restoration project, Transat architekti, Tomáš Baťa Memorial, Zlín architecture

Tomas Bata memorial | Transat Architekti

| 12 : 00 – 17 October 2019 |

Restoration of the Tomáš Baťa Memorial, About Design World, Landscape design, Photography, architecture

Tomas Bata memorial-recently restored by Transat Architekti creates a visitor experience space filled with light and contemplation.

Dedicated to highly successful entrepreneur and advocate of functionalism, the memorial was originally designed by architect František Lýdie Gahura. Located at the central axis of a park, atop Zlin city in Moravia, the memorial looks like a glass box radiating light. The space underwent several transition in functions and operation until recent restoration done by Transat Architekti.

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Multiple floors as seen from ground level

Since, Tomas Bata is credited with efforts to modernize his hometown and providing the people with employment, and housing facilities, the historical place is a landmark of the town. The restoration represents his ideologies and character enabling visitors to experience the clutter-free space. A fresh model of Junkers aircraft is hanging along the central bay.


Round column bays with clutter-free space

From the Architects –

The building by František Lýdie Gahura, opened one year after the death of Tomáš Baťa, is the most valuable monument of the Zlín constructivism. The building is a highlight of the so-called “Baťa architecture” phenomenon.

Tomáš Baťa memorial, stairs, staircase, steps photo

Blue wall painted concrete stairway

At first glance the idea for the monument is simple: an empty prism placed on a visible spot above the town. Located on central axis of the ascending park space, its made up of several modules of the Zlín 6.15 x 6.15 m frame and clad only with cathedral glass. Inside, only the ill-fated Junkers F 13 aircraft in which Tomáš Baťa died in 1932.

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Located on central axis of park in Zlin city

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View towards the staircase and interior space

Basic materials – 

Gahura reduced the monument to three basic materials of Zlín architecture – concrete, steel and glass. These were supposed to, together with the building’s composition, express the unique attributes of Tomáš Baťa: generosity, clarity, aspiration, optimism, simplicity, honesty and truth.

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Around the memorial – concrete walkway

Features of Tomas Bata memorial – 

The execution was a standardized frame as a single column hall and a three-aisled space. At the same time, the space has variable heights and dispersed natural light brought the stripped-down Zlín constructivism closer to sacral buildings of the ancient and medieval times, without using any historical shapes.

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Variable floor heights

This was enhanced by the consistent vertical concept of the building. Gahura explained it by the fact that the purpose of the building is ideological and with this verticality, weightlessness, and simplicity of the one-directional sectioning, the monument expresses specific traits of Baťa’s character.

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Transition of space

Restoration in 50’s – 

The monument was built without any technical or sanitary facilities. It was actually a greenhouse with no possibilities for heating, water supply, or toilets. In the 50’s it was rebuilt to be a concert hall and gallery and with it the monument lost its architectural qualities. The name of Tomáš Baťa was erased from memory.

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Entrance to the memorial

Restoration of Tomas Bata memorial by Transat architekti –

The comprehensive renewal of the original state of the monument, in preparation for 18 years, aimed again toward simplicity and reduction of all dispensable equipment that is usual in today’s buildings. All of the operational, technical and service elements and spaces are located separately from the monument.

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The service building on the farther side of the memorial

The core meaning of the building consists in the visitor’s experience of the space and light, in slowing down and contemplation.

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Staircase located along central axis

Due to the fact that the structure is an internationally acclaimed monument of modern architecture, the project had high aspirations in terms of quality of the renewal. For many of the building elements a restoration approach was chosen, common with the most valued historic buildings.

Space and light !

Stair walls painted blue

Tomas Bata memorial – A landmark of the town – 

Given the monument’s place in the structure of Zlín, the building is also a light-landmark of the town. The possibility of using the building for reverential and social events or exhibitions will always be limited. This is with regard to ideological and architectural essence of the monument and austere conditions of its interior environment. The dominant of the interior is a new model of the Junkers F 13 aircraft.

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Model of the Junkers F 13 aircraft hanging from the ceiling

Project details –


Project Name – Restoration of the Tomas Baa memorial

Architect of original building – František Lýdie Gahura

Architect of renovation – Petr Všetečka / Transat Architekti |

Project Location – Náměstí T. G. Masaryka 2570, Zlín, Czech Republic

Project TypeMemorial, Restoration, Renovation

Completion year – 2016 – 2019

Area – Built-up – 15,000 sq.m. | Usable floor area – 1592 sq.m. | Enclosed volume – 9200 m3

Photography Credit – © BoysPlayNice

Investors – The City of Zlín (monument renewal) in cooperation with the Zlín region (spaces inside the Gymnasium building) and the Tomáš  Baťa Foundation (the model of the Junkers aircraft)

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