Dominik Čipera Villa

Date 1939–1942
Architect Vladimír Karfík
Code Z7
Address Burešov 3675/4, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Burešov (TROL 4, 5, BUS 35, 36)
GPS 49.2353117N, 17.6903511E
Monument preservation Dominik Čipera Villa is a monument listed under the number ÚSKP 51533/7-9027

Vladimír Karfík's brief was to design a family villa for Dominik Čipera in the style of an English country mansion. Čipera was one of the closest collaborators of Tomáš Baťa, and he became mayor of the town in 1932 after Baťa's death, while at the same time holding the position of the company's director.
He had worked in the company since 1919, and in 1925 he became the company's procurator. He married Božena Klausová, whose guardian was Tomáš Baťa. Together with Jan Antonín Baťa and other directors, he headed the company during the greatest international boom. He actively supported the development of aviation and education, co-founded the Zlín School of Art, initiated the Filmové žně (Film Harvest) festival and, in the role of mayor, played a significant role in the promotion and development of regionalism.
At the time of Čipera's villa’s design, he served as Minister of Public Works of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The house is one of the largest private dwellings built in Zlín during the 1930s and 1940s; the building area is 1,700 m2, while the entire plot is 4,500 m2. The two-storey house was built between 1939 and 1942 in what was then the outskirts of Zlín, on a generous plot of land overlooking the city. Two perpendicular wings divide the house into a main (two-storey) and a utility (single-storey) part, which ends with a garage for three cars. The villa, similar to Vavrečka's or Hlavnička's, was designed on a plan in the shape of the letter L so that a courtyard with a roundabout and entrance is created in front of the building.
The exterior of the building is characterised by the tall chimneys and the hipped roof with several dormers on both wings. The eastern façade is symmetrically divided by window openings. In the middle there is a roofed entrance with round windows with stone lining on the sides. Protruding from the west façade there is a distinctive rounded terrace accessible from the rooms on the first floor. An important feature influencing the composition of the façade is the laying of bricks, which creates a subtle pattern unifying the entire building. The ground floor is separated from the first floor by a light cornice. Between the first and the second floor a line made of distinctive brick bonding is used, which is again applied under the roof. In addition to the bricks, other materials also appear - stone on the plinth and entrance areas, light coloured plaster, white window frames, etc.
The layout of the villa changed during construction. In contrast to the first plans from 1939, Vladimír Karfík enlarged the entrance hall into a representative space leading to a social salon. It is located between the dining room and the living room. All three rooms are separated by sliding partitions, so as to create an open, continuous space with a view of the surrounding greenery. The living room is connected to the study, which is also accessible from the hall. The pursuit of a continuous, free flowing space is a principle that Vladimír Karfík encountered in the work of Frank L. Wright, an American architect for whom he worked during his stay in the USA.
From the hall, a three-armed round staircase leads to the first floor, where there are two guest rooms, two dressing rooms, and bathrooms. The rooms of Čipera's sons Jan and Pavel are symmetrically located in the southern part of the building. Each room also has a study and a shared bathroom. From Pavel's study, as well as from the guest rooms, it is possible to access the west terrace. In the basement of the main section, in addition to cellars and fruit and vegetable warehouses, there was also a gym, from which one could go directly to the garden. In the attic were located maid's rooms and two storage rooms. A kitchen with a preparation room and a pantry was installed at the interface of both sections, and a separate space was dedicated to luggage and a drying room. Utility rooms were connected by a two-armed staircase leading from the cellar to the attic with other staff rooms.
In 1940, at the edge of the plot a house for a gardener-doorman was added. This ground-floor building made of face bricks is located on a slight slope, has a square floor plan and a tented roof, from which a distinctive chimney protrudes in the middle. Each of the façades is designed differently. The south side is highlighted by a bay window. A dormer and a roofed entrance stand out on the west façade, while the east side is symmetrically divided by window openings, which are complemented by a dormer on the roof.
Under the roof, the gardener's house is lined with a fine cornice made of regular brick bonding. The layout recalls the principles of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture, which evolves from a chimney located in the centre of the building. The building has a basement under the whole house. In the period documentation, in the basement, in addition to the laundry room, there was also a room for a servant accessible from the north side. The ground floor has a kitchen with a living room. From the hall a staircase leads to the attic, where there were two rooms with a bathroom. The house is still preserved in almost original form, including details.
The Čiperas lived in their villa for only three years. After the end of the war, Dominik Čipera was accused of collaborating with the Nazis, despite his active support of the resistance movement. In 1947 he was acquitted and he moved to Prague, and in the same year the couple donated the villa to the Baťa National Enterprise Support Fund. After the coup of 1948, Čipera was convicted (rehabilitated in 1993), but at that time the whole family had emigrated to London and then to Canada, where Čipera worked for Tomáš Baťa Jr. The house served as a children's home for decades and underwent many changes.
The otherwise well-preserved exterior is disrupted by the current roofing of the terrace. The interior has kept its original materials, especially in the main building (wood panelling in the entrance areas, marble fireplace, wooden sliding doors and built-in furniture in the former study). A significant intervention in the expression of the ensemble of the villa and garden was the construction of a home for the elderly in the southern part of the original garden plot. This became the new dominant visual structure in this part of the city.