Mies van der Rohe: Brno, the Tugendhat HouseMies van der Rohe
Iveta Černá, Dagmar Černoušková, Pavel Liška
Brno : Brno City Museum
Brochura, 80 pp, 23,5 x 27 cm
Mies in Brno. The Tugendhat House monograph is the first comprehensive work on the history of the world-famous icon of modern architecture, from its inception to renewal and restoration in 2010–2012. It was published in late 2012 as the first publication from the book series by the Study and Documentation Centre in Villa Tugendhat (SDC-VT); the English version was published as the second item of the SDC-VT publications in July 2013. It presents not only the known facts about the building, but also a number of new findings, which have not yet been published. Its title is a follow-up on generous publications book projects presenting the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the U.S. and Germany (Mies in America and Mies in Berlin). The book is divided into four main chapters.
The first chapter, THE BULDING’S GENESIS, includes a text titled The New Brno outlines the construction context of Brno from the 19th century, when modern Brno began to be built, until 1930, when the famous Tugendhat House was created in the middle of the inter-war era. The text Mies in Brno – The Tugendhat House presents the Löw-Beer and Tugendhat families to the readers and through quotations from a lecture by Grete Tugendhat and other sources describes the circumstances of the inception and construction of the house in 1928–1930. It is followed by studies on the The Tugendhat House’s Space and The Garden – The Building’s Natural Setting. The first chapter is concluded by a section about the Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s Torso of a Walking Woman or Torso Turning by Wilhelm Lehmbruck, devoted to the single work of art in the Tugendhat House. Lehmbruck’s statue from the Tugendhat House is also subject of a separate publication, Torso. A Work of art in the Tugendhat House, which was released in September 2013 as the third volume of the SDC-VT book series.
The second chapter, entitled THE HOUSE’S SUBSEQUENT FATE fairly extensively covers the Wartime and post-war fate of the House and its Owners and is accompanied by the historical context of the period. The text František Kalivoda’s Initiative on the House’s Restoration describes the first efforts to restore the villa in the 1960’s, which took place against the background of social and political détente in the socialist Czechoslovakia, also connected with the first professional interests in the architecture of the interwar period. The second chapter is concluded by a text focusing on the Renovation and Reconstruction 1981–1985, which approximates and corrects the – until recently – negative perception of this moment in the history of the house.
The third chapter focuses on the rehabilitation of the house in 2010–2012. Separate texts speak about The Renovation and Restoration project, CIC: Conservation-Science Study of the Tugendhat House, and the Renovation and restoration 2010–2012, which describes the implementation phase itself. Individual texts are also devoted to the International Expert Advisory Committee for the Restoration of the Tugendhat House – THICOM and The Tugendhat House – Conservation of a UNESCO World Heritage Property.
The fourth chapter called THE BUILDING’S MATERIALITY focuses in its shorter texts with rich visual content on the key restoration professions: Plasters and Renders, Stone, Metals and Glass, Selected Historical Technical Equipment, Restoration of original Joinery, Metal and Wooden Furniture, Carpets, Curtains, Ceramic Floor and Wall Tiles, Sanitaryware.
The appendix of the book consists of an inventory of the main List of Contractors and Suppliers, including the financial costs of renewing and restoring the house. The texts are generously accompanied by many photos (370 images in total), consisting of archival and contemporary photographs, documents, drawings, etc. The book, mainly aimed at the expert public, is deliberately designed so that its content and visual elements will certainly attract even the general public.