In the 1930s, the town responded to the demand for further construction by expanding in the direction of the cemetery and the territory of Šefranica. Notable buildings include the large cinema and Sokol gym complex from 1931, the Lutheran church from 1936, the buildings of the Légia cooperative and the Svojdomov housing estate. The town had planned to build a ring road (named Veľká okružná – Big Ring) in this attractive area since 1910, although it would not be completed until 1956.
This neighbourhood that was close to the centre of the town but also then on the outskirts caught the eye of two architects who were brothers-in-law, František Bednařík and František Reich – Reich was married to Bednařík’s sister Gabriela. Who were these builders? At that time, they were major figures in the town, having achieved success in business since the mid-1920s despite not having been born in Žilina.
The architect František Eduard Bednařík (1902 Bystřice nad Hostýnem – 1960 Žilina) began working in Žilina in 1923 and established his own construction company in 1925. His main contribution to architecture was designing many slaughterhouses and schools all over Slovakia. He designed many family houses in Žilina but worked mainly on public buildings such as the Metropol Hotel, the administrative building of the electricity company, the railway station, the school next to the Lutheran church and many others. He changed his surname to Bednárik in 1939. He was a successful entrepreneur in the stone mining business; he owned the quarry at Dubná Skala and the asphalt mine at Nezbudská Lúčka. He was also a court expert.
František Reich (1893 Kroužek, Vyškov District – 1970 Bratislava) studied at the Czech Technical University in Brno and then spent the years from 1921 to 1952 in several firms and central bodies in Slovakia dealing with electricity, on which he was one of top experts. He arrived in Žilina in 1925 and became the business director of the company United Power Stations of Northwest Slovakia, where he remained a manager until 1944. For some time, he was also president of the football club in Žilina. He participated in the Slovak National Uprising and was imprisoned after its suppression. When the war finished, he returned to Žilina and in 1946 he became director general of the electricity company Energetické závody na Slovensku based in Bratislava. He helped to develop industry in Nováky in the Upper Nitra region under authorisation from the Board of Commissioners and founded the new company Elektrostav, where he worked until his retirement in 1952. His son František was a rower who took part in two Olympic Games and won two medals at the European Championships in the double sculls – a silver medal in 1955 and a bronze medal the following year.
Bednařík and his brother-in-law Reich built their four-storey house on Veľká okružná based on their own design of October 1931. The building was built by Bednařík’s construction firm in 1931–1932 and included a complicated concrete staircase from the firm Ruger & co. of Bohumín. The house’s address was Veľká okružná 17. It had a basement containing 3 offices, a central heating boiler, a laundry room and storage space. On the ground floor there was the caretaker’s flat, a two-room flat with amenities, a four-room flat with amenities and a maid’s room. On the first and second floors there were two three-room flats with amenities and a separate room. The fourth floor had six separate rooms, a kitchen, sanitary facilities and two separate attic rooms.
In 1951 the building was nationalised and taken over by Kameňopriemysel, a state enterprise based in Žilina. It was returned to private ownership in 1991.
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: A3