The Villa of Leopold Král

Date –1930
Architect Miroslav Lorenc
Code Z14
Address Čepkovská 1792, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Čepkov (TROL 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14; BUS 31, 33)
GPS 49.2294631N, 17.6643356E

Doctor Leopold Král (born in 1875 in Uhersko near Vysoké Mýto) was, together with Dr. Rudolf Gerbec, one of the exceptional personalities whose destiny was associated with Zlín and the development of the local healthcare industry. Before he came to Zlín in 1908, he worked in Prague clinics. From 1902 he travelled around the world as a ship's doctor in the service of Austrian Lloyd. In Moravia, he first started working in Prostějov, where he completed a one-year internship in a hospital, and at the age of 33 he moved to Zlín to take up the position of city doctor.
In the period press, he was highlighted as one of the first dentists to fill decayed teeth. He interrupted his practice at the beginning of the First World War in 1914 by joining the army. He returned five years later from Russia together with Czechoslovak legionnaires. In addition to the position of district physician, he worked as a doctor for a health insurance company and also held the office of state district physician. In addition to his profession, he also took part in cultural life. As an active musician, he organized a quartet in Zlín, which gradually grew into a chamber orchestra. He was the chairman of the Dvořák singing collective for many years, and also participated in the founding of a music school.
In 1930, Leopold Král had his own villa designed for him on the right bank of the Dřevnice river in the Čepkov district. Its author was the architect Miroslav Lorenc, who also worked simultaneously in the Construction Department of the Baťa company and designed, for example, a school complex in the centre of Zlín. This was one of the first private designs that Lorenc realised in Zlín after arriving from Prague. At that time, he did not as yet have a private practice, which is why the design was marked with his Prague stamp "Mirko Lorenc" on the plans. 
By placing the house on the northern edge of the corner plot Lorenc created a generous and sunny garden equipped with a swimming pool. The outdoor space conceived in this way made it possible for the architect to work with the volumes of the individual floors in an interesting way, opening views to all directions. On the south façade the rooms come forward from the volume, thus creating a terrace for living rooms on the upper floor. The façade is punctuated by three-part windows, which on the first floor are bordered by a thin window ledge. A subtle tubular handrail with a plinth delimits the space of the outdoor terrace. At the beginning of the 1930s, it was an exceptional building that deviated from the surrounding development. Villas and apartment buildings in the modernist style began to grow in number in Lorenc's portfolio only after he left the Baťa company and founded his own architectural practice in Zlín.
The one-storey house has a layout consisting of a hall from which rooms are accessible on one side. On the ground floor there is an entrance hall with an entrance to the winter garden and a staircase to the upper floor. There is also a living room with a dining room facing south towards the garden and the river Dřevnice. A folding wall separated the two rooms. The ground floor also included a kitchen, rooms for the maid and driver, a toilet, and a garage. On the first floor, there were living rooms, two bedrooms with access to the terrace, and a bathroom with a smaller room. A coal and wood storage room, laundry room, and boiler room were available in the basement.
The house of Leopold Král remained little changed even in the second half of the 20th century. One of the most significant interventions in the appearance of the house was the enclosure of the corner veranda on the ground floor, which created a separate room. Gradually, however, the building fell into disrepair. In 1997 it was damaged by a flood. In 2005, the house underwent a complete renovation according to the design of the Zlín architect Pavel Mudřík. Although it is not entirely clear from the plans, the locals rememebered it as red, so the façade was tinted to this colour during the reconstruction. 

The volume of the villa returned to its original state, to which two new structures were added. The garages were removed and replaced with new ones with large glazing and a passage to the yard. An outdoor terrace was added to the east side of the house. The villa has been sensitively adapted for the needs of the café on the ground floor. The offices are on the first floor and the basement serves as the café's background. The interior features a wooden oak staircase and some original finishes. The house of Leopold Král is one of the few examples of a villa development that Miroslav Lorenc built at the beginning of his career in Zlín and is still open to the public today thanks to the operation of the café.