The dramatic story of the Villa Tugendhat, one of Mies van der Rohe's first modernist works in Europe, is now the subject of a documentary called The Tugendhat House. Built in 1930 for the Jewish factory owners Grete and Fritz Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic, the innovative three-story villa features a semi-transparent onyx wall in the living room, travertine floors, and a glass and reinforced concrete façade. The Tugendhat family only got to live in their distinctive home for eight years, before they fled Brno during the Nazi occupation. The Gestapo confiscated it in 1939, and turned it into an office.
The villa, which was built at a great expense due to construction methods that were unusual for that time, would never return to domestic use. It suffered notable damage during and after the Second World War, when it was used as quarters for the Soviet military. It later served as a ballet academy, a physiotherapy center, and a school for children with scoliosis. In 1993, negotiations for the division of Czechoslovakia took place inside the iconic house. In recent years, it has been restored and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
"We have a house here which is perhaps the last total work of architectural art of the kind we are familiar with from the turn of the last century," art historian Wolf Tegethoff notes in the film, according to Architectural Digest. "The architect planned the building from the basic structure down to the carpet and the drapes."
The Tugendhat House documentary, which was directed by Dieter Reifarth, premieres on Jan. 28 at the New York Jewish Film Festival.
· Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Tugendhat House is the Subject of a Documentary Film at the New York Jewish Film Festival [Architectural Digest]
· All Mies van der Rohe coverage [Curbed National]