In the mid-1920s, many of the Žilina’s most prominent citizens began to build three-storey houses on the newly laid out square then named after M. R. Štefánik and now bearing the name of Andrej Hlinka. They included Dr. Vojtech Spanyol, his brother Hugo Spanyol, a lawyer and Mr Hoffmann, another lawyer. In 1924 Alexander Kompánek and his wife Margita, née Hoffmann, began building a house for their family on land that they bought for 6,613 crowns partly from the Spanyol family and partly from the town.
At this time, Kompánek was the director of the United Power Stations of Northwest Slovakia. The house was designed and built by the builder Ludvik Kanturek. Construction took from 15 October 1924 to 07 October 1925. The original design of the exterior anticipated a regular arrangement of windows and two balconies above each other, but in the end the house was built with one large balcony, six asymmetrically placed windows on the ground and first floor and three in the habitable attic. No windows were installed in the raised basement, which was not intended for dwelling purposes but only for storage and laundry. On the ground floor there was a large dining room, a hall, two rooms and a kitchen; on the first floor there were two bedrooms, a guest room and a landing. The space under the roof was originally supposed to be only partly for dwelling, with a room for a maid, but in fact it was used as a garret.
Ing. Alexander Kompánek (1889 Čadca – 1968 Bratislava) studied at the Technical University in Budapest and qualified as a civil engineer. He worked in Žilina as a technical adviser in the town’s building and engineering department. In September 1922, the company United Power Stations of Northwest Slovakia was established in Žilina and Kompánek became its first director. When he was succeeded by František Reich in 1925, Kompánek went back to working for the town where he contributed to its development and the improvement of its infrastructure as the head of the engineering department. He oversaw the construction of hundreds of houses, public buildings and roads in Žilina. In 1942 he moved to Bratislava to work as a ministerial adviser and vice-chairman of the Supreme Audit Court until his retirement in 1951. He and his wife lived in Bratislava until the end of their lives.
They retained ownership of the attractive building on Hlinka Square despite the state’s efforts to nationalise it. In the 1950s and 60s the ground floor was rented to the Žilina headquarters of the publishing company Slovenská kniha for use as a warehouse, and there were rented flats on the upper floors. The state firm Drevoimpregna Žilina acquired the building after Kompánek’s death in 1968. A major renovation project was carried out in 1969. Based on a design by the architects Levický and Ovseník, the District Building Enterprise in Žilina converted the two rooms and dining room on the ground floor into a shop that would be used as a showroom by DREVEX Drevoindustria Žilina. An office and storeroom were installed behind the showroom. Two new four-room flats were created on the upper floors. The shop displayed and sold wooden sports goods – skis and sledges – as well as small wooden goods such as doors, kitchen counters, wall panelling, planks and other items mainly related to sports. In the yard there were garages and storage sheds, but also a florist’s shop. Gas heating was installed in the house in 1971.
After 1990 the building was acquired by a bank, Slovenská kreditná banka, which established its headquarters there. It was later purchased by a private owner and a renovation of the building was completed in 2006. Construction of an extension of the original house into the yard was completed in 2009. This extension was designed by the architect Vladimír Krušinský in cooperation with the ONCE team of architects for the real estate company RED®. This company has been operating since 2004 and offers the people of Žilina and the surrounding area services for the sale, purchase or rental of property. It also provides legal services and management services related to real estate.
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