Today, one of the leading exemplars of classic Modern architecture reopens after a two year hiatus. The freshly renovated Villa Tugendhat underwent a monumental restoration and rehabilitation, starting in January 2010, with the aim of preserving and conserving the original building substance and layout, including the construction details, materials and technical system. Renewal work also included the lavish interiors and lush garden. Continue after for the break to learn more about Mies van der Rohe’s renewed masterpiece.
Built in Czechoslovakia in 1930, the Tugendhat Villa is seen as one of the most important residential buildings of the 20th century. The luxurious home was originally built for the Tugendhat family whom described the design as “liberating”. The steel-and-glass home feature an open plan, simple forms and large walls of glass that directly connected the interior with the gardens outside. Mies worked with interior designer Lilly Reich and specified all of the furnishings with lavish materials of various woods, stones, velvets, silks and leathers.
Shortly after the Tugendhat family fled Czechoslovakia in 1938, prior to the Munich Agreement, the Villa was confiscated by the Gestapo and became property of the German Reich (1942). The villa was nearly destroyed as the windows were blown out and the furniture was either stolen or used as firewood.
After the war, the Villa was used as a dance school (1945-1950) and then a rehabilitation center for a nearby children’s hospital (1950-1979). In 1994, it was first opened to the public as a museum and in 2001, it was deemed a World Heritage site .
The Villa has now been precisely restored to its original substance. An international committee of experts, known as the THICOM (Tugendhat House International Committee), advised the City of Brno throughout the entire process to ensure proper preservation and restoration. To learn more about the story and design, check out AD Classics: Villa Tugenhat / Mies van der Rohe. Reserve a tour and purchase tickets here.
“No photograph of this house can provide a correct impression. One must move about in this house, its rhythm is like music.” Ludwig Hilberseimer, 1931