Monday, December 30, 2019

Vila Stiassni

Vila Stiassni is a functionalist villa in Písarky district, about a 10-15 minute walk from my flat.  

Alfred Stiassný

Alfred Stiassný was a prominent textile manufacturer in Brno.  He and his wife, Hermine, owned a number of villas and tenement houses in the city when they commissioned architect Ernst Wiesner to design their new home.  Construction took two years and it was completed in 1929.  

The vila is two floor building in the shape of an L.  The house is divided in that the living area is in the right wing and all of the service facilities are in the left wing.

The vila is quite impressive.  While the outside architecture is functionalist and has a modest charm to it, the inside is much different.  It feels more classic with dark wood paneling and marble fireplaces.

I think that this is my new favourite villa in Brno.  Maybe it's just because that I've been to Vila Tugendhat so many times before.  Tugendat is more modern while this one seems more like someone's actual home.

The family was sporty so the sloping garden had a tennis court and a swimming pool.

Alfred, his wife, and daughter only got to live in the vila for 9 years.  They were Jewish so in 1938 they emigrated to London and then via Brazil to Southern California where they eventually became American citizens.

The Gestapo confiscated the villa on 30 November 1939 and the Nazis used it during the war.  In 1945 the Russians took it over and they destroyed some of the original furniture and tapestries.

In 1952 the villa came under the Regional National Committee.  Until the 1990s it was used as a "government villa" to accommodate high profile visitors to the city.  President Edward Beneš lived here for a short time.  Other notable visitors include Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban President Fidel Castro.

In 1982 the building was listed as a cultural monument.  From 1990 to 2005 it was rented out as a hotel for VIP guests attending conferences or social events.  Since 2009 it is managed by the National Monuments Institute.  The villa was completely renovated in 2014 and is now open to the public.

The 60-minute tour in Czech is 210 Kč ($9) or you can just wander around the gardens outside for 30 kč ($1.50).  The tour is worth it.

I also found out that there is a 2,5 hour walking tour of my neighbourhood, the Masaryk quarter, on the first and last Sunday of the month.  It's only 150 Kč but it is entirely in Czech.  Not sure how much I'll understand on a 2,5 architectural walk but I'll have to eventually give it a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment