Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mies van der Rohe's Villa Tugendhat

, a paragon of life of light and space and inspiration for Room 2009 Simon Mawer novel crystal was restored to the glory of the 1930s and is now open to all

When Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said "less is more" he was not talking about budgets. Saving money rarely among their concerns, and one of the wonderful things about your villa Tugendhat, completed in 1930 in the Czech city of Brno, is the grand prize of its apparent simplicity. It cost five million Czech crowns at one time in a very respectable house could be built about 320,000 crowns. In other words, it costs 15 times the current price of these houses, but precisely what they said "less costs more"

not your customers, Grete and Fritz Tugendhat, both heirs to industrial fortunes, he complained. What they got for their money was a pioneer of the steel-frame house, with walls of glass that could slide down on the floor, a special room to keep their skin and cooled butterfly free, and a heating and cooling, as the engine room of a ship, which uses a train of freight cars of coal each winter. The air also passes through a water shower of stones taken from the sea, and then through filters cedar oil and cedar chips, so it is fresh and fragrant.

have one of the most influential houses of the 20th century, whose plan panoramic windows open and still imitated today. More importantly, realized that Greta called "a big modern house ... with clear and simple forms" that gave him "a quiet very special." Justice was served, he says, "all the spiritual life of each and every one of us, unlike the simple necessity. "

has been repeatedly stated that modernist architecture was the rationality, or a pure function, or improve the environment of the working class. None of these arguments apply in this case

Now for the first time since 1930, you can see the house as much as Mies (as the architect is best known), after being restored with the support of the European Union and implemented by the city Brno can be visited by the public, despite its popularity means that you must book a place on tour in advance.

Above all, you can experience living in the center of the house. To say that this has two glass walls, an open plan and clean, modernist style, is like saying that the Chartres Cathedral made bows and large windows. Neither is much more valuable to describe the materials acquired from remote areas - Macassar ebony for the library and the circular dining alcove, an onyx block wall thin miraculously extracted from the Atlas. Neither the spectacular view of the city, the feeling of contact with the garden, abundant light, or how the steel columns, with its mirror finish, about to disappear.

The point is that the combination of all these elements is fascinating. If the plan, with regular spacing of the columns, is lucid, the effects of the dissolution of the surfaces to confuse the senses. Reflections draw inside the garden foliage and leaves to meet the twist, the reasons for fossil stone and wood grain. The creamy brown onyx is clearly heavy, but thin enough that, when beaten by the low sun of winter shines within. The columns of the tile roof drain to levitate, and when the glass walls disappear into the floor of the room becomes a stage in the sky. At one end of the glass is double, with space between the layers sufficiently large veranda for a cube, which in turn invests the perception from the outside and inside

The house is built against a steep slope, with the living space in the middle of three levels. Below, the device that supports it, as the racks of a theater - the heating and ventilation of the living skin, storage, laundry and machinery for the operation of windows. Above are the rooms and bathrooms of the Tugendhat and his son, and a terrace with a litter box of Mies, perfectly square, and trellises of roses.

Because of the slope, only the top floor is visible as you approach the street. You go down the stairs and through what appears to be the ground level of the living room, which in turn seems to float above the garden, a sequence in the opposite direction, which further increases the quality of its appearance. You will discover that everything in the house revolves around and holds the central area. Other aspects are pretty special - the simplicity of audacity on the outside and the refinement of the rooms that have been made sufficient for many architects -. But here, to support the main event

All this could add up to a familiar type of architecture, the masterpiece uninhabitable. Critics seized on this opportunity early, and a German architectural magazine asked, in a year of its conclusion: "Can you live in the Villa Tugendhat" Greta and Fritz stated firmly that yes, he could. Her wishes were fulfilled to perfection, they said, and the design allows different activities co-exist happily. He was "austere and large -. Not in a way that oppresses, but free" He spoke with enthusiasm of how their children could play on the terrace, and the "sit-in the warm sun and looking on the snowy landscape as if we were in Davos." Mies later designed the Farnsworth House in Illinois, which led to impassable owner, Edith Farnsworth, the fury and demands. In Brno, however, achieved a miraculous union of art and life.
not last long. Just over seven years after their arrival, the Tugendhat, who were Jewish, anticipated the arrival of the Nazis and went to Switzerland, and Venezuela. When they arrived, the Nazis seized the house and leased it to the company Messerschmitt aircraft. They took the paneling of the dining alcove and reinstalled at the Gestapo headquarters in the city. The shock waves of Allied bombs blew the glass walls. The Soviet army and it straddles the exquisite dishes. After the war, became a dance studio, a rehabilitation center for children with congenital vertebral and a guest house for the government. In 1992, the Czech and Slovak leaders met here to decide the division of their country. The house was a bubble in time and space and Greta "quiet very special" was involved in the tumult of his mandate.

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