The first Structural Panel House G55

Date 1955
Architekti/ky Bohumír Kula, Hynek Adamec
Code Z5
Address Benešovo nábřeží 3716, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: U Splavu (BUS 33)
GPS 49.2291850N, 17.6787981E
After the Zlín researchers successfully completed a prototype of the first structural panel house called G40 in 1954, they also monitored the verification of the experimental series in Prague's Pankrác and prepared further innovations. The first such innovation was the extension of the G40 by a second, perpendicular wing. The corner house better suited the requirements for the compositional schemes of residential complexes of socialist realism, for which the G40 type with a predetermined north-south orientation was not very suitable. In a period catalogue, the new type made it possible to "create house blocks with more variety".
It received the designation G55 – as it was built in Zlín (then Gottwaldov) in 1955 and offered residents 55 flats. The designation G55 can therefore be interpreted either in the same way as in the case of G40, Gottwaldov / 40 flats, or 55 flats, or, as with later types, the number can be read as the year of construction of the prototype.
The construction system - the types of panels and distinctive features, such as the vertical columns on the façade hiding the chinks between panels, exactly matched the G40 type. Most of the innovations were in details and work procedures and were hidden from the user - changing the material of the insulation layer, installing steel door frames directly in the factory, increasing the thickness of ceiling panels, installing panels directly from trailers, changing the detailed project calculation, and assembling a new type of gantry crane. These invisible modifications and procedures were nevertheless important steps in verifying the applicability of the Zlín G types for the whole of Czechoslovakia.
Among the visible innovations is, of course, the form itself - the corner house. Although the system clearly corresponds to the earlier G40 system (number of storeys, composition of the panels on the façade, etc.), it also shows differences. The outer surface of the panels was coated with a layer of travertine brash, ie a relatively luxurious treatment. The entrance porticos are missing; the entrances are decorated with reinforced concrete, chiselled frames. Compared to the G40 prototype, the G55 type lacks the vertical division - the first floor is not visually separated or colour-coded, and so (like the later built G40s) lacks a kind of solid base, a seat. The "crown" with chalices is also missing.
The layout with the east-west window orientation is identical to the G40 type: two entrances, always four apartments on the floor, but only in the half, which is not connected to a perpendicular wing. In the corner section, it was necessary to design the layout in a new way, and in the perpendicular wing, which has its own entrance, to cope with the not very suitable orientation of the windows to the north and south. Unlike the G40 prototype, it does not exactly correspond to the cardinal directions, so even flats with an unsuitable position meet the daylight requirements. Designing the layout of the flats for the perpendicular wing must have been demanding, so it is not surprising that some of the flats lack the elegance of layout arrangement compared to the G40 prototype.
According to the schedule, works on the primary structure began in the spring of 1955, with a request for the installation of so-called well foundations - concrete parts of foundations used in unstable soil. By the beginning of July, primary construction was completed, and the building was completely finished by the end of the month. Compared to the prototype, Zlín engineers thus managed to significantly shorten the time of works following the primary structure. According to the publication Výstavba montovaných panelových domů systému „G“ (Construction of Prefabricated Structural Panel Houses of the "G" system) published in 1959, until 1958 only five of these houses were built, one in Zlín and four in Prague. Although it is possible to assume that these types of buildings were no longer made after 1958, more than just the aforementioned five G55 houses were actually built. In Prague's Strašnice neighbourhood there are five and there is another one in Pankrác.
The Zlín prototype is now insulated and the windows were replaced with plastic ones, while the neutral colour of the travertine facade was covered by a sober, yet different, warmer-coloured plaster.