The Creative Environment in Post-industrial Architecture

A Logical Succession for the Industrial Ecosystems of Industrial Towns of the Zlín Region

MgA. Romana Veselá, Ph.D.

Summary: Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Zlín region has undergone significant industrialisation and the associated development of education, crafts, amenities, infrastructure and culture. As industrial complexes grew, entire towns were created alongside them. But what happened to them after the closure of the large industrial enterprises?

Worker settlements near factory sites grew all over the Western world from the 19th century onwards and by the mid-20th century had developed into the kind of architectural and urban qualities we know from Le Corbusier or Walter Gropius. In Zlín, however, something quite unique happened. In the first half of the 20th century, there was not only the building of factories and housing estates, but the creation of the city as an ecosystem that functions along the lines of one entrepreneur’s futuristic vision.

Tomáš Baťa, the author of this project, was no philanthropist. All his efforts, including his work with human resources, led to more efficient factory performance. He had a clear idea of what his employees should look like, what their family background should be, what they should do, how they should live and how they should spend their leisure time. Therefore, together with architects Jan Kotěra, František Lydie Gahura and Vladimír Karfík, they created the city of Zlín as an ecosystem, a mechanism that functioned under clearly defined conditions based on the needs of the factory.

Entrepreneurship once led Zlín to a targeted industrial development. Today, it relies more on the creative industries, small craft-design manufactories and creative start-ups.