Winter Spa (25m pool)

Date 1946–1950
Architect Vladimír Karfík
Code Z10
Address Hradká 888, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Zlín, zimní lázně
GPS 49.2216700N, 17.6697175E
Monument preservation Winter Spa (25m pool) is a monument listed under the number ÚSKP 50896/7-8952

In the mid-1930s, the management of the Baťa Corporation sent their technical staff to the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to study the best European swimming pools and bring inspiration back to Zlín. The original spa, located next to the power plant, no longer met the needs of the ever-growing town. In 1935, therefore, the architect Vladimír Karfík developed a swimming pool project with a 25-metre-long pool with the possibility of organising swimming competitions and water polo.
In addition to the preserved winter spa, Karfík was also the author of the now non-existent heated swimming pool at the factory complex in Zlín. 
At the time of the preparation of the design, the exact location of the indoor spa had not yet been determined, but the concept of opening the glazed south façade during the summer months so that bathers could enjoy sunbathing on the lawn in front of the pool, was introduced in the period text. 
This plan was not completed until after World War II, however, between 1946 and 1948. The structure was again designed by Vladimír Karfík in collaboration with Josef Holeček and Ladislav Ambrožek. The winter spa was built on the site of the former Baťa brickyard, close to the school grounds and boarding houses. In addition, the youth stadium, which is immediately adjacent to the spa, expanded the new sports possibilities.
The two-storey building with a flat roof stands on a sloping plot and is orientated north-south. The regular order and skeletal structure refer to pre-war factory buildings, but the span between the columns increased from the typical Baťa 6.15 m to 6.80 m. The building consists of two separate operating units; this division is also reflected in the exterior of the building. The swimming pool, which is surrounded on three sides by accompanying utility rooms, is located in the southern elevated half of the building, which is characterised by a rectangular, axially symmetrical layout. The main façade is highlighted by a glass entrance hall with a staircase, which symmetrically divides the building. 
The rhythm of the individual floors is defined by wide brick infills and strip windows divided by subtle columns. The fully-glazed south façade is directly adjacent to the pool. Thanks to the generous glazing, the indoor pool area naturally connects with the surrounding greenery. The design also included two spiral staircases allowing direct access from the pool to the outside and the lawn.
The spa building is entered through a vestibule into a spacious hall, where there is also a built-in cash register with light wooden paneling, which connects to the display cases. The ticket sales area is accentuated by a line of lighting above the cornice passing over three sides of the vestibule. The bifurcated organically-rounded staircase connects the entrance part with the first floor, which is divided into women's locker rooms (in the southern half of the building) and men's locker rooms (in the northern half). 
From the hall one also entered the bathtubs and steam bath. There were also services such as hairdressers and masseurs, and a relaxation room with a small pool. This symmetrically-divided background was complemented by changing rooms for school children, club rooms, and showers, which led to the main pool. 
The swimming pool measured 12 × 25 metres with six swimming lanes, covered with a wavy soffit. The staircase leading to the grandstand was rounded. There was a restaurant with a view of the pool. Fine details, round tubular railings, and the soft transition of staircase shapes refer to organic functionalism, and its fondness of nautical motifs. Vladimír Karfík also designed a social house in the Díly district (1937) and the Film Laboratories building in Kudlov (1951) using similar forms.
At the time of its opening, the winter spa was one of the best-equipped facilities of its kind in the country. The baths were to serve approximately 800 people a day, the steam baths 500, and the pool could be used by up to 2,000 swimmers. The depth of the pool ranged from 80 cm to 3.5 metres, and there were two diving boards. All rooms were heated by the Crittall system with radiators built into the walls, ceiling, and floors. The pool tub used the Sportfonsenbad design principle, where the water was filtered in a lower tank, into which water from the pool was routed for thorough cleaning. 
Since the 1960s, the spa has undergone gradual modifications to ensure better operation, serving the changing needs of visitors. Gradually, the bathtub area was discontinued. Services were expanded to include pedicure, and better facilities for employees were built. One unfavourable intervention was the removal of the undulating ceiling in the pool area and the use of inappropriately coloured ceramic tiles. The interior still retains many original features, however, such as staircases with railings, colourful mosaic tiles, and lighting fixtures. In 1985, a new building with a 50-metre pool was added to the spa, this building connected to the original structure with a glass neck. Today, the space between the buildings is complemented by an outdoor pool.