Residential Building Stalinova třída (Družba Complex)

Date 1958–1961
Code Z15
Address Třída Tomáše Bati, Zlín
GPS 49.2213872N, 17.6511906E

The Morýs houses and tower houses are a dominant feature of the eastern part of the city, which was built after the war according to the new master plan by a group of architects headed by Jiří Voženílek. Among the so-called new type houses, a core made of public buildings was to be inserted. The first plans to fill the space date back to 1947, when the study was prepared by architect Eduard Staša. On the basis of a narrower competition, the project of Arnošt Kubečka, a graduate of Brno BUT, who worked at Stavoprojekt Gottwaldov, was chosen at the end of the 1950s. In 1961, a ten-storey house was placed in the free space. The adjacent cultural centre consisting of a social hall, cinema and restaurant building was subsequently completed between 1965 and 1967.
The first version of the residential building was supposed to follow the appearance of the surrounding buildings. In 1959, however, the government commissioned five regions to develop "experimental projects" where "new lightweight materials and the most progressive methods" would be used in construction. In Gottwaldov, these were the panel house G59, the ten-storey house "Drofa," and the residential house of Arnošt Kubečka. The architects, together with the design team from the Research Institute of the Association of National Construction Companies (Sdružení národních podniků ve stavebnictví), had to verify through an experimental building that high-rise buildings can be realised "in panel", and that it is possible to construct a crane that would lift the panels up to the height of the tenth floor, and at the same time try to produce panels directly on construction. The panels were created in cooperation with technicians from the nearby panel factory in Malenovice, who used the new technological procedure of "fast steaming." The crane was constructed from steel pipes and the panel production was situated in the basement of a building under construction. The location directly on the construction site was designed to reduce transport costs, and it was supposed to be possible to transport the panel production and reuse it at a new location. In one day, twenty-four panels were to be prepared in two shifts (13 people each). In theory, one floor with eight apartments could be assembled in a week. 
The residential building has ten floors and (unlike the neighbouring Morýs houses) faces north-south. The rhythm of the facade is made by a regular grid of generous windows, which are complemented by subtle balconies arranged in a chequerboard pattern. The structural system of the residential floors is legible on the facade, where the pillars of the load-bearing walls rise above the last, recessed floor. Here, instead of apartments, there are studios for artists with a bigger floor to ceiling height; unlike the apartments, they have brick infills and reinforced concrete ceilings. Pillars with lintels line the terraces of the studios and make the recessed floor seem less heavy.
The construction of the basement and the ground floor is monolithic. Two shops - drugstores and a grocery - were placed on the ground floor. The living floors use transverse loadbearing panels, allowing the house to have three different apartment layouts. There are a total of 64 apartment units in the building - 16 three-room, 32 two-room and 16 single-room units. The house is divided into two symmetrical sections, which are entered through two entrances from the north side, while a U-shaped staircase connecting the individual floors is complemented by an elevator. The experimental house by Arnošta Kubečka, who lived in one of the apartments, remained the only example of its kind and the construction was not continued. In 1996, the facade was completely renovated, the outer shell was replaced with YTONG blocks, the railings were replaced, and the balconies have new sheeting. The originally visible panel joints are covered, and the colour of the facade has also been changed. The commercial units on the ground floor, which are still in operation and awaiting renovation, are not very well maintained. Unlike the social part of the Družba complex, the house still serves its original purpose and resembles the experimental construction of Gottwaldov architects. In contrast to the later mass construction of panel housing estates, the house has clear architectural qualities that are based on an innovative construction system that shows on the façade. Both the house and the complex complemented the urban development concept of the eastern part of the city and successfully disrupted the material unity given by the Morýs and tower houses.