Zlin and Brno: the top 5 functionalist monuments in Moravia

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The twenties of the 20th century saw the birth of a new current in architecture: functionalism, a style that puts the decorative character of the construction in the background to underline the primordial role of each building, its functionality.

This modern style flourished particularly in the Moravian capital Brno but also in the city of Zlin, which became one of the most important centers of interwar architecture as a perfect archetype of the functionalist city in Europe.

A group of architects was created in the Moravian capital, led by Bohuslav Fuchs, who brought to Brno other renowned personalities of world architecture, including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), author of the finest functionalist building in Czechoslovakia – the Tugendhat Villa, now included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Tugendhat Villa from Brno owes its name to its owners, the Tugendhat couple, who, after meeting the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1928, asked him to build a villa for them in Brno.
Mr. Tugendhat was a wealthy Jewish merchant who owned several textile factories in Brno, then called the “Moravian Manchester”, mostly thanks
to the Tugendhat company which made velvet from materials imported from Great Britain. This jewel of modern architecture, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, attracts visitors from all over the world every year.

Era cafe is another perfect example of the functionalist current in the architecture of the interwar period in Brno. Designed by Josef Kranz in 1927, it has now found the primary colors on which the architect had bet: blue, red, yellow as well as touches of black and white to signify the volumes and the different spaces. . All open to the outside with large bay windows… And above all a monumental concrete staircase, around which the coffee room revolves.

Still in Brno, I’hotel Plane has become one of the symbols of avant-garde architecture. Its author, the Czech architect Bohuslav Fuchs, only had 8 meters wide for this original construction, now restored and open to the public.

industrial Tomás Bataknown worldwide for its shoes of the same name, has radically transformed and modernized the city of Zlin where he established his empire. He even had the very first skyscraper in Czech lands built there, called the Bata skyscraper” 21 ». With its reinforced concrete structure, masonry made of bricks and windows with metallic frames, we find here a perfect example of modern architecture: economical, rational and functional. The Bata 21 then responded in all respects to the famous entrepreneur’s adage: “Today a fantasy, tomorrow a reality”.

The workers’ city of Zlin is also a perfect representation of functionalist architecture and the principles of technical modernism and social progress that animated Tomas Bata, who naturally became mayor of the city in 1923.

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