Villa Tugendhat, main living area, 2012

David Židlický, SDC

Brno’s Villa Tugendhat: Eight Decades

In March of 2012, after two years of restoration, the renowned Villa Tugendhat was opened once again to visitors. After over eight decades, it is now possible to see the house in the condition that it enjoyed shortly after its construction in 1930. Thanks to recent research findings regarding the wider context of its urban situation, architecture and equally cultural-historical significance, it would appear that the “living space” of Villa Tugendhat had been brought back to life. Its realisation has, essentially, formed the symbolic conclusion to that trajectory in this historically significant locality on the hill above the park of Lužánky, where the members of the Löw-Beer family (the lineage of Greta) and the Tugendhat family itself owned and inhabited a number of houses and flats. Brno achieved particular renown for its architecture from the Functionalist era between the two world wars. However, its emergence as a modern city began a full century earlier, and over time acquired a specific appearance similar to the nearby metropolis of Vienna. In addition to the construction of a circular avenue analogous to the Vienna Ringstrasse, there emerged new industrial suburbs and residential districts. One new phenomenon among the more prosperous social strata was the appearance of villa colonies. The first of these was created in 1860 in the suburb of Černá pole on the slope above Lužánky park. Up to 1863, four villas were built here designed and realised by the Brno contractor Josef Arnold, perhaps based on the ideas of Heinrich von Ferstel, one of the main architects behind the Ringstrasse. At the start of the 20th century, these were supplemented by the construction of apartment villas and residential blocks, and the newly plotted street of ul. Schodová. Before World War I, and then up until the end of the 1930s, Černá Pole became, thanks to individual as well as cooperative housing construction, one of the most desirable of Brno’s residential districts. The situation of the still undeveloped land on the hillside above Lužánky is highly evident on maps of Brno dating from 1858 and 1860. Yet on the map from 1868, we see the first four villas, with the names of their owners indicated….

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