#LifeInCzechia Have you heard of functionalism in architecture? According to this architectural style, buildings should be designed based on their function. Want to see some? You should come to Brno! The Czech Republic’s second-largest city has many unique functionalist architectural gems. They are not only important for their architectural features but also because they represent the history and lifestyle of their era. So let’s dive right in and feel the vibe of early 20th century Brno!
At the beginning of the 20th century, Brno began to transition into a modern city. Villa Tugendhat is absolutely the most unique shining landmark of Brno’s functionalist architecture. It is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Greta and Fritz Tugendhat commissioned the architect Mies van der Rohe who was one of the leaders of modernist architecture. In Villa Tugendhat, you will be able to see Mies van der Rohe’s revolutionary modern designs. The beauty of simplicity that was ahead of his time.
The building hides a very interesting story not only about its commissioners but also the adaptive reuse of the building.
The transformation of Villa Tugendhat is like a history documentary. If you are interested in learning more about the villa, you can visit here and hear about the history from the Head of Villa Tugendhat, Iveta Cerna, or learn about it on their website.
The building was renovated in 2010 and restored to its original appearance from 1930. You can buy tickets for basic or extended tours here. Sadly, the tours are always overbooked,so make sure to book in advance! If you don’t have time for the entire tour of the inside, you can buy tickets for only the garden and exposition for 50 CZK at the cash desk of Villa Tugendhat and just enjoy the view of the villa from the outside.
Avion Hotel is one of the most narrow hotel buildings in Europe. It was designed in 1926 by Czech architect Bohuslav Fuchs using functionalist principles .
In his design, the street facade was lit by large windows which were innovative for its time. Today the Avion Hotel building is the subject of teaching at architectural universities across the globe.
Would you like to see for yourself? We have great news! The museum of the Avion Hotel was opened three weeks ago. You can make an online reservation here or you can buy the hotel tour tickets at the reception.
The tour is in Czech but thanks to our tour guide PhDr. Darina Zanášková, I was able to get deeply informed about the history and the architecture of the building. You can ask her questions in English!
Era Cafe was built between the years 1927 and 1929 by the architect Josef Kranz, who also gained experience in the studio of Bohuslav Fuchs. The building is an amazing example of functionalism. When you look at the facade, what you see is pure simplicity.
The building has two storeys and is based on a rectangular floor plan with a red and blue curved staircase – iconic for its time. Additionally, the building has an outdoor free area and an apartment formerly for Josef Špunar, the original owner of the building.
Unfortunately, the building almost didn’t survive. It had been decaying for several years and was in danger of collapsing. So, in 2011 a suitable investor was found and it was carefully restored to its original function and appearance.
If you want to drink your coffee and enjoy your meal in the atmosphere of the 1920s, explore this location! Cafe Era has a beautiful, cosy garden. Check out the current and permanent menus, and detailed history of the cafe here.
Brno is definitely a treasure for functionalist architecture! Which building is your personal favourite? Share in the comments!
Interested in unique, modern, stylish apartments in Brno that may not be functionalist per se, but still offer playful and simple design to live in? Check out Domeq Apartments. In the meantime, follow us on our social media at Foreigners Brno.
Photo Source: Leman Oktay, Foreigners