The Bata house: functional or functionalist?

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This image from “Bata: Myslenky, Ciny Zivot A Prace” by A.Cekota from the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies at UCL shows a strong sense of ‘functional elegance’ in the design of a typical residential house for the workers at the Bata factory in Zlin – a language very familiar to the modernist movement of the era. Tomas Bata is said to have been unfamiliar with the architectural avant-garde at the time. Yet the resourceful use of materials and the idea of visually relating these buildings to those of the factory, meant that they made a strong impact on the then current debates in master-planning and aesthetics.

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