Hugo Vavrečka Villa

Date 1939–1941
Architect Vladimír Karfík
Code Z7
Address Stráže 3661, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Mokrá (BUS 33)
GPS 49.2376394N, 17.6542358E

Hugo Vavrečka (1880–1952), engineer, journalist, and diplomat, was one of the most influential figures in the corporate hierarchy after the death of Tomáš Baťa in 1932. He belonged to the inner circle of the company around the new owner Jan Antonín Baťa together with Dominik Čipera, František Malota, Josef Hlavnička, and others. In the absence of the owner during World War II, they actually took over the management of the
From 1941, Hugo Vavrečka and his family lived in the local part of Mokrá in a villa at Stráže, which was designed two years earlier by the architect Vladimír Karfík. The house was built on the sloping terrain near the forest, and was, according to the architect's memoirs, an experiment, the opposite of the standardised buildings that the Baťa Construction Department designed. The form of the villa, whose design reflected Hugo Vavrečka's own input, referred to the architectural style of Jan Kotěra, who designed the house for Tomáš Baťa, Vavrečka's friend. The fate of the villa is often mentioned in the memories of Vavrečka's grandchildren: Václav Havel and his brother Ivan.
In the plans the house is designated as No. I and in addition to Vladimír Karfík, the name of the architect Kubečka also appears on the drawings. The neighbouring house, No. II, built in the same period, belonged to another of the above mentioned directors, Josef Hlavnička. Their close relationship is evidenced by the path that connected the gardens of the two villas. Each of the buildings also has a courtyard on the north side with a roundabout and an entrance.
Hugo Vavrečka's villa, with separate living rooms and utility wings, resembles traditionally-built houses of the higher social class. The two wings perpendicular to each other are divided according to their functions. Family life and living rooms are situated in the main, two-storey part of the villa. There is a farm area in the ground floor wing. Both wings have a hip roof. Several details executed in diverse materials are applied on the façade, contrasting with the austere impression of the entire building. The stone foundation is complemented by brick cladding and columns, distinctive cornices are clad in wood, and the façades are treated with textured plaster. The windows were originally fitted with wooden shutters. On the eastern facade the window openings are lined with glass blocks, which illuminate the dining room.
The house is entered through a small entrance hall, where there is a single-arm staircase leading to the first floor. From the hallway one enters the common room with access to a spacious terrace. The common area is connected to the dining room and another room, which are separated by a wooden sliding door. When the sliding door is open a continuous space results, connecting the villa with the surrounding greenery. This motif is reminiscent of the principles of the work of architect F. L. Wright, to which Karfík often referred when designing villas.
On the ground floor there was another room and a kitchen with a preparation room. In the utility section there was a pantry, a room for a maid and a driver, and a garage for two cars. On the first floor there were three rooms with a dressing room, a bedroom, and a parents' bedroom with a dressing room and access to the terrace. There was also a laboratory and another bath in the hallway. In most rooms, herringbone flooring was used, the furniture was partially built-in, with sliding doors separating the rooms. The wall tiling on the ground floor was wooden. Travertine tiles are preserved in the entrance hall.
In 1945, the Baťa company was nationalised, and Hugo Vavrečka was removed from office and subsequently dismissed. In 1946, the family left the villa in Stráže and the house was transformed into a children's home. Hugo Vavrečka met a similar fate to the other directors. Like them, he was first charged with collaboration with the Nazis (1946), later acquitted, and two years on, in 1948, again charged in a fabricated trial. He did not enter prison thanks to the intervention of Klement Gottwald. He spent the last period of his life in Prague with his daughter.
Until 2007, the villa housed several school facilities. Later the building was converted for administrative purposes. In 2017, the villa was completely renovated according to the design of architect Josef Pleskot (AP ateliér). The family house became a luxury restaurant with the necessary facilities. The building has a basement, the former living rooms on the ground floor of the main building now serve guests, as well as the connected bedrooms upstairs. The basement was also transformed for the restaurant facility, where the foundations were strengthened. A new element, which differs in material from the rest of the villa, is the club space, which was created by expanding the basement with an all-glass porch. In the former farm wing there is a kitchen and preparation room, and the attic spaces are used.
To this day, the villa of Hugo Vavrečka testifies to Vladimír Karfík's ability as an architect to meet the strict company requirements regarding the use of funds for the construction of standardised buildings and at the same time to design luxury houses according to the needs of clients. Thanks to the recent work of Josef Pleskot's studio, quality contemporary architecture and historic architecture meet in the villa.