Villa Petschek, Prague, Czech Republic, 2018, Photographed by Kayley Tuchek.
Centered on the east facade are two rows of four columns divided by a glass wall that separates the interior of the Villa and the exterior. The east facade is divided into three sections with centralized grouping of windows and doors. Short runs of rippling stairs empty onto a large central terrace embraced by the building’s arc. The layered mansard roof with chimney outlets underwent a restoration in 2011 during which most of the roof was rebuilt and additional waterproofing and insulation were added. Floor plans from the archive indicate that, unlike its external appearance, the building structure consists of a steel frame with several free-standing columns and thick load-bearing foundation walls in the basement. Window sizes and shapes change between floors, the first floor has a series of tall rectangular windows, the second floor has a series of slightly shorter rectangular windows with arched tops, and the third floor has a series of arched square dormer windows with oval dormer windows over the central block. Decorative quoin blocks are added at the corners of walls and near sets of columns, reinforcing an impression of permanence and strength. Keystones are located on the apex of each window frame for aesthetics and structural support. The ornamentation of the key stone varies between floors, with some depicting human faces. One of these human faces could be symbolic of the ancient Greek myth of Hercules and the Nemean Lion, represented by a bearded man crowned with a lion’s head from which two swags of a fur cape extend, with lion paws weighing the ends down similar to a classical decorative swag of foliage. This symbol of a proud warrior guards the east entrance of the residence from an elevated central location on the facade. Human sculptural forms also include six sets of putti on the top level’s baluster railings over the three major blocks of the facade.
Building materials used for the walls include quartz, sandstone, limestone, foraminifera lime, sandstone, nodule lime, shell lime, cast stone, and stucco. Metal details and accents are made of gold and bronze, reinforcing the elegance and grandeur of the villa. On the east facade Baroque architectural motifs used include many scrolls, volutes, and floral symbols that suggest movement. The east facade of the villa Petschek is heavily ornamented with various sculptures of putti surrounded by foliage and vases as well as bracketting, decorative key stones, and metal railings of wrought iron. The brackets are structural members made of metal pieces covered with plaster to match the stone flashing sculpted into forms of acanthus leaves at the top and the bottom, with flowers beneath the lowest acanthus form. Railings are made of wrought iron adding elegance and beauty to an otherwise visually heavy stone facade. The railings highlight balconies and windows on the upper levels. Several details and motifs on the railings are covered with gold leaf.