Archive for the ‘Brno’ Category

A competition to restore Mies’ Tugendhat House in Brno, Czech Republic

04/02/2008

From the Prague Daily Monitor: From (private residence to) dance studio to kindergarten to UNESCO landmark, the villa has fulfilled many functions since its expropriation from a Czech Jewish family in 1939.

And yet, the city of Brno, which owns the building, has badly neglected the landmark, citing lack of finances. Disputes over the villa’s ownership and disagreements over reconstruction plans have also delayed repairs.

… Part of the building is literally sliding down hill, millimetre by millimetre, widening the existing cracks in the façade and creating new ones … as wide as 10 centimetres in some places, plus crumbling stairs and broken glass.

The sad thing is it didn’t have to be this way. The heirs of the original owners formally approached Brno City Hall last winter, in the hope of reclaiming ownership of the building and restoring it to its original state.

Members of the Tugendhat family, who live in Austria, Germany and Switzerland today, said their concern for the villa was the main reason why they wanted it back. They said they would keep the landmark open to the public and fund the reconstruction themselves.

Art historian Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, the youngest of the heirs, and her husband Ivo Hammer, who specialises in historical building conservation, have worked on extensive studies of how to restore the villa for decades.

One might think that city representatives would be hard-pressed to find someone better qualified to plan out the reconstruction. …

But City Hall decided last year not to return the villa, citing missed restitution deadlines. The deadlines do not apply to claims for confiscated works of art. …

But, in a remarkable feat of warped logic, City Hall officials argued that the villa, which is registered as a cultural landmark, is not a work of art.

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more here.

Meanwhile, at Mies’ 860-880 Lake Shore Apartments in Chicago, the travertine plaza is about to be torn up and replaced. Extensive work will also begin on the lobbies.