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Villa Tugendhat reconstruction project ruled illegal

29. 8. 2008 12:10
Sole Czech modern architecture site listed by UNESCO

Brno - The only Czech landmark listed as the Unesco World Heritage site in the modern architecture category, was supposed to be long under reconstruction but it is not and it will not be for a while.

The tender to reconstruct the Villa Tugendhat, desiged by the founder of modern architecture Ludwig Mies van den Rohe, was found illegal. The Antimonopoly Office (ÚOHS) ruled so, making the result of the tender default.

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ÚOHS director Martin Pecina informed that it is up to the Brno municipal authorities to decide whether they call for a new tender or choose one of the bids submitted in the flawed tender.

Brno mayor Roman Onderka said he would immediately convene a coalition meeting of the city council.

Documentation missing

ÚOHS's ruling only affirmed a decision of the Supreme Administrative Court which previously upheld a complaint of a group of Brno architects, led by Jan Sapák that called the tender unlawful.

The winning project by Omnia company allegedly did not present all the required documentation.

The group of Jan Sapák took the second place. Sapák appealed to ÚOHS twice but it did not uphold his complain. The Brno city council eventually signed the contract with Omnia. 

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Brno authorities have already informed that the long-awaited reconstruction project is not going to start this year. The verdict of ÚOHS will mean more delay.

Brno authorities had two reports made that suggested to opt for the Omnia project. It later transpired that one of the reports was prepared by a lawyer who represented Omnia in cases linked to the project. 

Read more: Hundreds of Czech landmarks decay beyond repair

Messerschmidt in the house 

On top of that, the descendants of the villa owners may claim the building back following the protracted reconstruction and court hearings. 

Many consider the Villa Tugendhat as the most important work in Europe by Mies van den Rohe who later moved to the United States. The Villa was built in the year 1938-1930 and in 1939 the Gestapo confiscated the villa, making it the design studio for Messerschmidt, a famous German WWII fighter aircraft manufacturer. 

During the WWII the house was badly damaged by a bomb, which exploded in a garden and later neglected during the Communist regime.

The Villa´s revolutionary concept of the interior as an open space was later used by many architects. The space is divided into functional zones only by the arrangements of tables and chairs and other furniture, also designed by the architect. 

Rohe was very inventive in using then modern materials like glass, chromium-plated steel and polished stone, thus creating unique aesthetic qualities.

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You can have a look at the English Villa´s web site here. 

autor: Tomáš Fránek and Naďa Straková | 29. 8. 2008 12:10

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