The famous architect Vladimír Grégr was born on 3 August 1902. He studied architecture under Josef Gočár. After graduating he accepted a job in Václav M. Havel’s company, with whom he participated from the outset in the design, overall construction and subsequent settlement of Barrandov hill.
Vladimír Grégr was among the few Czech project designers who visited the USA between the wars, among others such as Hugo Vraný, Bedřich Feuerstein, Otakar Štěpánek, brothers Lubomír and Čestmír Šlapeto, Jaroslav Fragner and others. His visit to America influenced Grégr’s work in a fundamental way. He was particularly enchanted by the romantic homes of Californian film stars, and successfully attempted to apply this style here.
He found a favourable location for his creative ideas, plans and buildings in Prague’s famous Barrandov quarter, listed in the land registry as Hlubočepy. The cliffs above the Moldau River, surrounded by nature, were the perfect place for modern film studios and the well-known panoramic restaurant inspired by a venue located on the coast in San Francisco.
The stunning views intensified the romantic feeling and offered a chance to ignite the viewer’s imagination abut distant lands and sunlit landscapes.
But builder Václav Havel wanted luxury residences to line the narrow Barrandov streets carved into the cliff. Vladimír Grégr designed the best work in tune with Václav Havel’s idea. His concepts married the romantic character of the location with the tastes of the film elite, which naturally admired Hollywood and wanted to live in a style similar to American Oscar laureates of the silver screen. Construction work began at the turn of the 1920s and 1930s. Nevertheless, Vladimír Grégr’s promising career was abruptly terminated in September 1942, because in 2940 he helped leading politician and president of the agrarian party, Ladislav Karel Feierabend (1891‒1969) during his escape into immigration. Vladimír Grégr was executed on 22 February 1943.
Vladimír Grégr is the author of 8 Barrandov villas, including a specimen villa in the spirit of “white functionalism”. The house can be seen at the address Barrandovská 46. It was built as a “show home” in 1931. It is among the more sober works by Vladimír Grégr, but probably the most architecturally valuable. The villa is not publicly accessible nowadays, but when it was built, admission was briefly permitted. The building bears signs of organic architecture. Organic or living architecture is characteristic with its organised and self-contained concept inspired by purpose, naturally ensuing from the functional naturalness of nature without disrupting the overall appearance of the location. Such is the case of the said villa, which follows the curve of the street. Grégr’s other buildings (Barrandovská 16, 20, 21, 25, Skalní 10 and Filmařská 4) already featured hip roofs with pantiles, rough plaster, verandas, walls made of Cyclops or half-timbering and other romantic elements, often complemented with element inspired by folk architecture. Some may find that the excessive romance is too much, but living in these villas was very comfortable and the various parties hosted there were even better – like those in the vast Barrandov villa on the terrace beneath Barrandovská Street, which was owned by Miloš Havel.
Another project is the famous Trilobit Bar, located at the end of the cascade terraces of Urban Restaurant, the villa in the Smíchov Hřebenky district (Nad Výšinkou 13), the villa in Hanspaulka - Dejvice (Na Viničných horách 44) or locations outside of Prague, like the residential building in Kolín on the corner of Kutnohorská and Mostní Streets and the stunning luxury weekend residence in Jevany, all bear a romantic touch and are certainly worth visiting.