Office House

Date 1947–1950
Code Z10
Address Třída Tomáše Bati 3792, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Poliklinika (TROL 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 11, 12)
GPS 49.2219003N, 17.6571225E

During the 1940s, no new public buildings were built in Zlín. A number of municipal institutions operated in a temporary mode - the state savings bank and a post office were located in the town hall, both remaining there until the early 1950s. The city's national committee therefore commissioned a proposal for an office house in 1947, in which the tax office, the national committee, the security department, and other public administration departments were to be placed. For these purposes, a plot of land was to be used which was near to the western edge of náměstí Práce by Benešova Street (now Tomáš Bata Avenue) and near to the factory complex and the Letná neighbourhood.
The authors of the design were Vladimír Karfík and Vladimír Kubečka, both former employees of Baťa's construction department, who took part in the company's construction during the 1930s and 1940s, and after World War II worked on a new master plan.
The project documentation from 1947 shows the intention to design the complex in the shape of the letter H. For financial reasons, the project was divided into three stages. In the first stage, the existing seven-storey house orientated north-south was built, which in the design forms the lower wing. The main entrance to the building was intended to be in the inner connecting section. A generous hall and meeting room were located in the middle three-storey tract. There were insufficient resources to implement the middle and southern wings however, and consequently they remained on paper. The parking spaces were located in the street next to the south (non-existent) wing, which was to have the character of a side street. After the completion of all stages, these buildings would have closed the still-unfinished náměstí Práce.
Architects Vladimír Karfík and Vladimír Kubečka opted for the proven layout of a middle hallway flanked by offices on either side using a factory module of 6.15 x 6.15 m. In the middle corridor, the module is reduced to 3.2 x 6.15 m. The structure is made of reinforced concrete frame and lightweight bricks. The façade has a vertical composition. In each module there is a regular grid of four rectangular windows of the American type, with pillars between windows made of prefabricated concrete blocks and with concrete window sills.
The simple rectangular shape of the building is complemented in its centre by a triple- vaulted roof, which highlights the main facade of the building. In the central part of the building there is a generous U-shaped staircase, which is part of the entrance hall, connecting all floors; there was also a paternoster lift and a personal elevator. The representative interior in the entrance area was reminiscent of official buildings from the interwar period - the herringbone wooden floors were complemented by terazzo and zlinolit rubber flooring in the offices, the vestibule was clad with light granite, and stone cladding appeared on the stairs. The offices were separated by prefabricated partitions, and there were waiting rooms and sanitary facilities on each floor.
The original layout of the complex of buildings in the shape of the letter H was never realised and the proposed urbanism was later changed. In 1975, multi-capacity garages were built on the south side, and in 1990 a new Tomáš Baťa University building (today's U2, Faculty of Management and Economics) was built nearby. In 1999, the building of the former Office House served as the seat of the public regional administration. Due to lack of space, however, the building was extended. The design was carried out by architects Štefan Čilík and Martin Frank in two stages. In the first stage, the building was raised by one floor using a roof superstructure. The façade of the new, eighth, floor was made of light grey aluminium wall profiles, which do not seem to correspond sensitively with the original façade. This intervention also disrupts the original composition of the building as the middle elevated part of the roof becomes almost invisible from the street. According to the design, in the second stage, a new building was built in the eastern part, where the Labour Office is located today. 
Despite significant interventions in the architectural appearance and urban concept, the building is an important example of Zlín's post-war architecture; it is the first example of a public building in Zlín where no face bricks were used.