The House of Ing. Karel Dovolil

Pavel Janák designed the two-generation house for his friend and a great advocate of functionalism, Karel Dovolil. He made excellent use of the slope of the terrain when positioning the house facilities, investor’s office, and a small apartment for the caretaker. The roof of the separate garage also serves as a terrace connected to the balcony of the room. This terrace is connected to the garden by a steel staircase. The front façade facing the street has windows, unlike the other houses. 


Pavel Janák

(*1882 Prague +1956 Prague)

An architect, urban planner, designer of furniture and decorations, professor at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, and architectural theoretician. He studied technical studies in Prague at both the Czech and German schools, as well as at the Academy of Art in Vienna. He worked with Josef Gočár at Jan Kotěra’s studio. His works go through several distinct phases: his first period is consciously focused on modernism, then he becomes the leading representative of Czech cubism. He then goes through a period of national style only to end up being entirely devoted to functionalism. He was a long-standing president of the Czechoslovak Werkbund, the main initiator of the functionalist Baba estate, and the author of Baba’s urban plans. In the Baba estate, he designed the Dovolil House as well as his own house.

studied architecture at CTU in Prague 

studied at the German Technical High School in Prague

studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna with Otto Wagner

cooperated with the studio of Professor Jan Kotěra in Prague, study trips to Italy

member of the Mánes Union of Fine Arts 

employed in the Department of Construction of the Prague City Hall

independent architect in Prague
member of the Group of Fine Artists in Prague

co-founder of the Prague Art Workshops (PUD)

military service

state exam at the Czech Technical University in Prague 

Professor at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague 
member of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts 

President of the Czechoslovak Werkbund (SČSD)

corresponding member of the Moscow Academy of Architecture 

architect of Prague Castle

Significant Works

Hlávka’s Bridge in Prague

Jakubec house, Jičín 

reconstruction of Dr. Fára’s house, Pelhřimov

weir on the River Labe, Předměřice 1

Villa Pick, Ljubljana 

crematorium, Pardubice

Riunione adriatica di Sicurta, Prague-Nové Město (with Josef Zasche)

artists’ colony (villas of J. Benda, B. Kafka, E. Filla and V. Beneš), Prague-Ořechovka

Škoda Palace, Prague-Nové Město
Czech Autoclub building, Prague-Nové Město

Libeň Bridge, Prague

reconstruction and extension of the Czernin Palace, Prague-Hradčany 

airport, Mariánské Lázně 

pavilion of the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design at the Brno Exhibition Centre 

block of cooperative houses, Prague-Dejvice 

building plan of the Baba Housing Estate, Prague-Dejvice

houses of Pavla and Václav Linda and Ing. Karel Dovolil and his own house, Baba, Prague-Dejvice
Juliš Hotel, Prague-Nové Město
Congregation of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, Prague-Vinohrady 

villa with a studio for the sculptor Josef Mařatka, Prague-Střešovice 

renovation of the Riding Hall, extension of garages and terraces, Prague Castle

renovation of the Hall of Ball Games, Prague Castle


Karel Dovolil

In 1932, Ing. Karel Dovolil (1899-1955) moved into his new home with his wife Jarmila and first daughter, also called Jarmila. His wife Jarmila was a bold and active woman for that time. To her, the functionalist-style window to the kitchen seemed to provide insufficient light, so despite Janák’s proposal, she negotiated with the workmen to enlarge the window, which surprised her husband when he came home from work. The famous architect was hurt by this purely practical female decision. In the Protectorate period, like many other Jewish residents of the villas, Karel Dovolil had to face bullying from his infamous neighbour in Baba, the Czech Nazi Bautz, but he was also forced to close down his engineering practice. He worked for his brother-in-law in his paper company until nationalisation. However, he was not allowed to continue in his line of business. He worked as a water manager at VODOTECHNA until his sudden death. His daughters Jarmila and Hana still live in this unique two-generation house in Baba today.