Tešić mansion

Jaroslav Prhal, who was a Czech civil engineer and an architect, designed one of the most beautiful buildings in Gornji Milanovac (which is also its landmark) – the mansion of family Tešić. A rich merchant Vojimir S. Tešić ordered this mansion to be designed, and Vasilije Rakićević from Gornji Milanovac was a building contractor. It was built to be an impressive mansion in 1937. It attracted attention from the moment it was constructed owing to its original design. The concept of its design assumed a detached facility surrounded by a garden. It had both a lavish exterior and interior at the time when it was built. It had repairs over time, which disrupted its original design. The blueprint included a basement, the ground floor, the first floor as well as an attic (520 m2). Its interior design was suitable for an interwar mansion, and it was adapted to meet the needs of a family. This was a family house with a big and impressive room – a salon.

One can notice a contemporary architectural design on mansion’s exterior. The modernist concept is visible both at the front side overlooking the street, as well as at the back. The main entrance stands out with its steps and thin semi-circular pillars. A couple of round openings (oculi) on the lateral sides of the front door contribute to the beauty and decorativeness of the front part of the mansion. The front part of the mansion has a balcony with rounded ends along its entire lateral side of the first floor, which emphasises its horizontal line. Instead of an emphasised horizontal line, which represented a favourite motif of Serbian modernists, one can find here horizontal and vertical elements intertwined in a skillful way, which all contribute to the dynamics of the exterior. There is an additional entrance at the lateral garden side. The back part of the mansion, hidden from view, contributes to the revival of geometric shapes with its semi-circular shape of a balcony. In addition, another round window, oculus, was placed at the back part of the tower (where one can find a rectangular window instead nowadays). The garden can’t be seen from the street, and it contains that pleasant, intimate ambience for a family to enjoy themselves. One can reach the balcony from the hall and the dining room, and then the mansion’s garden by using the staircases on the lateral sides of the balcony. That way, the stunning interior would just get bigger by moving to the garden.

There is the entrance door, a hall, a staircase, a kitchen, a small dining room and a dining room, a salon, a study, and a bedroom on the ground floor. Those rooms were built for the everyday needs of the family. The salon is placed in the central front part of the ground floor, where one can find a living room with a fireplace and a staircase leading upstairs. Bedrooms – i.e. the private part of the mansion – were upstairs. There were additional rooms in the basement. The position of the rooms and their connections enabled comfort and the highest level of illumination.

Jaroslav Prhal belongs to the circle of creators of the interwar Serbian architecture. He left a permanent mark on its further development with his work. While designing successfully, he showed a high degree of inventiveness, as well as a diverse and creative expression. He moved to Belgrade in 1921 soon after the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the declaration of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. He was employed as an authorised civil engineer of the Czech civil engineering company “Arhitekta Matija Bleha”. The Prague bureau “Arhitekta Matija Bleha” which was very active between the wars – with the address in 19 Čika Ljubina Street – had numerous offices both in Belgrade and other cities. The branch office of the bureau “Arhitekta Matija Bleha” was founded in Belgrade in 1910.

There is no exact data on the time Jaroslav Prhal spent in our country, but his influence was certainly great. It was published in the Official newspapers that Jaroslav Prhal – an engineer in Belgrade who was born in Karlin and was a citizen of Czechoslovakia – became a citizen of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes together with his wife Gabriela, maiden name Pergalova. He took the oath on 11 March 1925.

Family Tešić’s mansion has a prominent place in the architecture of the town, as well as a significant cultural-historical and architectural-urbanistic value. It represents not only one of the most important modernistic buildings in its design in Gornji Milanovac, but also a building that makes Serbian contemporary architecture complete. It should be taken into consideration that German soldiers burned Gornji Milanovac to the ground in 1941 and that most of the paperwork on buildings was destroyed in the process. That is why studying and exploring architectural heritage, as well as contractors and architects is quite difficult. Owing to mister Vojimir Mandić’s respect and care for family heritage, the original blueprint of this mansion is preserved, which is priceless not only for the family, but also for all the researchers and people who admire architectural heritage left by the Czech architects and builders in our country.