Large-capacity Residential Building Gottwaldov with 210 Housing Units

Date 1971–1974 / 1969– (P)
Architect Palacký
Code Z15
Address Vodní 4201-4210, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Vodní (BUS 38)
GPS 49.2284575N, 17.6679931E

In 1967, a public architectural competition was announced for the design of the central area of Zlín. The chairman of the jury was Professor Bohuslav Fuchs, who himself dealt with the Zlín centre masterplan in the 1930s. A total of 9 design collectives took part in the competition. The first prize was not awarded, but the second prize was won by the team of Brno architect Jiří Gřegorčík. His study also included the solution for traffic problems at the right-bank road, and new buildings on náměstí Práce and náměstí Míru. These realisations did not take place, however, as both squares were to be developed in more detail in the next project. The spaces around Vodní, Revoluční (today třída Tomáše Bati), Murzínova (today Dlouhá), Kvítková and Lorencova streets were the first to get their turn. More detailed designs were to be prepared for the intended projects by the end of 1968. It is precisely in the peripheral parts of the centre that intensive construction begun in the 1970s. At that time, a large-capacity residential building with 210 residential units was also built on Vodní Street - on a place where there were previously approximately twenty family houses with gardens, which were gradually pulled down.
For the project task of building along Vodní Street, the basic data formulated on the one hand by the results of the competition, and on the other hand by the department of the chief architect, led by Adolf Zikmund, are known. According to the assignment, it was to be an individual building, the architectural solution of which should lead to "unique and original architecture" with regard to its location. The height was set to roughly 8 floors, and the capacity of the building to 210 residential units. The house with small apartments, as it was called, was intended to serve elderly or childless couples. The resulting form was designed by architect Jan Palacký from Stavoprojekt Gottwaldov. This graduate of Prague's UMPRUM started working in the already nationalised Baťa company with the architect Vladimír Kubečka, and belonged to a prominent group of architects who came to Zlín after the war, thus starting their career in already nationalised design offices.
The implementation began a few years later in 1971. The large capacity, flat-roofed house measures 15.2 x 109.1 metres in plan and faces north and south. The building has a distinct horizontal composition, which is made up of strips of brownish-red ceramic cladding under the windows. The space between the windows is treated with a grey-white textured plaster. The ceramic strip cladding also covers the sides of the structure. The inset balconies provide a vertical element on the façade. A reinforced concrete frame superstructure is placed on the roof. Architect Palacký also paid attention to the materials; the parterre is lined with limestone blocks. On the north side, there is a canopy that runs along the entire length of the building, and today smaller commercial spaces or offices are located here. The ground floor on the south side is recessed in such a way that its depth creates a roof over the entrances to the apartment sections and forms a generous archway stretching along the entire length of the south side, which is immediately adjacent to the park. The residents thus enjoy immediate contact with greenery even though they live just a few minutes from the city centre.
The house has seven floors with residential units and is divided into ten sections. It contains 210 units as required in the brief; seven 1+1 and fourteen 2+1 units per each of the seven floors. In each section, on the northern edge, there is a U-shaped staircase and a small elevator; in one section there are three apartments per floor. The loadbearing structure is made of frames with a module of 360 cm with brick infills and partitions. In the basement, there were cellars and laundry boxes, a mangle room with a dryer, and the necessary technical rooms. Underground parking was also planned, but for financial reasons was not built. For the same reasons, the originally planned more generous layouts of the apartments, which included a pair of symmetrically designed apartments in each section, were also changed. Each unit was to have a larger entrance hall with a pantry, a separate kitchen connected to the dining area and access to the balcony.
In 1998, another eighteen apartment units were built on the roof. The original transparent superstructure was completely covered and the character of the building was altered. Apart from these changes and the replacement of windows, the house remains in a relatively well-preserved condition, even with regard to the material solution of the façade and ground floor. The apartment house by Jan Palacký is one of the most architecturally successful large-capacity buildings in the extended city centre which were designed at the end of the 1960s. Their implementation during the 1970s, despite financial problems, stuck to the original concept as well as the good masterplan resulting from the architectural competition.