Žilina secondary school

Legionarska Street No. 1

Žilina secondary school was designed by Emil Somló and Ambrus Orth in 1909. The original documentation containing 12 drawings and floor plans, comprising layout, longitudinal and cross sections, site and construction details are stored in the Hungarian National Archives in Budapest - Magyar Országos Levéltár - in "T" Collection of Plans 17th-20th century, subdivision T13 Tervek and Valle-and Közoktatásügyi Minisztérium anyagából, Ministry of Religion and Education, number 38, Orth Ambrus és Somló Emil: A Zsolnai / Trencsén m. / all. Főreáliskola Tervel, 1909.

A lack of funding meant that construction did not go smoothly and work often had to be stopped. The historical records on the house held in the digitised archives of arcanum.hu Képviselőházi irományok, 1910. XX. Baby, 581-589. sz, show that since the cost of building the Žilina secondary school had risen by 43,834 crowns, it was not possible to carry out the work on the low budget of 1910 and construction stopped. Records also show that the budgets planned for 1911 and 1912 would enable construction to continue. Képviselőházi irományok, 1910. XXVI . Baby, 766 szám. contains record of a further budget increase of 31,014 crowns and work having to be stopped, while there is reference in LI. Baby, 1255th szám. to an overall budget review and repeated complaints by the building contractor. Similar references appear in virtually all the documents relating to the negotiations. There is little doubt that by 1913 the building had been completed, because the Hungarian Építőművészet, 1913. (XI. évfolyam) 8 szám - Hungarian architect in 1913, 9 Volume, 8, printed photographs of the building under the heading “Házak”.

Historic building A has retained many of the original architectural features. The exterior of the building has not been altered significantly and it still has its original structure and foundations, and historical postcards indicate that the original colour consisted of shades of pink. Photographs suggest that the entrance way and balcony window casing on the second floor were perhaps coated in white lime. Inside there are a number of small sections of the original pre-cast terrazzo paving. Most of the original window panes were not replaced either (they have just suffered considerably wear and tear and from a lack of maintenance).

Around a third of the original door panels have been retained from the door up to the glass walls embedded in reinforced concrete frames. The original features include the illustrated geometric stucco ornamentation and plant motifs and the stone balustrades of the staircase and the metal bars. The entrance foyer boasts a small stone fountain with seating, which was also typical of public buildings, for example, the hostel in Budapest, which is tiled with Zsolnay tiles. The original mansard roof of the building has been preserved without any major changes. Technologically speaking, the remains of the hot air heating system are of interest. The original tiled stoves found in niches in the corridors have not been retained, but the rooms are still fitted with a decorative Art Nouveau grid diffuser system, and the diffusers below the ceilings are designed as hinged flaps.

The historical building of the former Žilina secondary school is an architecturally interesting building for its time. Although it is not one of the Orth-Somló architectural team’s unique pieces, it is a valuable contribution to the historical centre of Žilina’s genius loci and the collection of Art Nouveau buildings in the town. Also of value are several architectural features and facades and materials used in the building that have survived without significant alteration. If historical building A of the University of Žilina were to be restored and the functional adaptations removed, then it could be a truly fine building, where social events and conferences could be held if the gym were to be converted into a multipurpose hall.

Source: Ing. arch. Zuzana Grúňová

Abbreviated from the original: Secessionist Building "A" University of Žilina. Zuzana Grünová, Secessionist Building "A" of the University of Žilina Stavebné a environmentálne inžinierstvo [Civil and Environmental Engineering] Vol. 8, no. 1 (2012), p. 44-56. - ISSN 1336-5835.  

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

Position of the monument on the map: B3

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