Prior to completion of Jičín’s District Hospital (VP512), i.e. as one of his early commissions, Čeněk Musil undertook another substantial public contract. This time it involved the extensive complex of the Agricultural College, to be built beside the lime-tree alley in the outlying suburb of Soudná. The school, which was the initiative of the Agricultural, Forestry and Industrial Union in Jičín (Hospodářská, lesní a průmyslová jednota v Jičíně), was founded in 1883 and up until that point based in a two-storey building on Denisova Street (subsequently rebuilt as the new College of Housewifery), needed sufficient space for teaching that would include agricultural facilities. Musil attended the preparatory works in person, and these were already underway by 1920.
According to the plans completed in August 1923, works were to commence in the autumn of the following year. Construction was divided into two phases. The first would see the completion of the school building, the director’s villa and the State Research Station. These three buildings, arranged as the south eastern parts of a square enclosing a spacious courtyard and small park, continue to draw upon previous architectural designs in their desire to classicise (e.g. the sandstone socles or the triangular gable in the façade of the school building), but they also foreshadow the architect’s move towards the individualistic modernism of Jan Kotěra. For the first time, in the red, fired bricks we see the use of non-rendered brickwork, which here to some extent replaces the abandoned décor and which would later become a signature element in Musil’s buildings.
On the ground and first floors of the school building we find on each a classroom for 30 students and three rooms for staff. The ground floor also had the caretaker’s apartment and an administrative office, while on the first floor was situated the director’s office, a phone booth, a common staffroom and an extensive library, all of which were fitted with furniture designed by Čeněk Musil himself. The basement area was the location of workshops and showers. An important part of this building was also the lecture hall. Immediately bordering the main school building was the building for assistants and servants, which together with the farm itself – comprising a granary, barn, “Swiss chambers”, cowsheds, an “American silo”, stables etc. – was situated in the north-west part of the complex and was realised in the second phase of construction.
The school grounds have not been preserved in their original form. The assistant’s building adjacent to the main school was “cleansed”, becoming a more austere building, only partitioned by windows. Also, the agricultural buildings in the southwest part were torn down, having lost their function (the Agricultural College had changed over the years to become a school for children with special needs). The interiors and façades of the preserved buildings have recently been renovated. Their modern aspect is clearly inspired by the original forms, with the use of fine, grey-green render, and windows and doors painted white, as well as dark green. The school garden has also been smartened up.
- Jaroslav Mencl, Historická topografie města Jičína: dějiny Jičína (část I) , Jičín 1939–1941, p. 325–327
- Milan Kudyn, Architekt Čeněk Musil a jeho meziválečná tvorba v Jičíně , Olomouc 2006, p. 29–32
- Gabriela Petrová, Eva Chodějovská, Architekt Čeněk Musil, Jičín 2017, p. 58–63