Tugendhat Villa in Brno (2001)
Czech Republic

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The Tugendhat Villa in Brno, designed by the architect Mies van der Rohe, is an outstanding example of the international style in the modern movement in architecture as it developed in Europe in the 1920s. Its particular value lies in the application of innovative spatial and aesthetic concepts that aim to satisfy new lifestyle needs by taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by modern industrial production. 

Villa Tugendhat, designed as a functionalist building, stands on the hillside of the Brno residential quarter Černé Pole facing the city centre, Špilberk and Petrov. 

The three-floor building is partially set in the hill. A broad staircase joins the dining room with the garden which makes an integral part of the building, a fact which the author of the stamp endeavoured to emphasize. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe also designed the furniture and interior details, such as door handles, curtains, lighting bodies, etc. 

Czech Republic 2005. Villa Tugendhat, Brno.

Czech Republic 2005. Close-up of a blackprint of the Tugendhat stamp

Mies's style is characterized by a severe simplicity and the refinement of its exposed structural elements. Although not the first architect to work in this mode, he carried rationalism and functionalism to their ultimate stage of development. His famous dictum "less is more" crystallized the basic philosophy of mid-20th-century architecture. Rigidly geometrical and devoid of ornamentation, his buildings depended for their effect on subtlety of proportion, elegance of material (including marble, onyx, chrome, and travertine), and precision of details. 

Czech Republic 2000. Exhibition card from the Stamp Exhibition 2000,  with a photograph of the Villa Tugendhat on the cachet.

Mies was director of the Bauhaus School of Design, the major centre of 20th-century architectural modernism, from 1930 until its disbandment in 1933. He moved to the United States in 1937, where, as director of architecture (1938-1958) at the Illinois Institute of Technology, he trained a new generation of American architects. He produced many buildings in the United States, including skyscrapers, museums, schools, and residences. His 37-storey bronze-and-glass Seagram Building in New York (1958; in collaboration with the American architect Philip Johnson) is considered the most subtle development of the glass-walled skyscraper, while his glass-walled Farnsworth House (1950, near Fox River, Illinois) is the culmination of his residential architecture. 

With the French architect Le Corbusier and the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies was one of the three most influential 20th-century architects. His skyscraper designs in particular have been copied or adapted by most modern architects working in the field. He died in Chicago on August 17, 1969. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section of the Czech Republic, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 18 aug 2007  
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