Baťa's Dormitories

Date 1930–1937
Code Z2
Address Náměstí T. G. Masaryka 1335, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: náměstí Práce (TROL 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, BUS 31, 38, 70) Památník Tomáše Bati (BUS 53)
GPS 49.2213297N, 17.6629461E

Beginning in 1927, a new dormitory district was built near náměstí Práce for young unmarried employees and students of the Baťa School of Work. It was meant to solve the capacity problems that the accommodation department of the Baťa company had been struggling with for a long time. The author of the urban design was František Lýdie Gahura, who divided the buildings of collective dormitories into two rows (girls and boys). Between 1930 and 1937, a large boulevard, called náměstí Pionýrů (now néměstí T.G. Msaryka), was created on the northern slope near the Baťa centre.

The model for the boarding houses was the two-storey dormitory No. 855, built between 1925 and 1926 on the Malenovská Road according to the design by Alois Jambor from Hranice. He used the standard factory reinforced concrete construction system with a module measuring 6.15 × 6.15 m. The singular element here was the service gallery installed around the perimeter of the first floor, through which the individual bedrooms were entered. Each of the rooms has a separate entrance, which provided this temporary living space with greater comfort and privacy. The building also includes dining rooms, which served as common rooms. The service staircase and toilets were located in two outbuildings on the shorter sides of the dormitory. In 1965, this was pulled down and replaced by a new building.

The appearance of the dormitories subsequently changed, and later on the boulevard was defined by three- to five-storey buildings, which were arranged in two rows on a slope along the contour lines. As in the case of standardised factory buildings, a reinforced concrete skeleton (Pohr and Hennebique system), with a module of 6.15 × 6.15 m and a volume of 13 × 3  was used for the dormitories. The basic layout was rooms on both sides with an operating corridor in the middle and an entrance in the middle part of the building, from where a u-shaped staircase leads to the other floors. Older dormitories located directly above náměstí Práce had square columns, which were replaced by round columns after 1930. In order to maximise the space in the common rooms, the corridor was made as narrow as possible. The structural system of columns and floors show on the façade where it is filled up to the height of the windowsill with brick infill. The windows are divided into six sections, separated by a brick pillar. The change in the rhythm of the facade in the middle of the building indicates the entrance to the dormitory. The inner corridor is illuminated by two large windows divided into eight sections, with a lower windowsill.

The first building in the new district was dormitory number 1335 (today's Hotel GARNI). The author of the design was František Lýdie Gahura, head of the Construction Department. The plans for other boarding schools were designed, for example, by the pairs Martinec-Švarz, ing. Franc-Sovadina, Langfelder-Kubela, Martinec-Köhler and others. Many of them were employees of the Baťa company construction department, but similarly to the factory buildings, external collaborators and companies were also hired.

The layout of the dormitory rooms across the neighbourhood was very similar, but not identical. Some rooms on the accommodation floors were connected, others divided into storage spaces. There were approximately 22 rooms on the living floors, but the ground floor usage was different. Most frequently there were apartments for educators and building managers, but also common rooms, cafeterias, dining rooms, kitchens, shoe shine shops, libraries, barber shops, and garages. The numbers of accommodated young men and young women differed from one boarding school to another. In the period records you can find the number ​​of guests on one floor, which range from 85 people up to 440. On average, in the rooms there could be 5 young men and women, or unmarried graduates, compared to newcomers who shared a room with twenty other roommates. The interiors of the rooms were equipped with simple furniture and single and bunk beds.

Until 1991, the dormitories were the property of the former Svit company, which housed Czech and foreign students and employees of the company. Since 1992, they have gradually passed into private ownership and currently serve most often for commercial property, accommodation, and for school use. In many dormitories, the layout of the interior and the materials used were changed. However, the basic urban design was retained.