The Skyscraper Museum is devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. The Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. This site will look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
Frantisek Lydie Gahura, Vladimír Karfík, and others
Zlín, Czechoslovakia, 1923 - 39
Photograph © Christopher Hall
Moravian shoe manufacturer Tomás Bat'a hired the foremost Czech designers of the time to create an entire town for his workers and improve their quality of life. He built factories, offices, schools, worker housing, hospital, hotel, public buildings, and a cinema following a 20 x 20-ft modular concrete framework. Bat'a modeled factory production on Ford's methods by using automated conveyor lines to assemble footwear in multi-storied factories. In 1917, 5,000 workers made two million pairs of shoes annually; by the early 1930s, production was up to 36 million. Although the factories in Zlín were nationalized after WWII, the corporation expanded, building standardized towns and manufacturing facilities in 26 countries around the world.