During the First Czechoslovak Republic, trade unions had a relatively strong position in Žilina. Unions operated in the chemical factory, the cloth processing plant, the pulp mill, the construction industry and other sectors of the economy. Political parties created their own trade unions, especially the Social Democratic Party, the Communist Party and Hlinka’s Slovak People’s Party, which had the Christian trade union. Despite significant disagreements and differences, in the early 1920s, most of the trade unions signed up to a plan for one building that they would share. This was necessary because they did not have their own premises for organising activities, meetings, culture and sports. The Christian unions were given space for their activities in the Catholic House, now the church grammar school on Hurbanova Street, but the others had to look for an opportunity to build their shared building. In 1924 they established a cooperative organisation to manage the process for the construction and operation of what they called “Všeodborový dom” (All-Union House).
Negotiations between representatives of the cooperative and the town of Žilina began in 1924. They picked out a site on what was then Námestie na Závaží and is now Námestie gen. M. R. Štefánika. There was a problem not just with the unwillingness of members of the town council to sell the land but also with the existing regulatory plan for development of the square, according to which it was supposed to have a 90 x 90 m square shape. The building would have the effect of making the square rectangular. Authorising this required the drafting of a new development plan for the square and negotiations on the purchase and the building permit took until 1930.
In 1930, after agreement with town, the cooperative purchased 2,560 m2 of undeveloped land for CSK 51,200. The building was designed by arch. Friedrich Weinwurm (1885 – 1942), an outstanding functionalist architect who has several completed buildings in Žilina.
The functionalist building was built by the Koníček construction firm in 1931. The original design envisaged the ground floor being used for the association’s purposes – a hall, stage, gym, bar, kitchen and garden – with apartments for members of the cooperative on the first to third floor.
Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský
It can be visited
■ exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map: C4