Little house on the prairie, by a factory. The villa of Frantisek Wawerka.

August 31, 2017  

Frantisek Wawerka, Sr., who founded a machine tool manufacturing empire in his hometown of Lipnik nad Becvou at the beginning of the 20th century, which later became through many manifestations Strojtos Lipnik/FERMAT Stroje LipnIk, s.r.o. (a member of FERMAT Group), was ever the pioneer in modern industry, and also, architecture.

In the mid-1930s, he contracted with Czechoslovakia’s avant-garde husband-and-wife team, Elly and Oskar Oehler, to design a modern work of art, a brand-new, sleek villa epitomizing the heart of architectural functionalism.

Vila Františka Wawerky_author Palickap_under CC BY_SA 4.0 license

Palickap. Vila Františka Wawerky

The original occupants, Frantisek Wawerka, Jr., and his young wife Milada moved in to their fancy wedding gift in 1937.  For Mr. Wawerka, Jr., the place couldn’t have been better, as in addition to being an absolutely superb dwelling, he was literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from work.  He was duly employed at his father’s factory, applying his technical education and practice towards the family business.  Milada was a pharmacist… no doubt intrigued by her new surroundings.

Frantisek Wawerka Junior

Frantisek Wawerka, Jr.

The couple enjoyed all the amenities of fine architecture and modern industry at their back door until 1945, when things started to get hairy.  The factory was nationalized in the post-war confiscation of mines, large industrial enterprises (such as Wawerka’s), food processing industries, banks, and insurance companies.  Soon the villa itself was also taken away from the family, and Frantisek Wawerka, Jr., and his wife Milada were forcibly removed from Lipnik nad Becvou and resettled in the nearby city of Prerov.  In 1958, the villa was ham-handedly remodeled to better serve its communist function.  And, if that weren’t bad enough, Mr. Wawerka, Jr., was accused of stealing property in socialist ownership when he attempted to move out some furniture that had been left in the villa.  On 27 February 1959, Frantisek Wawerka, Jr., was sentenced to 12 years in prison.  After serving nearly 6 years, he was released and put back to work at a factory in Prerov, which is where he had been employed before serving jail time for moving furniture.

After many years of neglect and more horrid remodeling, the villa was in bad shape.  With the fall of communism in 1989, the villa was offered to the elderly couple, who politely declined due to the exorbitant cost of renovating the dilapidated structure.  After changing hands a couple of times, the villa was finally renovated to its current form which resembles the architectural importance it once held, albeit without much of the furnishings and its long-gone masterpiece interior.

Vila Frantiska Wawerky_autor_viky.ziskova

Ziskova, Viky. Vila Frantiska Wawerky.

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