Korunní 2456/98: Former Energy Dispatching Centre

Bas-relief by Josef Schwarz

Left-hand panel by J.V. Švarc (Schwartz)

Today’s Police Headquarters in Vinohrady (Prague 10) started life as the dispatching centre for the state energy provider České Energetické Závody (ČEZ).  It was constructed between 1948 and 1952 according to a design by the architect Jiří Jakub.

An otherwise uninspiring modernist facade is elevated by the presence of two large sandstone bas-reliefs on either side of the main entrance. Designed and executed by the sculptor Josef Schwartz, they show pairs of engineers monitoring and maintaining the operation of a power-plant.

Bas-relief by Josef Schwarz

Right-hand panel by J.V. Švarc (Schwartz)

Idealized images of this type celebrating collective labour were commonplace in the era of so-called ‘socialist realism’; but here they are closely integrated with the actual purpose and function of the building. It’s possible to see from the architect’s drawing (below) that the frieze was an intentional part of the original design.

Photo by permission of the Building archive of Prague 10