Winter Stadium

Date 1952–1964
Architect Šebestián Zelina
Code Z10
Address Březnická 4068, Zlín
GPS 49.2174625N, 17.6599592E

The ice hockey unit of the Baťa Sports Club was founded in Zlín in 1928. The first matches took place on the field near the factory complex and their number corresponded to the temperatures offered by the winter months; during 1931, the hockey team played only six matches. "Ice hockey, the sport of the future", as advertised in the Baťa press, became an increasingly popular discipline. It could not have grown, however, without the construction of a winter stadium. When it was completed in 1964, Gottwaldov became another regional city where large-capacity sports venues were being built to support state-run "unified physical education."
In the area of the Březnický brook on the edge of the Letná neighbourhood and not far from náměstí Práce, a new winter stadium was built in three stages according to the design of architects Josef Kriške, Šebestián Zelina, and with a roof structure designed by structural engineer Josef Zeman. The stadium is located in a valley, above the creek bed, so it is partially sunk into the terrain between the two roads. Its location protects it from both flooding and groundwater. 
Construction started in 1953. The main investor was the Gottwaldov National Committee, and the operator of the building was Tělovýchovná jednota Gottwaldov (the Gottwaldov Physical Education Union). The total costs amounted to CZK 15.5 million. The final technical design was done by Stavoprojekt Brno, Gottwaldov branch.
During the first stage, the rough construction of the main building was completed, the eastern slope was secured, and the eastern grandstand was built. Also, the ice rink started operating. In the second and third stages, the main building was completed, which houses auxiliary operations, stadium management, and the box office. The symmetrically-divided northern façade is defined by protruding pillars and traditional face brick masonry. The main entrance is located in this area.
One of the most appreciated elements of the stadium is its roof. It was designed by Josef Zeman (1922–1997), a graduate of the Institute of Steel Structures of the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Czech Technical University. He worked at the Metallurgical Design Office in Prague, where he designed dozens of sports halls, stadiums, and bridges. The Gottwaldow Stadium was covered with a pair of load-bearing steel arches which met at the top. This structure forms the main supporting system and the top forms a skylight 54 metres long and 10 metres wide. The arches with a span of 85 metres lie in inclined planes so that at the top they merge and lean on each other. This static system makes it possible to transmit the effects of vertical and horizontal forces in the transverse and longitudinal directions. The arches installed longitudinally do not limit the view of the spectators to the space of the hall measuring 85 × 64 metres. The roof cladding consists of galvanized sheet metal roofing on steel rungs. Thanks to the extensive glazing, the hall did not have to be lit during the day.
The hall could house as many as 9,200 spectators, 2,200 seated. The interior of the stadium was equipped with plastic seats coloured red and blue. The athletes' locker rooms, located under the grandstands, were complemented by a sauna and a swimming pool. It was intended that the stadium building should serve not only as a sports facility but also as a cultural venue, and year-round use was expected with the possibility of assembling a stage for performances, and a summer cinema. These plans were never fulfilled, however, and from the beginning of its operation, the stadium has served solely as a sports ground. 
The winter stadium is one of the important public buildings of the 1960s, and its distinctive roof is one of the city's landmarks. In 1977, a sports hall was built in its immediate vicinity according to a project by Miloš Totušek and a resting place was created in between the buildings. A training hall was also completed behind the stadium. Since 1990 the sports ground has been named after hockey player Luďek Čajka, who died of his injuries after a match in Košice, and is used by the PSG Berani Zlín hockey club. Like the sports hall, the winter stadium is in poor physical condition and is awaiting complete renovation. The façade of the building is marred by visual smog and excessive digital advertising.