Baťa Film Studio

Date 1935–1936
Architect Vladimír Karfík
Code Z9
Address Filmová 174, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Filmové ateliéry, točna (BUS 31) Filmové ateliéry (BUS 31)
GPS 49.2006619N, 17.6709372E

The first film studio in the area was built in an undeveloped part of Kudlov, a small village about 2.5 km from Zlín. Until the establishment of what was known as Greater Zlín in 1938, Kudlov was an independent municipality with older buildings and adjacent land, which served almost exclusively for agricultural purposes. It was here in hilly terrain in the middle of forests and meadows that filmmakers found an ideal quiet place for shooting and processing films. 
The new building was to assist the promotional and film making ambitions of the Baťa company, at that time represented by Jan Antonín Bata. The importance of the film studio is evidenced not only by top equipment from abroad, but also by the speed with which the building was built - in less than nine months (from September 1935 to early June 1936).
Further evidence of the studio’s importance is the fact that the author of the design was Vladimír Karfík, head of the Construction Department of the Baťa company. At the time of design, the architect had six years’ experience working for the rapidly expanding company, flexibly using the 6.15 × 6.15 m modular system for various types of buildings - in addition to factory buildings, there were hotels, schools, and churches. The Baťa system also served well for the building of film studios, where Karfík took advantage of his experience from study and practice in the USA, where he visited Hollywood.
The building with a flat roof was designed as a standard factory building. It is built on a slope and has a partial basement. Inside, the house is divided into an administrative part and the studio itself, which permeates all floors. This functional layout is also reflected in the design of the façade, where the studio is almost completely lined with face bricks, which is broken only by a group of smaller windows and a utility entrance to the building. The studio measures approximately 18.45 × 12.3 m, and there are no columns inside. The roof is supported by steel lattice girders, which also carry footbridges with railings for technical support and film lighting at a height of 9 metres. The shooting area was illuminated by a total of 25 light bulbs and 5 carbon reflectors. For acoustic reasons, the walls and ceiling were lined with wood wool panels.
The studio is slightly higher than the administrative part, whose façade is divided by reinforced concrete columns of circular cross-section and brick infills. Each module is equipped with four four-part windows. In the staircase area this grid is changed to a combination of two- and four-part windows. The building is lined with a subtle roof ledge. The main entrance is situated on the south side. The double door leads to a spacious hall, which combines office space with an area for equipment and props. A narrow insulated corridor connects the administrative space with the studio.
In the end module there is a U-shaped staircase. On the first floor, there are dressing rooms for actors, actresses, and extras, as well as showers and a projection room for reviewing unfinished films. The second floor is used to store documentary film material. There are editing rooms for film assembly, a room for copying films, and a concrete archive. The basement serves as a storeroom for film constructions (scenery, furniture, carpentry, etc.). In addition, there are laboratories for film processing. The layout of each floor is different and takes full advantage of the skeletal 6.15 × 6.15 m system. 
The capacity of the film studio's building soon ceased to suffice, so in the course of the 1940s, a temporary ground-floor structure and a transformer station building were added in the vicinity of the studio. In 1944, a fire broke out in the studio, destroying the archive, editing room, and copying facility on the second floor, and a year later the building was damaged by shells during the liberation. Nevertheless, operations soon resumed and the film complex expanded during the second half of the 20th century to include a laboratory building and other operations.
No housing units were allowed in the building, so a standard company semi-detached house was built just a few dozens of metres away in parallel with the construction of the studio. In the early years, electrician Emil Poupera and carpenter Karel Paták lived there. After the establishment of Fabiánka, a new district intended for studio employees, the original house was demolished. At present, the film studio building belongs to a private owner and still performs its former purpose. The last film was shot there in 2018. The former entrance was moved and a new building is attached to the original structure on its south side.