18. Art Nouveau villa No. 180

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While Vimperk is a uniquely well-preserved mediaeval urban complex, in addition to the architectural styles typical of the Middle Ages and Early Modern times it was also shaped by Art Nouveau in the early 20th century. The last of the complex styles of old Europe, uprooted by the ravages of WW I, left a true gem situated on the edge of the town, in 1. máje Street opposite the ice hockey stadium: an Art Nouveau villa (No. 180) floating majestically on a wave of land and still surrounded by a park which used to have a glittering swan lake in it. The main section of the building, topped by a high hipped roof, has its representative front facing the east, and the horizontal layout extends into the park on the southern side with a buttress. An array of elegant chimney stacks, extending at the top, attract the eye. Windows of different sizes and shapes are positioned in a way suggesting complex symmetry and rhythm. The front has an Art Nouveau cartouche with volutes at the top. The portal bears the coat of arms of the Vimperk glassmaker Vilem Kralik, knight of Meyerswald, and has two Art Nouveau columns on the sides with lanterns, and a gateway between them. Above the gateway is a gallery accessed from the first floor. The tiny yard is cluttered by other small structures, such as the caretaker’s lodge, the stables, the equerry’s quarters, etc. The representative ground floor allegedly included a conservatory, while the residential rooms were on the first floor.

The 1905-villa was designed by a renowned Silesian and Austrian Architect, Professor Leopold Bauer (1872 - 1938), who also designed outstanding buildings in Opava in the inter-war period (Chamber of Commerce and Trade, St. Hedwig’s Church, the Breda-Weinstein department store). In the socialist era the villa was converted into a kindergarten, which remains there even today.

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