This third design of the medium-sized house in Baba, a villa for a section head at the Ministry of Education, Dr. Hugo Zaorálek, marked the peak of Ladislav Žák’s efforts to design a prototype of a house as an independent living unit of a collective house. The concept also included an area to provide care for the body and soul – the upstairs bathroom was fitted with gym equipment and directly connected to the sundeck. The direct connection of the large ground-floor living room with the garden was a very functionalist and unusual element, even compared to the other Baba houses.
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
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
Dr. Zaorálek’s family emigrated to Munich after the Soviet army entered the country in 1968. The villa then found a new owner, the erstwhile Deputy Prime Minister Bohumil Šimon. He interfered greatly with the construction of the house; for example, he bricked up all of the terraces, thus devaluing the exceptional villa.