Janček House

Jána Reka Street No. 15

This building (original descriptive number no. 1134) was erected in 1928 on the corner of what are now Republic and Ján Rek Streets by Elena Jančeková, a teacher who as married to the head of the notarial office of the Town of Žilina, Gejza Janček.

She purchased land that had belonged to the town but had not previously been built on. At the start of the 20th century a natural skating rink had operated for the town on the land, where water flowed down from the Studničky Springs to join the Všivák Brook near the junction of Republic and Kukučínova Streets. Žilina’s winter sports enthusiasts would divert some of this running water onto the land in freezing conditions. The romantic period in the history of this plot, and a nearby spot that the town reserved for fairground rides, came to an end with the construction of buildings with two or more stories in 1920s. The output of the springs and the Všivák Brook itself were redirected into underground pipes. From 1942 the area was dominated by the five-storey headquarters of the United Power Stations of Northwest Slovakia.

The building was designed by one of the best architects in Žilina and Slovakia, Michal Maximilián Scheer. He began working in Žilina in 1925 when the town was experiencing a construction boom and his functionalist designs proved to be popular. He concentrated mainly on residential designs, ranging from simple social housing, through municipal apartment buildings to the residences and villas of wealthy families. In 1948 he became head of the Žilina Regional Architectural Studio of the Czecholoslovak Construction Works – Stavoprojekt – and remained there until his involuntary departure from Žilina in 1952. In the 27 years that he worked in our town he managed to complete more than 40 building projects.

Construction of the two-storey building with dimensions 22.5 x 14 m and a habitable basement under the whole building began after the issuing of the building permit on 03 May 1928 and was completed on 01 December 1928. The building contractor was the well-known Žilina construction firm of architect Fridrich Lampel and Jozef Ciccutt. The basement contained commercial premises accessed from the present-day park and there was also a caretaker’s flat. On the ground floor there were two flats, each with two rooms and on the upper floor there was one three-room and one two-room flat. All the flats had their own kitchen and sanitary facilities as well as a room for a maid, which represents a higher standard of accommodation.

The Janček family did not live in the house themselves though. They lived on Moyzesova ulica and, later, on Kalinčiakova ulica. The completed house was sold to Žigmund Neuman and his wife Anne Spitzová for 585,000 crowns in 1930. The couple lived in Čadca and rented out the premises for flats and shops, which were on the ground floor. The caretaker’s flat survived in the basement, which was partly converted into storage spaces. From 1940 to 1945 the building was taken into temporary state administration and after 1945 it returned to its previous owners.

In 1964 the Žilina restaurant organisation rented a part of the basement from the heir of the owners, Mária Slamková, to operate as a bar. A new entry to the modified premises was created on the corner of what were then Havlíčkova ulica and Ulica 28. októbra. This door has survived to the present day. The fourth-class bar, popularly known as Kominár (the Chimney Sweep), had four rooms: a bar, two sitting rooms and a dining room. When the Žilina restaurant organisation went out of business, the bar was shut down and it premises were used to sell computers. A bar has now been reopened there.

In 1969 the Žilina branch of Kancelárske stroje Praha (Office Machines Prague) bought the building from the heirs of the owners for 137,528 crowns and moved in its offices and sales facilities. Part of the basement was converted into storage, but the bar remained in operation. After 1970, Kancelárske stroje changed its name in Slovakia to Datasystém. The firm was wound up with liquidation in 1993 and the building was sold into private ownership.

Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský a Milan Novák

It can be visited
exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.

Position of the monument on the map: C4

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