Villa of the Composer Zdeněk Liška

Date –1959
Architect Zdeněk Plesník
Code Z7
Address Filmová 308, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Filmové ateliéry, točna (BUS 31)
GPS 49.2013047N, 17.6741592E
  • Petr Všetečka, 3 vily architekta Zdeňka Plesníka – katalog výstavy Galerie J. Fragnera Praha, Brno, Zlín, 2001

From 1946, the composer Zdeněk Liška worked as an external collaborator for the Czechoslovak State Film Department in Zlín. He lived with his family in a standard company duplex house in the Fabiánka district, which was built for the employees of the Kudlov studios in the 1930s by the Baťa company. Zdeněk Liška was then composing music accompanying commercials, short films for children, but also documentaries, including feature films by Miroslav Zikmund and Jiří Hanzelka: Africa I. (1951) and Africa II. (1953). Both travellers edited their films in Kudlov and in the early 1950s had their own villas built in the growing district of Nivy. The villas were designed by the Zlín architect Zdeněk Plesník, who completed this set of representative houses with the villa for Zdeněk Liška. The house is located on the outskirts of Kudlov in a place formerly called Chrástě. It is a two-storey house with a flat roof and a partially sunken basement, installed on a slight slope on a large plot of land near the forest. The exterior treatment is in many ways reminiscent of the two previous realisations. The north and east façades are made of face bricks combined with brick lining, complemented by windows with decorative linings. The house opens south to the garden, where the main aspect is defined by a large horizontal bay window with individual sash windows and infills under the windows made of prefabricated concrete. The bay window is supported by four white reinforced concrete columns, which also penetrate into the interior of the villa. The rhythm of the exterior is achieved by a system of grid patterns complemented by columns or window pillars. The treatment of the southern façade extends around the corner to the west, where there is a pergola with stone cladding. Here the motif of the colonnade is repeated. Smooth surfaces are replaced by a distinctive stone cladding, which also appears on the stairs, connecting the differences in height. The flat roof of the villa and the pergola are united by a fine ledge passing around the entire building. It is in this part that the house is most connected with the garden, which also includes a sunken pool. The richly-composed garden is, similar to the previous villas, part of the architectural design, intended to be a free meadow that changes during the year.
The interior layout is in many ways reminiscent of Jiří Hanzelka's villa. The entrance is situated on the east side next to the garage. The entrance area is connected to the cloakroom, from where we get to the U shaped staircase, which is located almost in the middle of the layout. This runs into the continuous space of the first floor. On the south side there is a living room, and Zdeněk Liška’s study, with a view of the surrounding countryside. The living room and study occupy almost a quarter of the living area of the house. Both rooms were separated by a subtle sliding wooden partition in which steel columns are inbuilt. In the eastern part of the house there are three bedrooms with a bathroom, in the west there is a kitchen and a dining area, which continues uninterrupted to the garden under a covered pergola. As with Zikmund's and Hanzelka's villas, there is also significant space for the owner's archive, which was placed in the basement, where it was complemented by cellars and other operating rooms.
Zdeněk Plesník again collaborated with Miroslav Navrátil on the interior. This furniture designer was an employee of the Uherské Hradiště branch of the research institute called the Development of the Furniture Industry of Brno. He was involved in the development of plastic, laminate, lamella, and bentwood furniture. He designed wooden lamella furniture for the previous villas, and the technological development he achieved in the institute is evident in Liška's villa. He is the author of the first egg-shaped thin shell chair, the form of which was inspired by the plastic chairs of Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinenen from the 1940s. In the living room, for example, there were thin shell armchairs, where the laminate shape formed the base under the upholstery. This set was supplemented by Navrátil's sofa. In addition to the piano, Liška's study was also equipped with built-in furniture and a library.
In 1975, Zdeněk Liška got divorced and the villa was bought by the Czechoslovak State Film Department. The house was adapted into a cartoon studio. From the end of the 1980s, it gradually returned to its original residential purpose and was divided into several housing units. Until this time, the villa remained in almost intact condition including built-in furniture. In 1994, the house was bought into private ownership, but remained uninhabited and gradually fell into disrepair. The original contents were stolen and the house was largely destroyed. In 2005, new owners renovated the villa, and instead of an open-air swimming pool, an extension was built containing a new indoor pool. This changed the character of Plesník's design, but the basic volume of the house and its details was preserved.