Tugendhat Villa in Brno

The Tugendhat Villa in Brno, designed by the architect Mies van der Rohe, is an outstanding example of the international style in the modern movement in architecture as it developed in Europe in the 1920s. Its particular value lies in the application of innovative spatial and aesthetic concepts that aim to satisfy new lifestyle needs by taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by modern industrial production.

The villa was designed by van der Rohe for Grete Weiss and her husband Fritz Tugendhat, members of wealthy industrial families in the city of Brno in former Czechoslovakia. The architect accepted the commission in 1927 and the villa was completed by the end of 1930. The architect took charge of the project down to the smallest detail, also designing all the furniture of the house, designs that have become world-renowned.

During the German occupation, the Tugendhat family left Czechoslovakia and the Villa was taken over by the German State in 1939. It lost most of its original furniture, and was subject to some alterations and damage – eg that caused by a bomb explosion in the neighbourhood in 1944. After the war, the building was taken over by the State of Czechoslovakia; it served a nearby children’s hospital and then the national health institute of Brno, becoming the property of the City of Brno. In 1962 the Villa was protected as a national monument. There was increasing interest in restoring it, and the first study to this effect was made in 1971, leading to a restoration campaign in 1981-85, which guaranteed the continuation of the use of the building on a provisional basis. The Tugendhat Villa Fund was established in 1993, followed by the decision of the Friends of the Tugendhat Fund to undertake a scientific restoration of the building. This work took place beginning in 1994 and funds were raised to furnish the building with replicas of the original designs by Mies van der Rohe.

Since 2001 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to Kevan for the postcard.

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