The Radiocommunication Building

Date 1975–1979
Code Z10
Address Vodní 1972, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Vodní (BUS 38)
GPS 49.2291833N, 17.6681331E

The Radiocommunications Building is located near the central part of the city, at Vodní Street. At the end of the 1970s, a block consisting of three buildings was built on the plot of former gardens, in the immediate vicinity of the railway tracks and the Dřevnice river. The dominant office building was supplemented by a single-storey building of auxiliary operations and a supermarket.
The author of the design was Daniela Jungwirthová, one of the few female architects who affected the shape of the city through master plans and the design of industrial and administrative buildings. This graduate of the Brno Faculty of Architecture specialised in masterplans and industrial construction, and since 1967 she has worked at Centroprojekt, often collaborating with Ivan Přikryl. Her realisations include a gas heating plant (1993) in the factory complex in Zlín and the Slavotex administrative building in Trenčín. Daniela Jungwirthová worked in the design office until 1992, when she and her husband set up their own studio. In the first phase the building was divided into three parts, mainly for financial reasons and due to the participation of many investors. One of them was Drogerie Jihlava and another was Správa radiokomunikací v Praze (the Prague Radiocommunications Administration), for which two remaining buildings were designed: a single-storey building and a four-storey building with a flat roof. In 1976, the project was changed by the addition of a new investor, Ředitelství výstavby spojů (the Directorate for the Construction of Communications), and the building was increased by three floors.
The resulting building with a rectangular floor plan measuring 19 × 15.4 metres has seven floors, the loadbearing structure consisting of a skeletal system developed by Industrial Buildings Gottwaldov. In the utility section the building has a horizontal composition with a regular grid of double wing windows and bands of masonry underneath, clad with a brick lining. This part is contrasts with the vertically-conceived south façade with a distinctive fire escape staircase with a light-coloured winding banister. The combination of brick and light plaster is used under the windows, on the pillars, but also on the ground floor columns and in the adjacent buildings. The west façade is highlighted by the narrow vertical volume of the structured glass lift tower. The layout of the Radiocommunications Building consists of a narrow corridor in the middle flanked by offices on both sides and a U-shaped staircase and elevator in the western part. On the ground floor, in addition to the entrance hall, there was a cafeteria and a battery room. On the first floor there were maintenance rooms and on the second there were telephone exchanges, a meeting room, a photo chamber, and other offices. The third floor served as an archive and also the background of the inspection room. The upper floors were used by the Directorate for the Construction of Communications as premises for managers and clerks and associated workplaces. Both adjoining buildings supplementing the main block are single-storey with brick walls and load-bearing brick pillars; both were covered with reinforced concrete ceiling panels. The uniform appearance is given by the use of the same materials on the façade.
Photos of the Radiocommunications Building were a feature of most of the official publications and guides to Gottwaldow. To this day, it is an example of high-quality post-war architecture, which intentionally developed the Baťa aesthetics and at the same time continued the period construction carried out by local design offices, such as Centroprojekt, S-projekt, and Pozemní stavby Gottwaldov. Currently, the main building is used for office space and other rentals. The former supermarket operates as a paint and varnish store. The house awaits renovation. Most affected are the façades, obscured by inappropriate advertisements, tarpaulins, and other visual smog covering even the sculpturally-shaped staircase and most of the open spaces.