Apartment of the family of Oskar Semler (1931–1934)
Klatovská 110, Pilsen
Semler Residence is the only place in Pilsen that features the landmark principle of Adolf Loos’s architecture, the famous Raumplan. Although Adolf Loos probably produced only the initial spatial concept of this apartment and detailed plans were later elaborated by his pupil Heinrich Kulka, Semler Residence can be considered the highlight of Loos’s activity in Pilsen. It is the only apartment that is made of several layers and thus resembles strongly the famous Villa Müller in Prague which preceded its construction. In contrast to it, Semler Residence was built into an existing
The Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen has been managing the Semler Residence since 2012. Immediately after taking over the management of the building, work began on planning the reconstruction and restoration of the entire building, which were divided into three stages. The first phase of repairs began in 2013, when the roof and insulation of the attic and basement were revised and several recent structures were demolished.
As part of the second phase, repairs of the flat roof were carried out in 2015 and mains and internal wiring were reconstructed. The works included restoration of the most damaged rooms and areas including the entrance lobby, cloakroom and conservatory in the historic residential interior. After these repairs, the residence was partially opened to the public in 2015–2018 as part of the project Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015.
In the period of 2019–2021, a crucial stage of reconstruction and restoration was carried out. It included structural repairs to almost the entire building, both interior and exterior, including the facade and garages. Most of the surviving furnishings of the historical dwelling were restored; in addition to that, many original details that had not survive were reproduced. For example, the restorers successfully completed the demanding repair of the macassar floor of the large living hall, the kitchen and staff premises, the Semlers’ private rooms, the children’s rooms, the upper hall, etc. The most challenging was the repair of the octagonal dining room, which had been damaged almost beyond repair. The restorers had to completely dismantle the heavily disintegrated mahogany wainscot, flatten the deformed panels, restore and put them back in its original place.
The Region of Pilsen and the European Union contributed financially to the reconstruction and restoration of the residence through the Integrated Regional Operational Programme (IROP). The total cost of the construction work, restoration, architectural study, project documentation, archaeological survey, geodetic survey, interior equipment and other items amounted to ca. 4.5 million euros.
Sightseeing tour route opening hours
April–October: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays upon prior appointment
November–March: Fridays and Saturdays upon prior appointment
No tours on December 24 and 25 and January 1.
The tours are held in cooperation with the Plzeň-Turismus organization. The Semler Residence is the third tour of the Loosian interiors in Pilsen series (www.adolfloosplzen.cz).
Please note that unlike the Visitor Centre, the tour route is not wheelchair accessible. The tours are not suitable for children under 10 years of age and persons with reduced mobility.
Due to the high demand for tours, we recommend that you buy tickets in advance!
Tickets can be purchased online at GoOut or at the Information Centre of the Semler Residence (Klatovská 110, Pilsen; Tue–Sun 10 am – 6 pm), at the Information Centre in Republiky Square (next to the City Hall) and at the Paluba Hamburk Information Centre at the Main Railway Station.
This guided tour of about 75 minutes includes the most interesting part of the historical apartment. Visitors will have the opportunity to walk through up to 15 rooms, from the dressing rooms through the entrance hall to the representative lounge, then to the summer and winter dining rooms and the private rooms of the Semler family. The tour also includes the staff staircase, guest room and kitchen. The historical interior features two architectural models and photo albums with period photographs of the family and the house. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the exhibition in the information centre.
- Standard fee: CZK 370
- Reduced fee: CZK 260 (senior citizens, students, children, people with severe health disability, people with severe health disability requiring a guide)
Extended tour 110 min
This guided tour lasts 110 min. In addition to the standard tour, it includes watching the documentary The Three-Dimensional Life of Adolf Loos and, if desired, watching an older TV documentary Adolf Loos in Pilsen with David Vávra (2015), each lasting approximately 20 minutes. This tour also includes a visit to the exhibition The Cabinet of Pilsen Architecture 1874–1939 in the former governess’ room, which houses four architectural models, the original writing desk of architect Karel Lhota and an exhibition on the development of the city’s architecture with a projection of loops of photographs. The extended tour is always the last tour of the day (starting at 4 pm).
- Standard fee: CZK 420
- Reduced fee: CZK 290 (senior citizens, students, children, people with severe health disability, people with severe health disability requiring a guide)
Group tours (10 persons max.)
Standard tour 75 min.
- Standard fee: CZK 2800
- Reduced fee: CZK 1950 (if all members of the group are entitled to a reduced fee)
Extended tour 110 min.
- Standard fee: CZK 3100
- Reduced fee: CZK 2150 (if all members of the group are entitled to a reduced fee)
Should you encounter any problem with tickets or if you are interested in tours in English or German, please contact the Information Centre at Republiky Square; firstname.lastname@example.org, tel.: +420 378 035 330.
The apartment house surrounded by a garden on Klatovy Avenue No. 110 was constructed in the first half of the 1920s for clerks of the Škoda factory. In the early 1930s it was bought by Oskar and Jana Semler who turned part of the building into their new apartment between 1932 and 1934. The interior of the apartment was probably conceived by Adolf Loos himself. His original concept was further elaborated and realized by his disciple and collaborator, the architect Heinrich Kulka (Loos died in 1933). The adaptation of the part of the house resulted in the creation of a three-storied apartment, spatial layout of which very much resembles the Villa Müller in Prague that was completed shortly before the Semler apartment. The central space of the apartment is the two-storey hall adjacent to which are dwelling rooms such as a bar, a dining room, a library and a porch, respecting the system of Loos’s concept of space, the so-called Raumplan. Private rooms of the family were situated on the next floor and facility rooms and rooms inhabited by the staff were facing the courtyard.
The uniqueness and authenticity
The interior of the apartment ranks among the most valuable modern architecture landmarks in the Pilsen region. It represents the climax of the whole series of apartment interiors in Pilsen that were designed according to Adolf Loos’s principles on spatial layout. Although the Semler family had to leave the apartment in 1939 and in the following decades the apartment was divided into several small apartment units and a commercial space (the hall), the overall concept and rendering of many details have been preserved till today. The apartment is a unique work of architecture which is enlisted in the Cultural Heritage of the Czech Republic. The house is situated within the limits of the municipal historic reserve named Bezovka, which is very precious from the perspective of urbanism.
The multi-storey flat (based on the so-called “Raumplan”) is the completion of the collection of Adolf Loos designs of interiors made in Plzen between 1907 and 1932. It forms a unique counterpart to the famous Villa Müller in Prague, but this concept is different, as it virtually creates a “villa inside an existing house”.
Despite doubtful utilization during the second half of the 20th century and sometimes inadequate handling, the original interior is compact and in relatively good condition. The space concept has remained intact and the majority of interiors are equipped with original built-in cases, decorative details and unique technical equipment.
The history of the house and the house owners is very unique, too. Semler´s house was originally built in 1923 as a block of flats for officers of Škoda Industrial Works. In 1932 the Oskar Semler´s family bought the house and remodelled it for living and representative purposes. Oskar Semler was one of the most important local entrepreneurs in steel wire goods including very famous gramophone needles. In 1939 the family had to leave the country. The house was confiscated first by the Nazis and after 1945 by the Czechoslovakian state. After this the house has served as a block of flats and as a facility of Faculty of Medicine of the local university.