Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Villa Tugendhat

Dore, a family friend of Claudia's, drove from Germany this past weekend for a visit. So on Saturday I joined them on a tour of Villa Tugendhat.

Tugendhat is the first monument of modern architecture in the Czech Republic and only the fourth in the world to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The land was a wedding present for Greta and Fritz Tugendhut and was completed in 1928 . The family only lived there for about 10 years before they fled from the Nazis.

The architect was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. And the cool thing was that Dore had met him when she was a student in Germany. It really is a small world.
The villa is set out on three floors the top one is a reception area with the bedrooms. The main floor is the next one down. It is a large open plan room divided only by two non structural walls. One of these walls is made of Onyx. And one of the huge windows is motorized and retracts. Hard to believe that this was around in the 30's.
To put things in perspective, back then a normal house cost 50,000 Kč and a villa cost 250,000 Kč. However, this place cost between 6 - 8 million Kč.

You must have a reservation, even if it is for only one person, in order to take the tour. We were not able to get in to the German language tour so we had to take the Czech tour. But it was still pretty interesting.

After that we had lunch and later met up with Olga, a Czech woman who used to live in Germany, that Claudia met before. The four of us walked around the city center and checked out the different architectual styles. It was cool having our own architect with us to explain different things. Later that night we had dinner at this medieval basement restaurant near Česká.

It was a fun weekend. More pictures are already up on Flickr.

Update: Villa Tugendhat closed on January 1 for renovation. It will open again in 2014 at a cost of +140M Kč (€5.3M+).
Update:  Villa Tugendhat reopened on March 6, 2012. It was closed for 2 years and ended up costing €5.9M (+$7.4 million).

1 comment:

  1. Chris, I would so love to see this! Imagine having to make the decision to leave it.