Firehouse ("House of Safety")

Date 1939–1941
Architect Miroslav Lorenc
Code Z14
Address Divadelní, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Divadlo (BUS 31, 70)
GPS 49.2246097N, 17.6698231E

The fire brigade in Zlín was established in 1884. With the development of the Baťa company, two brigades soon operated in the city - one directly in the factory area, while the other volunteer fire brigade was based in the old town hall until 1922; later it was moved to the former court building. However, even this place did not have enough space, and in 1939 the city council applied for permission to build a new fire station in Hřbitovní Street (today Divadelní).
Its author was the architect Miroslav Lorenc, who prepared several projects for the city in the late 1930s. The neighbouring building of the "Marianum" monastery was completed in 1938. In 1939, Lorenc designed the Electric Houses for officials, apartment buildings on Sokolská Street, and also the building of the new Firehouse known as the House of Safety. This is one of his last realisations before his arrest in 1940. The construction of the three-storey building was divided into two stages. In the first phase, which took place between 1939 and 1940, a house sized 16 x 18 metres was built. The main façade consists of a regular grid of three-part windows, which on the edge of the building is complemented by a prominent vertical element in the form of a strip window made of glass blocks illuminating the U-shaped staircase. A garage with a workshop, a warehouse, and a “Samaritan room” for nurses were placed on the ground floor. A spiral staircase in the garage connected the rooms to the first floor, where there was an equipment room with cloakrooms, a lecture hall, and two rooms with a kitchen and accessories. The second floor was used for public events; in addition to two social rooms, there was a social and lecture hall measuring 12 × 12 metres.
In the second phase, between 1940 and 1941, an extension of 12 x 18 metres was built, which connected in height to the eastern part of the firehouse, and the use of rectangular windows on the facade was the same as before. The main entrance leading to the vestibule with a staircase was inserted into the attached part. The largest space on the ground floor was occupied by garages, a car wash, and workshops. In addition to the two-room apartment with kitchen and service rooms, the new rooms of the attached building were reserved for offices. 
In addition to the firefighters and the Samaritan service, representatives of the civil anti-aircraft defence also found a base in the Security House. The new building was equipped with state-of-the-art technology with signal alarm equipment, and a permanent fire service operated there. 
Like the convent building – focused on providing services to orphans and elderly women – the new firehouse was to fulfil a social and community function in the centre of the city. The contents of both buildings complemented each other and were meant to serve public/city interests.

In 1957, a nationwide architectural competition was announced for the regional theatre building. The winners were the architects Karel Řepa and Miroslav Řepa, who invited František Rozhoň to cooperate. Construction took place between 1958 and 1960, and the fire station building became part of the project in order to reduce costs. It was extended to more than twice its original size on the west side and the two buildings were connected by a neck. The façade was modified to visually correspond in form to the theatre. The former House of Safety was fully adapted to the new needs of the Workers' Theatre. Plans from December 1959 show that the House of Safety's space was converted into a new director's office, secretary's room, offices, and several smaller apartment units. Workshops were located in the attached section. The original architectural plan changed, yet this change was implemented with respect to the surroundings and the original building. The architects of the theatre added details such as the canopy over the entrance with balconies on the west side and the rounded roof connecting the original and the added building. The new building preserves the height of the firehouse, and the size of the windows and their distribution in a regular grid on the façade, where there is also the glass block stairwell, also remained. In this form, the house is preserved to this day and still serves as the operating rooms of the Municipal Theatre in Zlín.