About the Jested
HISTORY AND CONSTRUCTION
This massive quartz crag was, until the 1840s, almost untouched by man. On the peak an erect cross had stood alone since way back. At first a wooden cross had been erected here, then from 1737 to 1812 two stone crosses, and then once again a lone wooden cross. The last, a six metre high cross, was ceremonially erected above Liberec on 1st June 1990.
Florián and Barbara Hasler, a couple from Hanychov, began to carry food and drink to the summit of Ještěd in 1844, because soldiers had temporarily been stationed there to keep the peace during a period of disturbance among the local textile workers. Three years later a log-cabin was built on Ještěd by the forester Hebelt, which the Haslers rented. The cabin soon burnt down, but in 1850 the determined Mrs. Hasler built another shelter for visitors, mainly out of cobbles lying around, in a rocky niche. The number of visitors visibly rose from 1863–1867 when the road from Liberec to Podještědí was finished. At this point the Haslers decided to build a more substantial cottage on the peak of Ještěd, capable of providing lodging for tourists. It was finished in 1868, but the autumn winds swept through the rafters in all directions, and the cottage didn’t open its doors to the first visitors until the following year. In 1909 the cottage was bought by the German Mountain Association for the Ještěd and Jizera Mountains, having already built, at their own expense, a veranda capable of holding 200 people in 1885. The number of visitors to Ještěd grew so much that the mountain association decided to build a massive mountain lodge, indeed a mountain hotel, on the peak of the mountain.
In 1906 the builder Schäfer presented his own design, and in June of that year, work on the building began. It was completed in a mere six months, and the new lodge was opened on 13th January 1907. As well as a basic hostel, there were also 23 guest rooms. The communal hall could seat 200 people, and another 50 seats were available on the veranda. The lodge also had a high tower. Ještěd boasted this irreplaceable landmark on thousands of postcards and photographs until 31st January 1963. On that night the Ještěd hotel burnt down. This was the result of inexpert defrosting of water pipes. A mere year later the old cottage suffered the same fate. This was being used only as emergency accommodation for the workers who were clearing the rubble from the burnt down hotel. In the space of only one year fire had destroyed the old history of Ještěd.
After several years of deliberation the foundation stone of another hotel was laid on the peak of Ještěd, which adorns the mountain over Liberec to this day. Construction, however, lasted somewhat longer than on that built by Schäfer. It wasn’t until 1973 that this striking, and in Bohemia previously unimaginable, silver cone was completed.
The two wooden lookout towers are also part of the history of Ještěd. The older one stood on the peak of Ještěd from 1876–1889. It was only 7.6 m high, but as the mountain was only covered with low floral growth, it was sufficient. The second Ještěd lookout adorned the peak of the mountain from 1889–1903. Four years later visitors to Ještěd could look out into the distance from the massive stone tower of the Ještěd hotel.
The transmission tower building rests on a circular, 1 m thick ferro-cement base with a diameter of 13.4 m, beneath two basement floors at a depth of 9.4 m below ground level, at height above sea level of 1415.15 m. The main weight-bearing shaft on which the hotel construction and the parabolic antenna floor, with its laminated cowling, are attached, extends for 33.00 m; It is formed of a ferro-concrete tube with an external diameter of 5.00 m and a wall thickness of 0.30 m, and pre-stressed floor slabs in both the hotel and the antenna floor: This section was the work of the Pardubice company Průmstav. Above this, from a height of 26.96 m, a steel shell continues with a diameter varying from 10.50–1.62 m to a height of 70.96 m. The following weight-bearing laminate cylinder of diameter 1.9 m and with a wall thickness of 16–12 mm originally extended to a height of 88.48 m, but following reconstruction in 1997 it was extended by almost 3 m to a height of 91.46 m. This laminate extension is covered with a steel hood. The diameter of the sheathed rotating hyperboloid at 3.75 m is 32.20 m.
The external appearance of any work is what, above all, guarantees the attention of the viewer and is effective in shaping their opinion. Unfortunately, however, this remains, in by far the majority of the public, and indeed publicists, the only viewpoint, and as well as their own loss there is the loss of the just evaluation of the benefits brought by others who worked on the project. This is certainly not to demean the accomplished face of the structure and its rootedness in the natural environment, its links to road, power lines and pathways; however we must neglect neither the security nor the economic feasibility of the building, its suitability and the quality of it’s construction. Ideally, the demands of all these prerogatives are met simultaneously, such that none of them forcibly reduces the possibilities of another. The shape of the Ještěd transmission tower assuredly meets these requirements: gradually continuing the silhouette of the hill, the simultaneous broadening at the foot providing space for a hotel, and its peak ideal positioning for antennae. The widening towards the base of the tower, even if, in its lower section, this is optically created by the canopy shielding the special antennae and the curtain wall around the hotel, the resulting increase in tension from the very weight of the structure, and from the wind, on which the human eye is accustomed in structures of this type from the tower of Babylon, the Eiffel tower and the original factory chimney to a modern television tower. And this is reflected in the genesis of this shape, which was the work of, as well as Arch. Hubáček, the structural engineer Zdeněk Patrman (1927–2001), and Zdeněk Zachař (1925–2005, who emigrated to the USA in 1968 as a consequence of which his contribution to the project ceased to be officially recognized).
Concerning the central, steel part of the tower it is only right to mention Ing. Vlastimil Křupka, DrSc. (*1927) from the he Brno Military academy. It is formed of a shell in the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid becoming cylindrical at a height of approx. 50.00 m. The total height of the steel shell, built onto the ferro-concrete construction of the hotel and up to the canopy for the antennae, is 44.50 m. The shell, with a diameter of 10.5 m at the base (at a height of 26.96 m) and of 1.62 m (at a height of 70.96 m) is strengthened with ribs; the steel sheet has a minimum thickness of 6 mm, and was produced by Vítkovice steel works. This system of construction, which is both advantageous and economic was first proven by Prof. Křupka in the early 1960’s on the 180 m high television tower on Buková hill near Děčín (1961–1965) and on Cukrák near Prague (1961, still in operation), and as a result it was employed here. A laminate extension is fitted to the steel section. This has a diameter of 300 mm greater than the steel “spire” beneath it, as required by the television antennae and the space necessary for manipulation around them.
Awards for the building | UIA Auguste Perret Prize (1969)
Building of the century (2000)
Chief architect | Karel Hubáček
Interior design of the hotel and restaurant | Otakar Binar
Static engineers | Zdeněk Patrman, Zdeněk Zachař
Building construction | Josef Patrman a Václav Bůžek
Quantity surveyor | Jaroslav Koucký
Electro-installation | Slávek Zrůst
Air conditioning and heating | Otta Valouch
Building height | original 82 m, at present 90 m
Diameter of foundations | 33 m
Foundation stone laid 30. 7. 1966
Investor | Radio Communication Authority, Prague
Total cost | 64,000,000 Kčs in 1973
General supplier | Pozemní stavby, Liberec
Ingstav Pardubice | concrete pillar
Vítkovické železárny | steel construction
Glaverbel | Ještěd glazing (originally Stopray Gold insulating double-glazing, at present Stopray Silver 43/25 6 mm -10- Planibel clear 6 mm insulating double-glazing
Zukov Praha | aluminium surface coating
Rudné doly Ejpovice | fibreglass sheeting covering the antenna
Angling federation | 11 m long structural rods for securing fibreglass sheets