Interpret the Viennese Work of Josip Plečnik

pp. 219–227 (Czech), Summary pp. 228 (English)

Th?e paper attempts to reconstruct the original context of the architecture of the Zacherlhaus and from it to deduce the intentions of its architect and the person who commissioned it - Jože Plečnik and Johann Evangelista Zacherl. Th?e author comes to the conclusion that the façade of polished stone with its lasting qualities was not meant just to represent the social position of one of the most successful Viennese entrepreneurs, but that through the granite facing of the façade the architect wanted to express the worldview which both he and the person who commissioned the project professed. Plečnik and Zacherl were firmly linked to the ideological basis of restoration Catholicism. Th?e building was intended to represent an idealistic and anti-materialistic conviction, which was why it took the form of a timeless monument, in whose forms everything that was subjective, sensualistic, and transient was replaced by the abstract, the essential, and the soulful. An important expression of the message of the underlying idea was the central poetic quality that the stone facing provided - radiance. If the modernists in the early 20th century proclaimed themselves to be adherents of the dynamism of technological progress through the metallic sheen of their façades, the gleaming surface of the Zacherlhaus is related more to the Christian symbolism of a light that does not belong to this transient world and refers to transcendental values. ?e end result of this interpretation thus cannot be other than paradoxical - Plečnik's innovative, radically modern design for the façade of his tenement house had its roots in the milieu of cultural conservatism, which had a strongly polemical attitude towards modern reality.

Key words: modern architecture - Vienna - Zacherlhaus - Jože Plečnik - iconology
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