Eduard Pelčák's House

Date 1931–1932
Architect Miroslav Lorenc
Code Z6
Address Dlouhá 74, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Dlouhá (TROL 2, 4, 5, 8, BUS 33, 35, 36, 38)
GPS 49.2269908N, 17.6687603E
  • Miroslav Lorenc. Jaromír Krejcar. Zlínská moderní architektura a pražská avantgarda. Moderne Architektur in Zlín und die Prager Avantgarde

A commercial and residential building belonging to shoemaker and leather merchant Eduard Pelčák was built near Náměstí Míru in 1932. A monumental five-storey building of unusual dimensions was built on the site of Pelčák's former house. Its design was prepared in 1931 by the architect Miroslav Lorenc. Due to its size and cost, it represented an important commission for Lorenc, which ensured the comfortable start of his own design practice. Shortly after leaving the Baťa company, he was able to fully benefit from his work in the studios of progressive Prague architects such as Josef Gočár, Pavel Janák and Jaromír Krejcar.
The house enters the space of the historic centre of Zlín with a distinctly metropolitan functionalist aesthetic, which creatively works with the typology of a modern department store-palace. In the design for Eduard Pelčák, Lorenc foreshadowed a characteristic part of his work – residential houses with commercial ground floors for Zlín merchants and townspeople, which formed the counterpart to Baťa's corporate construction. There are several of them on Rašínova Street in the immediate vicinity of Pelčák's house, including the adjacent house of Vincent and Antonie Minařík (1937–1938) and the commercial and residential house of baker Leopold Mizera (1934).
From 1931, the owner Eduard Pelčák, often represented by his son Svatopluk Pelčák, led intensive discussions with the building authority representatives and the city council about the exact dimensions of the plot. Dlouhá Street, along which Pelčák's plot was situated, was widened from the original 18 m to 30 m in the city's regulatory plan due to increasing bus and car traffic. This change adversely affected the building area and economic plans for Eduard Pelčák, which he repeatedly objected to. However, his proposals, including a proposal that the house have an archway, were rejected by the authority. 
Even the resulting completed project did not arouse enthusiasm among the officials at first. Miroslav Lorenc used a long and narrow plot (45 m long, 4.5 to 6.5 m wide) in such a way that only the ground floor and the first floor followed the regulation line stated by the master plan. The remaining residential floors protruded beyond by 1.8 m in the form of a large oriel window. Lorenc, however, ensured this way that the client increased the living area of the apartments in compliance with city regulations.
Eduard Pelčák's house closes the front of Rašínova and Zarámí streets and faces three sides, the main façade running along Dlouhá street. The commercial parterre of the ground floor and the first floor was given an exceptionally transparent appearance thanks to complete glazing with large-format glass panes, interrupted only by entrances to shops and apartments and a fine advertising strip. Above the parterre rises a massive projecting oriel window of three residential floors, which terminates in lower avant-corps towards Rašínova and Zarámí streets. Miroslav Lorenc emphasised the horizontal composition of the building with long strips of windows going over the corner, separated by subtle pillars between them that differ in colour from the rest of the façade. The construction of the entire building consists of a reinforced concrete frame with square columns and masonry infills between them. 
The business units spread over two floors connected by spiral steel staircases and included the Svatopluk Pelčák shoe store, an electronics store, a delicatessen, and a confectionary and marmalade store. The residential floors were accessible via a pair of straight reinforced concrete staircases with a width of 1.2 m. The first two residential floors were laid out identically, each providing four apartments with an entrance hall, bath, kitchen, and pantry. The top floor also offered laundry and dryer services to the residents of the building. The floors in the apartments there were made of ribbon pattern wooden boards, while in the kitchens there were seamless cast floors. There was a small lift for transporting coal in the stairwells leading down to the basement, where the tenants had basement units.
​In the second half of the 20th century, the former commercial and residential building of Eduard Pelčák underwent a number of modifications. Stores and shoe workshops operated here, as well as a jewellery shop and bookshop. At the same time, the architectural details also changed continuously. The original window panes and storefronts were replaced with new ones, and the original plaster with textured plaster. Currently, the house is not listed as a monument, although it represents one of the finest examples of functionalist architecture of the metropolitan style in Zlín. Its current appearance is marked by massive storefronts, which lack the former subtlety, and visual smog, under which Lorenc's impressive design for the commercial parterre is lost.