Josef Hlavnička Villa

Date 1939–1941
Architect Vladimír Karfík
Code Z7
Address Stráže 3662, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Mokrá (BUS 33)
GPS 49.2377036N, 17.6552019E
  • Pavel Novák, 10 + 1 baťovských vil, Zlín 2000

The villa of Josef Hlavnička belongs to a group of four so-called directors’ villas for members of the top management of the Baťa organisation - Dominik Čipera, Hugo Vavrečka, František Malota, and Josef Hlavnička. They were designed by prominent corporate architect Vladimír Karfík at the beginning of World War II. Each of the villas is characterised by a unique concept according to the ideas and requirements of the individual builders.
Josef Hlavnička chose for his representative villa a wooded sloping plot of land on the outskirts of Zlín, in the local part of Mokrá, in an area called Pod Paseckým potokem. Hlavnička decided on a romantic historical concept, inspired by the English and American colonial style. He was issued a building permit on July 13, 1939. Architect Karfík, who otherwise designed strictly conventional buildings for the Baťa company, was able to respond to the client's request and achieve the desired feel by the chosen architectural means. He designed a relatively conservative multi-storey building (322 m2 of built-up area), in which he alternates symmetry with asymmetry, and the red gabled roof made of terracotta tiles with a light coloured facade. On the facade he used elements of artificial stone of ochre shade and plaster with a rough structure. On the ground floor there are large segmented windows, some complete with shutters. Upstairs the windows are arranged regularly (all with shutters), while in the utility part there are dormers in the attic in the gable roof.
The main two-storey section with a cellar is connected to the curved utility section by an attic. Like all director's villas, the Hlavnička villa has a generous space in front of the main entrance, which creates a small square-like space with a roundabout and greenery in the middle. The north-facing main entrance has a vestibule leading to the hall, tucked under a semicircular staircase. From the hall with a dressing room you enter a large living room with a fireplace and a living room, also with its own fireplace. The two rooms were connected by a winter garden, from which a double-glazed door led to the garden. The living room is followed by a dining room and a covered terrace overlooking the park. The building is linked to the utility section by a preparation room, kitchen, and a pantry. In this part are garages and a spiral staircase for staff to their accommodation in the attic. Above the double garage was the caretaker's apartment. In the main building an organically-shaped staircase leads to the upper floor through the dressing room, bathroom, and toilet to the parents' bedroom. From the bedroom you enter the terrace located above the winter garden. Next to the bedroom are three children's rooms and a guest room with separate bathroom and toilet. The original furniture has not been preserved. A pavement leads around Hlavnička's plot, to another famous residence, where Hugo Vavrečka lived.
Josef Hlavnička (1897–1943) was one of the best-known and most capable directors of the Baťa company. He was one of the closest collaborators of Tomáš and Jan A. Baťa and one of the most popular members of the management. Hlavnička tragically died on his return to Zlín from his farm in Litenčice at the crossing near Zdounky, where a train crashed into his car. His death was particularly poignant for inhabitants of Zlín during the occupation, and the magnificent funeral ceremony was of a scale similar to the farewell to the company's founder Tomáš Baťa. Josef Hlavnička's widow, Marie, Jan A. Baťa's sister, lived in the villa until the end of the war. The destiny of the house closely resembles those of the other director's villas. The owners, who had invested their own means into developing the buildings, had to leave the villas after 1945. The Josef Hlavnička Villa was adapted into an orphanage. The interior was adapted for the operation of the children's home, and its equipment corresponded to this. However, the decisive devastation of the house did not occur until 1992, when the building passed into private hands. The then owners destroyed the original plaster, windows, doors, and floors as part of the reconstruction. Fortunately the plan to demolish the winter garden was not realised. With a new owner, the restoration followed, mostly in the form of replicas of the original elements. Scenes of the famous war film Death Is Called Engelchen (1963) were filmed in Hlavnička's villa. Today, the renovated building belongs to a private company.
An application for the villa to be registered as a Listed Building was filed on June 5, 1996, but it has not yet been processed.