In the Černá Pole district of Brno, we can admire a true gem of functionalist architecture. Villa Tugendhat was built in 1929 -1930. It is the only example of modern architecture in the Czech Republic and fourth in total in the world to have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It received this honour in 2001.
The luxurious Villa Tugendhat, like all important monuments, has its own story. It was designed by the architect Ludwig Miese van der Rohe who is regarded as one of the founders of Functionalism. Villa Tugendhat is regarded as his most important pre-war work, together with the Barcelona Pavilion.
The design for this unique building was elaborated by the architect in 1928 subject to request by the Tugendhats who lived here with their 2 children and 5 servants. However, because they were Jews, they had to leave Czechoslovakia and thus also their unique villa in 1938. The villa was confiscated by the Gestapo and registered as the property of the Greater German Reich in 1942. The aircraft designed Willy Messerschmitt was one of the people who lived in the villa during the war.
The villa was confiscated in 1945 by the Red Army and used as a hostel for Russian soldiers. The whole of the architectural concept of the villa was destroyed during an air-raid on Brno, but the building structure remained intact. During the subsequent time of “peace”, the villa was used as a school of gymnastics and dance, later as a site for rehabilitation of sick children.
The building was included in the State Heritage List in 1969 and underwent fundamental reconstruction in the 80s. It has been used by Brno City Museum since 1994 and serves as a monument to modern architecture. The villa underwent overall restoration as a monument in 2010 to 2012.
The architect and his co-workers strove to furnish the interior of the unique villa in such a way as to be in harmony with the style in which the building was designed, i.e. functionalism. This is why you will find here furniture made predominantly from steel tubes and panels and from fine woods such as Macassar ebony, rosewood or zebrawood. Rare onyx from Morocco is also found in the materials used. You will not find single luxury decoration or work of art in the villa. Except for one statute – the torso of a girl by Wilhelm Lehmbruck dating back to 1913.
During a tour of the villa, you can visit the basement which houses technical equipment, represented by hot-air heating and cooling, electric window control and a photocell at the entrance. There is also an exhibition which will introduce you to the architect and the life of the Tugendhat family. The villa is also home to a Study and Documentation Centre. If you decide to visit Villa Tugendhat, check availability in advance. It is quite likely that you will have to wait some time.