Ignác Vojtěch Ullmann (1822-1897)

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He was one of the first architects to form contemporary Prague. He initiated an important phase of Czech architecture history which lasted to 1930s.

Ignác Vojtěch Ullmann was born on 23rd April 1822 in Prague to the family of needle manufacturer Jakub Ullmann. He learned needle crafting from 1834 to 1838, then he learned bricklaying and also studied polytechnic. He studied Architecture at Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (1842- 1847) under supervision of Eduard von Null and August Siccard von Siccardsburg. He was the first architect having both technical and artistic education.

Ullmann projected his first works influenced by Romantic Historicism: Chateau Greenhouse in Čechy pod Košířem (1853), reconstructions of buildings for aristocratic families in Bezděkov, Jirny, Chyše and building of Lann Palace in Hybernská Street in Prague. He participated in reconstruction project of Vienna architect Karel Roesner from 1854 to 1863 and participated in the building of St. Cyril and Metoděj Church in Karlín, Prague.

A significant milestone in his career was around 1860 when he came to his mature Neo-Renaissance style. Thanks to his success he was soon well-known as one of the main Czech architects. Ullmann´s first project inspired by Neo-Rennaisance style was the building of Česká Spořitelna (Czech Savings Bank) on Národní Street in Prague. Other of his projects were buildings of Prozatímní divadlo (1862) or Lažanský Palace (1861-1863). In the 1970s he designed Josef Kittl’s apartment building on the corner of Národní and Perlová Streets and building of Higher girls' school in Vodičkova Street decorated with sgraffito (1866-67). In cooperation with Josef Mánes he was commissioned by Umělecká beseda to restore Rotunda of St. Cross in Prague Old Town (1866 – 1867).

In 1865 he offered to design and lead the construction of National Theatre building without any financial reward yet his suggestion was not accepted. This failure affected the rest of his life and he gradually gave up designing. From the end of the 1960s, he cooperated with his brother-in-law Antonín Barvitius (Franz Josef Station, Schebek Palace, Lann Villa, Lippman Villa, Rghoffer Palace). His last important Prague building was Czech Technical University on Charles Square in Prague built between 1870 and 1875. He gave up projecting after his proposal to Rudolfinum building which he created in cooperation with Barvitius failed. He left to stay in Dubenec Chataeu in 1878 and stayed there for two years, and then he moved to Příbram. In cooperation with his nephew Bedřich Munzberger he implemented a project of Neo-Renaissance town hall and savings bank in 1891 and Archbishop's Convict in 1892.

He died in Příbram in 1897 and is buried on the local cemetery.

Author: Hana Ročňáková, ředitelka Galerie Františka Drtikola Příbram