M. M. Scheer’s house
Republiky Street No. 17
The area around today’s Ulica republiky and neighbouring streets such as Štefánikova, Moyzesova and Prvého mája was known as Závažie from medieval times onward. The street itself and most of its buildings came into existence after 1920. Most of the large vacant lots on Republic Street were built on only in the mid-1950s. Most of the buildings reflect the functionalist styles in fashion at their time of construction and the two and three storey houses still make up a relatively homogeneous zone of modernist functionalist architecture.
When this area was developing, it attracted the attention of upcoming architect Michal Maximilián Scheer, who was looking to establish a family seat. He had been renting a flat with his wife at Štefánikova 7 and in 1933 he decided it was time to build his own house. His selection of its eventual site was surely influenced by its proximity to Všivák Brook and the Studničky springs on the open ground that would later become the Na Studničkách Park. This provided a relaxing and romantic environment without moving far from the town centre.
Michal Maximilián Scheer was born in Považská Bystrica in 1902 and from 1912 to 1919 he attended the newly built Hungarian Royal State Grammar School. In February 1919 it was renamed the Ján Palárik Czecho-Slovak State Grammar School and the class that year took their school leaving exams in Slovak for the first time. Scheer went on to study building construction and architecture at the German Technical University in Brno. After graduating he took a position in Professor Fanta’s studio in Brno. While he was there, he took part in a design competition for Žilina and after winning the first rounds, he decided that there would were good prospects for a career building in the town. He returned to the town of his secondary school years, for which he provided a large number of building designs in a relatively short period – mainly for houses but also for offices, shops and schools. For example, a group of houses for the Svojdomov cooperative, the mixed-use Grossmann Building at Pivovarská 2 (1929), the Na Závaží Folk School, the Financial Palace at Hodžova 11, a balcony access apartment building for the R. C. parish at Spanyolva 11 (1931) and the Hustý department store at Národná 27 (1946).
During the Second World War he worked for the Ružomberok paper works. Here he designed the entrance area of the plant, several houses and one of the dominant buildings of the town centre – the administration building. After the war, he returned to Žilina and was one of the co-founders of Stavoprojekt in Slovakia in 1948, managing its regional studio in Žilina. He was imprisoned in the 1950s and afterwards relocated to Nitra, where he continued to live and work. In 1965 he was awarded the Dušan Jurkovič prize; in 1967 he received state honours for service to construction and in 1992 the Slovak Architects Society awarded him the Emil Belluš prize for lifetime achievement. Scheer was one of the most important modernist and functionalist architects in Slovakia. He died in Nitra in 2000.
In 1933 he designed a house for himself for the first time. It would be built at Ulica 28. októbra 15 (now Ulica republiky 17). He also designed the interior of his flat on the first floor. The District Office in Žilina issued a construction permit on 27 July 1933 and the building was then completed in an incredibly short time, by 22 December 1933. The occupancy permit was issued on 28 December 1933. The basement contained cellars and a laundry. On the ground floor there was a one-room flat for the caretaker, two shops, a garage and an office. Equipment was later installed on this floor for central heating and providing hot water. On the next two floors there were 3-room flats with a hall and room for a maid, a kitchen and two toilets. On the third floor there was a drying room and two garrets, one of which had a bathroom. The house was built by the well-known Václav Nekvasil construction firm. After completing this house, he designed a second house for himself in 1937. This was on the corner of Kmeťova ulica and the Šrobár Gardens (now SNP Park).
After moving out to their new house, the Scheers sold their house on Ulica 28. októbra to Benjamín (Ben) Fantl and his wife Ružena (née Kohn) for 510,000 crowns. The house was taken into temporary administration in 1941. At that time it was subdivided into 9 flats for rent. The Fantls did not live there at all because they owned another house on Daxnerova ulica. Because Benjamín Fantl had died in the Holocaust, after the war the building was returned from national administration to his wife Ružena, who owned it jointly with her daughter Gertrúda. Another floor has been added to the house and it continues to be used as for dwelling purposes.
Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský and Milan Novák
It can be visited
■ exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map:C4