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Villa Tugendhat in Brno is the most important European building by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 Cáchy – 1969 Chicago). This world famous functionalist architect declared that “the ideal dimensions of space cannot be calculated, space must be felt”. He implemented his revolutionary concept of “flowing” or “unlimited” space in 1928 – 1930 on construction of a villa for the Tugendhats in Brno.

Brno - Vila Tugendhat InteriorBrno - Vila Tugendhat Brno - Vila Tugendhat Interior
He had unlimited financing and this is why the villa is a showcase of top-quality, exotic materials. One extraordinary decorative element in the villa is the onyx wall. The translucent honey gold mineral with white patterns comes from the Atlas mountain range in Morocco and glows red when the sun sets. The architect also indulged in exotic woods, so the villa is clad in veneered jacaranda, the main living area is dominated by veneered ebony from the island of Celebes and there is also a wonderful work table and bridge table from ebony. The furniture is the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the German designer Lilly Reich and steel and exotic woods dominate in them.

It was not however only the materials that were revolutionary – above all it was the work with space. The villa is connected to the garden by a huge retractable window the size of the whole wall of the main living space. This is not divided by walls, but by partitions, which enhances the size of the space. The architect designed the villa on three levels. He divided the main floor into an entrance, social, work and dining part. The basement contained a laundry, storage areas, dark room and boiler room. The upper floor contained residential space, housing bedrooms and rooms for the children and nanny. The architectural design also included the garden. The house brought to life the idea of free space, which was important for the architect.
 
Points of Interest
Villa Tugendhat also took its place in history as the location for the signature of the agreement to divide Czechoslovakia. This happened in 1992 and two separate republics, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, were formed. The rare functionalist Villa Tugendhat did however also have a somewhat unsettled fate and was used for various purposes. The Tugendhats had to flee from the Nazis to Switzerland in 1938 and the villa was confiscated by the Gestapo. Soviet soldiers who liberated Brno in 1945 used the valuable villa as a stable for their horses and used the remains of the furniture as fuel. The villa’s fate was also unsettled after the war, when a local dance school operated there, later being used as a nursing home for children. It was not until the 1980s that the villa was renovated, returning it to its original form.
 
Entry into the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List: 2001
 
More information: www.tugendhat-villa.cz
 

Czech Republic

Brno – Villa Tugendhat: Location

GPS latitude/longitude: 49.16733 , 16.61132

 

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