Náměstí Práce (Labour Square)

Date 1927–1945
Code Z1
Address náměstí Práce, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: náměstí Práce (TROL 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, BUS 31, 38, 70)
GPS 49.2225736N, 17.6608303E
  • Ladislava Horňáková, Fenomén Baťa, zlínská architektura 1910-1960 (kat. výstavy), Národní galerie v Praze 2009
  • , Náměstí Práce ve Zlíně I, Prostor Zlín, 2009, s. 41-51
  • , Přestavba náměstí Práce, Zlín sdělení zaměstnancům, 1935
  • Ladislava Horňáková, Náměstí Práce ve Zlíně IV, Návrhy na dostavby od Josefa Gočára a Bohuslava Fuchse, Prostor Zlín, Zlín 2009, s. 49-51
  • , Náměstí Práce ve Zlíně II - návrhy Emanuela Hrušky, Prostor Zlín, Zlín 2009, s. 45-47
  • Ladislava Horňáková, Náměstí Práce ve Zlíně III., návrh Vladimíra Karfíka a Jiřího Voženílka, Prostor Zlín, Zlín 2009, s. 46-47
  • Pavel Novák, Zlín nepostavený, Zlín 1999

Thanks to the prosperity of the Baťa company, Zlín became a fast-growing modern city in the interwar period with an unmistakable architectural style and pace of life. The development of the central space of the newly built corporate city – náměstí Práce (Labour Square) - depended on the development of the Baťa plant. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, there were manorial meadows and fields belonging to the then owner of the Zlín chateau and manor, the Brno administrative official and Deputy Stefan Leopold Viktor Haupt von Buchenrode.
With the rapid growth of the factory complex, it was necessary to design a representative space in front of its main entrance, where there was a large concentration of employees. The historic square with the town hall in the centre of Zlín began to lose its significance in the late 1920s. The construction of the new centre was initially rather haphazard and focused first on the area in front of what was then the entrance to the factory. Even the future chief architect and planner of Zlín, František Lýdie Gahura, did not in the first changes to the town plan the square in its current location. In 1927, he designed a park near the factory and created the public social space between the open wings of the newly built primary school, later called Masaryks School (demolished in 1988), and the first company department building constructed in 1926.
The development of the Baťa company and the entire factory complex over the next two years brought completely new requirements. The entrance to the factory, which had become the new centre of Zlín, was transferred west to the existing area of ​​náměstí Práce. Already in place was the first company department store (called the Market Hall from 1932), with a cinema, and the first boys' boarding school (1925, today the Hotel Garni). The first buildings were initially built based on the immediate needs of the company. In front of the new main gate of the Baťa plant three important solitary structures were built between 1930 and 1932 - the new company Department store (1931) and the Big Cinema (1932) by FL Gahura, and the Social House Hotel (1931–1932, since 1945 Moskva Hotel) originally designed by Miroslav Lorenc and completed by Vladimír Karfík. On the western side of the newly formed space there stood a dormitory from 1925 (later referred to as the Social Institute and demolished in 1965). The north-western part of the square was closed by the buildings of the factory complex of the Baťa company, and since 1937 the administrative building of the company – Building No. 21 by architect Vladimír Karfík, has become a landmark at the square.
The new square, aptly named náměstí Práce (Labour Square) according to the company's philosophy, was to become, in the spirit of progressive ideas of modern urbanism about an ideal industrial city, the main centre and a kind of business, cultural and social filter through which employees would pass on the way to and from work and also a large gathering place for important events. A whole host of important Czech architects and urban planners have been involved in its urban design since the 1930s.
Most of the square's designs came from the Zlín architect F. L. Gahura (1935, 1936–1937, 1939, 1940–1942). In the years 1940–1942, architects Josef Gočár, Bohuslav Fuchs and Emanuel Hruška also contributed designs. In 1946 V. Karfík continued working on this project. These were original and inspiring visions, but only a small fraction of them were realised - one of the buildings of the office complex, closing the western part of the square according to the plans of V. Karfík and Vladimír Kubečka. The six-storey building was completed in 1950 as the seat of the District National Committee, the Communist Party Committee, and the Regional Committee. Today it serves the public administration. 
The concept of the square was radically affected in 1979 by the underpass under the main street towards the newly renovated entrance to the factory, which was designed by architect Ladislav Pastrnek based on the requirements of the city and the Svit national enterprise. Of the other planned modifications, only the new building for Tomas Baťa University was completed (originally it was to serve as the seat of the District Committee of the Communist Party), again by architect L. Pastrnek. In 1995, according to Jiří Gebrian's project, a labour office building with an adjacent two-storey car park was built. The last changes took place during the reconstruction of the underpass, designed in 2014 by Pavel Chládek. In recent years, individual buildings on the square from the Baťa era have been gradually reconstructed. Current discussions around the renovation of the Big Cinema are fraught with problems. Despite a number of modifications, náměstí Práce still remains unresolved in terms of its overall concept and master plan.