The House of Ludmila and Karel Herain

The first of three constructions in Baba by Ladislav Žák is a house for the director of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, Karel Herain, and his wife Ludmila. Once again, it shows the very modern and distinctive eye of Ladislav Žák. This time it takes the form of an original half-cylindrical staircase leading from the ground floor to the sundeck with a roof awning on top. The shape of the staircase gives the house an aerodynamic and nautical character. The strips of windows on all floors are consistently oriented towards the view of Prague Castle and the Vltava valley. 


Ladislav Žák

(*1900 Prague +1973 Prague)

An architect, painter, interior and furniture designer, theoretician, and teacher; a student of Josef Gočár at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts. During his stay in France, Germany, and the Netherlands, he was interested in functionalist buildings, Bauhaus architecture, and Dutch rationalism. Three exceptional houses in Baba (Zaorálek, Herain, and Čeněk) marked the culmination of his functionalist work in which he applied the functionalist principles: a free floor plan, large rooms connected to outdoor sundecks, bright façades, and strip windows. His work also shows characteristics of the nautical (cabin-like) style: rounded shapes of buildings and windows. For example, he put a captain’s bridge on the roof of the Herain villa. Even his interiors and furniture displayed functionalist and purist characteristics. Following a falling-out with the builders, he focused on landscape architecture and urban planning, which he summarised in the publication Obytná krajina (1947). Under the socialist regime, he remained a lecturer at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts thanks to the architect Frágner.

studied painting with Professor Karel Krattner at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague 

studied architecture with Professor Josef Gočár at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague

taught drawing at the technical schools in Brno and Pilsen

independent architect in Prague

associate professor of Garden and Landscape Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague

Significant Works

houses of Ludmila and Karel Herain, Bohumil Čeněk and Hugo Zaorálek, Baba, Prague-Dejvice

Dr. Ing. Miroslav Hain’s villa, Prague-Vysočany 

villa of the film director Martin Frič, Prague-Hodkovičky

reconstruction of his own residential building with small apartments, Prague-Letná 

villa of the actress Lída Baarová, Prague-Dejvice 

memorial to the victims of WWII, Ležáky


Ludmila Herainová a Karel Herain

Karel Vladimír Herain (1890-1953), an outstanding Czech art historian, was a great advocate of modern design and architecture. He was also a member of the exhibition committee of the Baba estate. In 1932, he compiled a representative book entitled On Housing, together with the graphic artist Sutnar and the architect Žák. After 1948, Karel Herain was forced to involuntarily leave his position as the director of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and he devoted the rest of his life to his private art collection. The current owner is successfully seeking to faithfully preserve the original character of the house.