Mies van der Rohe’s Tugendhat House
While we wait one more year for DC’s very own Mies van der Rohe building, the MLK Library, to be completed, please join us for a lecture on one of Mies’ great works, the Tugendhat House. A supersized version of his famed Barcelona Pavilion, this house and its restoration combine great architecture with a compelling 20th century story.
Join Art Historian Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, a daughter of the original owners, and her husband, Ivo Hammer, who chaired the international expert commission that consulted on the restoration. This lecture is the second in the couple’s national lecture series, visiting Chicago, DC, New York and Los Angeles. This series is sponsored by the Mies Van der Rohe Society in Chicago and David and Margaret Hensler of Washington DC.
Villa Tugendhat was commissioned by Fritz and Greta Tugendhat and completed in 1929. In 1938, the family fled to Switzerland after the signing of the Munich Pact, a year prior to the Nazi invasion. The villa was confiscated by the Gestapo in 1939. It suffered considerable damage during combat at the end of World War II and later, when it served as quarters and stables for the Soviet military.
Greta Tugendhat returned to the villa in 1967 with a senior architect from Mies's Chicago studio and explained the original design to him, and a group of Czech architects set out to repair it and was restored in 1980. On August 26th, 1992, the political leaders of Czechoslovakia met there to sign the document that divided the country into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. Since 1994 the villa has been open to the public as a museum administered by the city of Brno.
In 2007 the Tugendhats' heirs applied for the restitution of the villa, citing a law covering works of art confiscated during the Holocaust. By that time, some of the concrete was deteriorating and entire sections of the interior were missing. Later, parts of the original wood paneling were found at Masaryk University, a building used by the Gestapo as their Brno headquarters. Reconstruction and restoration started in February 2010 and finished in February 2012 and the house was reopened to the public in March of that year.
Presented by: Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat & Ivo Hammer