In 2010–2012, a comprehensive conservation and restoration of Villa Tugendhat was carried out, returning the house to the appearance as it was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and built in 1929–1930. During the restoration, emphasis was placed on preserving the original materials and technical equipment in order to preserve as much of the authenticity of the monument as possible, and to supply the missing parts based on detailed knowledge of the original design.
The journey towards the restoration of Villa Tugendhat and its accessibility as an installed monument of modern architecture took more than forty years. František Kalivoda first sought to open the original family home to the public in the 1960’s, and it was even the wish of the client and first owner of the building, Greta Tugendhat, and later of her descendants. At the beginning of the 1980’s, the first restoration and reconstruction of Villa Tugendhat took place.
The comprehensive restoration of the villa in 2010–2012 was preceded by a series of surveys, examining the building history and heritage restoration campaigns.
For the planned restoration, the preparation of a detailed historical building survey (SHP) by a multi-professional group of architectural historians, conservationists, archivists, architectural theorists, garden architects, art historians and natural scientists, including experts from abroad, under the leadership of Karel Ksander, was essential. The team of experts gathered the maximum amount of knowledge about the original form of the house and rehabilitated the bad reputation of the reconstruction from the 1980’s. The SHP, completed in 2001, included recommendations for the future conservation and restoration of the villa – suggestions for methodical approaches to the gentle restoration of the original surfaces. In 2003, the first round of restoration research was carried out under the direction of Ivo Hammer with the financial participation of the Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst Hildesheim / Holzminden / Göttingen. This was followed by further international restoration campaigns between 2005 and 2010, culminating in the final phase, the Conservation Investigation Campaign, from 1 to 5 March 2010. The project was sponsored by the University of Pardubice and under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Ivo Hammer, a team of teachers and students from several domestic and international schools participated. The aim of the project was to identify and refine the methods of carrying out individual restoration and conservation interventions and to verify them on practical samples – pilot surfaces. The survey focused on exterior and interior plaster, stone, wood and metal (e.g., interior and exterior column cladding, wood surfaces of built-in elements, etc.), both the original historic materials, techniques and surfaces in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s work, as well as materials and techniques of historic alterations, including their condition and causes of deterioration. The results of the final stage of the research became the basis for the elaboration of restoration plans and for the determination of the method of restoration of the original substance of the villa, which was described by Ivo Hammer as the most authentic Mies building in Europe.
The City of Brno, as the owner of the building, as well as other civic initiatives such as the Brno Fund for the Restoration of Villa Tugendhat, the Villa Tugendhat Foundation, the London Friends of Tugendhat and the American Institute of Architects sought to restore the building in the resolution “Continued Restoration of the Villa Tugendhat”. The intention was to be facilitated by the inscription of Villa Tugendhat on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 16 December 2001. The following year, the city of Brno launched a public tender for a designer for the restoration. The winner was chosen by an eleven-member jury and the first place was awarded to the Association for Villa Tugendhat consisting of OMNIA, Archatt, Archteam, Rusín & Wahla. The Association for Villa Tugendhat followed up on the preparatory work carried out by historians and restorers and in 2005–2006 prepared the first three-stage restoration project. The search for funds to finance such a demanding construction and restoration project was resulted in funding provided from European funds and co-financing by the owner of the building – the City of Brno.
The complete restoration project was presented to the professional public in the Assembly Hall of the New Town Hall of Brno during an international conference on 16–18 June 2009. The actual construction work, provided by the general contractor Unistav, a. s., began at the onset of 2010. After a demanding restoration, Villa Tugendhat was reopened to the public as an installed monument of modern architecture on 29 February 2012.
The objectives of the restoration and renewal of the building, as defined by the Association for Villa Tugendhat, were:
a) to save and significantly prolong the life of the building as a preserved original
b) the preservation and restoration of the original state of the house as designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and as it was built in 1929-1930. The means of this plan was, from a professional point of view, a rehabilitation, i.e. a gentle loosening of the heritage building towards its essence [i.e. the material and surface value of the original, including the application of the layer of initial use (until WW2), conservation of the essence and a commemorative completion of the missing parts based on detailed knowledge of the original design.
THICOM – Tugendhat House International Committee
The National Heritage Institute and the Department of Culture and Heritage Care of the Regional Office of the South Moravian Region were entrusted with the expert supervision of the restoration of Villa Tugendhat. At the same time, an International Advisory Board of Experts for the Restoration of Villa Tugendhat, “THICOM” was established on 17 June 2009 as an advisory board of the Council of the City of Brno. THICOM expressed its opinion on the basic issues of the concept, theory, and methodology of the restoration of Villa Tugendhat, as well as on important procedures in the conservation and restoration of the building’s structural substance and its interior furnishings, and the rehabilitation of the garden. Another task of THICOM was to provide continuous objective information on the preparation and progress of the restoration of the Villa through the Villa Tugendhat website, publications, lectures and international meetings in accordance with the requirements of conservation, both for domestic and international professional audiences.
THICOM – International Expert Committee to advice the City of Brno regarding the implementation of the restoration of the Tugendhat House in Brno according to the principles of the preservation of a monument.
Designated on 17 June 2009 in Brno by Dr. Daniel Rychnovsky, 1 Vice Mayor of the City of Brno. Decision of the Council of the City of Brno to the establishment of the Expert Advisory Council on 1 December 2009 (R5/128). Appointment of Members on 13 January 2009.
The THICOM is a committee of specialists to advise the City of Brno for the evaluation of the technical issues regarding the preparation and implementation of the restoration of the Tugendhat House according to the principles of the preservation of a monument. The THICOM comments on basic conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues regarding the restoration of the Tugendhat House – according to the principles of the preservation of a monument – on important processes of preservation and restoration of the building fabric and on refurbishing the interior and the garden. THICOM is also a institution of the continuous objective information of the national and international audience concerning the preparation and the process of the restoration of the Tugendhat House
Iveta Černá (Brno) – Director of Villa Tugendhat, architect, conservationist, THICOM secretary
Karel Ksandr (Prague) – Director General of the National Technical Museum in Prague, conservationist, formerly responsible for Villa Tugendhat at the National Heritage Institute (until 2007) and head of the team that prepared the historical building survey of the villa in 2001
Petr Kroupa (Brno) – art historian and director of the National Heritage Institute in Brno
Josef Štulc (Praha) – art historian, conservationist, chief conservator of the National Heritage Institute and president of ICOMOS in the Czech Republic
Martin Zedníček (Brno) – Architect, Head of the Department of Heritage Care, Brno Municipality
Vladimír Šlapeta (Brno) – architect, historian and theoretician of architecture, professor at the Brno Faculty of Architecture
Thomas Danzl (Dresden) – conservator-restorer, art historian
Alex Dill (Karlsruhe) – architect, Chairman of DOCOMOMO Germany
Wessel de Jonge (Rotterdam) – architect, Vice-Chairman of THICOM
Ivo Hammer – (‘Vienna) conservator-restorer, art historian, chairman of THICOM
Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat (Vienna) – art historian, youngest daughter of Greta and Fritz Tugendhat, Honorary President of THICOM
Ana Tostões (Lisabon) – architect, architectural historian, president of DOCOMOMO International
Arthur Rüegg (Zurich) – architect and theorist
Ruggero Tropeano (Zurich) – architect.
Martin Zedníček – Brno
Assistant of chairman: Petr Dvořák – Brno
For assistance to the cooperation and coordination of THICOM we thank the ETH Zurich, Prof. Dr. Theo Wehner.
PIANO MOVED OUT OF THE VILLA
The PETROF make piano was moved out of the main living area of Villa Tugendhat on Thursday the 4th of February 2010. Over the course of the monument renewal the instrument will be lent to the music department of the Jiří Mahen Library in Brno and will be placed within the Klein Palace on náměstí Svobody (Freedom Square).
VILLA TUGENDHAT HANDED OVER TO THE COMPANY UNISTAV a. s.
On the 8th of February 2010 the official handing over of Villa Tugendhat to the building contractors took place, these being the Unistav a. s. company. The superintendent Ing. Michal Malásek was given the keys to the building and with this, the realization phase of the monument renewal of Villa Tugendhat was thereby initiated.
CLEANING OUT THE MAIN LIVING AREA
The main living area of the Villa was cleaned out on Thursday the 11th of February 2010. A copy of the Female Torso by Wilhelm Lehmbruck has been stored in the depositaries of the Moravian Gallery in Brno. Copies of the original furnishing including the carpets are also stored in the depositaries of the Brno City Museum at Špilberk Castle. The onyx wall was wrapped in geotextile and a casing construction from wooden plates. The steel supporting columns in the main living area as well as in the spaces of the prep room and kitchen were also wrapped in geotextile.
COMMENCEMENT OF GEOMONITORING
On Monday, 22nd February 2010, a drilling rig was transported to the garden of Villa Tugendhat by means of two cranes to perform hydrogeological boreholes. The monitoring inside and outside the house was launched by setting and fixing fixed measurement points and a comparative measurement was conducted, which will be followed by checking measurements in regular time intervals throughout the monument renovation, and even after its completion. Pairs of measurement points were fitted to the house façade and a comparative measurement was conducted, which will continue on a regular basis. The hydrogeological monitoring boreholes were drilled in the garden and the road in front of the house in order to enable soil and water sampling. The measurement and monitoring will continue also in these boreholes.
The unauthentic furnishing was dismantled, unauthentic PVC floor coverings in the basement were removed and unoriginal tiles and pavement were removed, including the screed floor cover.
In the second half of February, the site accommodation was installed – installation of cabins, fencing, installation of site service network of sanitary-technical installations, wiring, weak current lines.
RESTORATION RESEARCH WORK
The final stage of restoration research, building upon the campaign carried out over the years 2003-2006, took place in Villa Tugendhat over the 1st to the 5th of March. The aim consisted of identifying and specifying the methods employed in the particular restoration and conservation interventions, along with testing on practical samples, pilot surfaces. The guarantor of the project was Pardubice University, along with an international team consisting of both teachers and students from the Faculty of Restoration in Litomyšl Pardubice University, the Applied Science and Art Universities in Hildesheim, Holzminden and in Göttingen, the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, the University of Fine Arts in Dresden and the Institute of Restoration and Conservation in Cologne all under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Ivo Hammer. The research work was focused on the original historic material, technology and surfaces in the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as well as on the materials, technology and surfaces of the historic changes including the current state and causes of the damage. Both the internal and external plaster work were examined along with the stone, wood and metal (for example, the cladding of the columns in the interior and exterior, the surfaces of the wood of the installed elements, etc.). The results of the final stages of the restoration research will serve as the basis for the preparation of the restoration work as well as for establishing the methods for the restoration of the original substance of the Villa.
DISCOVERY OF THE ORIGINAL FLOORING
After removal of the secondary walls constructed in the kitchen, the original flooring was discovered. The light coloured ceramic floor tiles of a diameter of 15 x 15 cm of the RAKO – CZECHOSLOVAKIA make were produced in Czechoslovakia in the most renowned Czech ceramic works of the day established in the year 1883 in the Rakovník region in Bohemia. A similar type of floor tiles by RAKO were discovered in the backfill of the floor in the photo chamber where they had also been stripped during the original asphalt insulation work.
RESTORATION WORK ON THE GARDEN BEGUN
Removal of the inappropriate cultivated wood species has taken place up until the end of March. They will be replaced with new plantings in accordance with the historical plans with the aim of renewing the original atmosphere of the 1930s.
In the course of March, hydrogeological monitoring borehole drilling in the garden and the road in front of the house was finalised. The unauthentic tiles and pavement were removed, including the screed floor cover. The additionally erected partition walls in the kitchen and basement were pulled down. Probes into the floor structure were made in the basement. Grooves were cut in the floors where horizontal sewers were laid and the floor structure was removed down to the unmade ground. The gas pipeline inside the house was removed and probes were made into the sanitary-technical installations in the basement rooms.
FIRST MEETING OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE – THICOM
On Friday, 9th April, the first meeting of the Tugendhat House International Committee (THICOM) guaranteeing an expert supervision of the monument Tugendhat House, preservation in Brno took place. This international panel of experts was set up on the basis of a decision made by the Brno City Council on 1st December 2009. The members of THICOM presented their first recommendations on the design and the performance of work itself during this meeting.
Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Dr. Ivo Hammer, mentioned the main tasks of THICOM:
expert supervision and consultancy
provision of objective information to professional public.
According to the Articles, the Vice-Chairman of the Committee was elected, being architect Wessel de Jonge from Rotterdam.
During the house visit, prof. Dr. Ivo Hammer informed the attending members of THICOM about the results of the final campaign of the restoration research into materials and surfaces, called shortly CIC (Conservation Investigation Campaign), and about the proposals related to the conservation and repair of the original substance. CIC took place between 1st – 5th March 2010 and it involved six universities and scientific institutions from four countries.
During the discussion conducted in the atmosphere of mutual respect and regard, the members of THICOM agreed with the first recommendations which were unanimously adopted.
Iveta Černá /Brno/, architect, head of the Muzeum města Brna branch office – Tugendhat House, head of the committee’s protocol
Wessel de Jonge /Rotterdam/, architect, expert on the rehabilitation of modern architectural monuments, Vice-Chairman of the Committee
Alex Dill /Karlsruhe/, architect, modern architecture university professor
Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat /Wien/, art historian, honorary Chairwoman of the Committee
Ivo Hammer /Wien/, preservationist/restorer, Chairman of the Committee
Petr Kroupa /Brno/ art historian, director of NPÚ-ÚOP Brno
Karel Ksandr /Praha/, deputy direction of the National Museum, former expert guarantor of NPÚ for Tugendhat House
Arthur Rüegg /Zürich/ architect specialising in modern architecture monument rehabilitation
Miloš Solař /Praha/, architect, expert guarantor of NPÚ for Tugendhat House
Josef Štulc /Praha/, president of the Czech National Committee of ICOMOS
Ana Tostões /Lisbon/, architect and architecture historian, Chairwoman of do.co.mo.mo. international
Ruggero Tropeano /Zürich/, architect specialising in modern architecture monument rehabilitation
Martin Zedníček /Brno/, architect, head of the Department of Monument Conservation of Brno City Municipality
Next meeting of the Committee will take place on 4th June 2010 in Brno.
After removing the PVC flooring laid during the villa restoration in the 1980’s , Sorel cement was detected on the 3rd (bedroom floor) floor. Sorel cement was patented in 1927 and it was made of burnt magnesia and magnesium chloride solution with the addition of other aggregates. It was used for the production of artificial stone and, in particular, for the production of seamless floors (xylolite) This material was also applied in the main residential space but it was fully removed in the 1980’s and replaced with screed floor cover and steel reinforcement (reinforcing bars). The remains of Sorel cement in the main living space were detected at the wall face under travertine sockles. For the time being it cannot be clearly determined whether the Sorel cement was used in Tugendhat House during its finalisation in 1930 or during the post-was reconstruction in 1945, when the original flooring Deutsche Linoleum-Werke (DLW) was replaced by red coloured xylolite (see the photograph by Peter Zerweck from 1969 in the section of Study and documentation centre).
JACKETING OF COLUMNS IN THE MAIN LIVING ROOM
The steel supporting columns having a cross section in the shape of cross are jacketed in the main living room always by four chromium plated U-shaped brass sheets. After removing the screed it was possible to use a mirror to partly document the system of binding the jacketing segments. This confirmed the consideration by Wolf Tegethoff, Tatjana Bayer and Martin Griseser Stremscheg, who anticipated the application of the bayonet principle with locking by vertical movement. In the space between the jacketing and the column structure we detected dilatation wooden blocks. Chat is also well visible are the river heads. At the internal jacket facing we also detected fragments of the original floor covering (DLW).
A part of the horizontal sewerage was uncovered outside the building at the garden terrace. A probe between the inspection manholes proved its state of disrepair. This confirmed the long-term assumption that rain water and sanitary sewage leaked below the foundations and was one of the causes of the garden terrace faults. Furthermore, the original cast iron ran water and sanitary vertical sewerage was uncovered. Camera tests proving passability were conducted.
On the 1st floor (technical floor) the function of the crawl-way with hot water pipes, which was backfilled, filled with concrete and covered with a new floor layer in the 1980’s was partly renewed.
The heat exchanger was shut off and the existing technical equipment installed in the spaces of the boiler room and coke room in the 1980’s is ready for dismantling. The original elements (ash lift and its ceramic tiling) will be preserved and restored as technical monuments.
The safeguarding and rehabilitation of the concrete retaining wall commenced in the space of the so-called „tunnel“, which separates the building itself from the service networks beneath the road.
Sorel cement detected in April was chemically analysed. The Pardubice University laboratories determined a mixture of Sorel cement, sawdust and sand. The presence of asbestos was ruled out.
A fragment of Sorel cement was discovered in the rubbish in uncovered vertical sanitary installations in the cook room on the 2nd floor (staff wing on the main living floor) with a preserved red xylolite coating from 1945.
BOILER ROOM AND COKE ROOM
After removing technical equipment in the boiler room and coke room on the 1st floor (technical floor) the unauthentic facing from the 1980’s was removed in these spaces and the new bricked in coke chute was pulled down. Inside the chute we discovered the original wall-to-wall ceramic tile facing, probably also manufactured by RAKO, size of 150 x 150 x 15 mm. The unauthentic tiles were removed in both these spaces.
After removing the concrete plaster floor in the scullery on the 2nd floor (main living floor) we uncovered a hollow in the floor lined with polyethylene. Once it was removed it was possible to see the whole ceiling structure consisting of steel I profiles (in 400 mm), ceramic inserts (v 130 mm) and a suspended reed ceiling.
After uncovering the vertical sanitary installations in the cook room on the 2nd floor (staff wing on the main living floor) the original heat insulation was detected. These are two boards fitted to the joining construction and anchored by a steel mesh. The thickness of one board is 25 mm and the material is probably hardboard with visible jute fibres and hair, probably beef.
Using the same probe, we removed a wooden plug from the ceiling dated from the time of the villa construction and inscribed „Maurer“, i.e. the bricklayer (handwritten by pencil).
Work focusing on mapping and inspection of the existing wiring started along with a partial dismantling of distribution networks serving this purpose (boiler room, coke room, and garden furniture storeroom). Lights, sockets, and switches were dismantled on all three floors.
The international restoration campaign in March 2010 suggested, as an option, the method of technical restoration of the external plasters. The specific method including places with various degrees of damage is currently implemented by the restoration faculty of Pardubice University.
DISMANTLING BUILT-IN WARDROBES FROM THE 1980‘S
On the 3rd floor (bedroom floor), in the children section, the built-in wardrobes dated from the 1980’s were dismantled. In the boys‘ room, behind these modern wardrobes, a wooden supporting grid was detected, with a prepared blockboard with jacaranda veneer in the entrance hall. One of the supporting columns includes a visible inscription written by pencil dated 1. 7. 1930 and in the area of the blockboard there is another inscription written by pencil dated 2. 9. 1930 and the name Šulc – Schulz written in Czech and German.
In the staff wing on the 2nd floor (main living floor) , the additional partition wall separating the space of the original bathroom was removed, and authentic tiling was discovered beneath . Unauthentic tiling and facing were removed from the bathroom, including the screed under flooring.
Heating elements from the 1980‘s were removed from the whole house along with the horizontal central heating distribution system and pipes suspended under the ceiling on the 1st floor (technical floor).
Work on the structural securing of the supporting wall continued, the so-called „tunnel“. In the second part of May the supporting wall was cleaned and samples were taken based on which the colours and structures of the restored surface will be determined.
Excavation work inside the house continues in order to replace the horizontal sewers.
Due to the excavation work for the horizontal sewers we transferred a part of the hedge (trimmed buxus), which will be temporarily planted in the garden. The removal of the vegetation was also necessary for the restoration of the external plaster of the house.
SECOND THICOM ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
On Friday 4 June 2010 the second meeting of the International Expert Advisory Committee providing professional supervision of the restoration of the Tugendhat House in Brno (THICOM – Tugendhat House International Committee) took place in the Tugendhat House. The most important item on the agenda was the evaluation of the CIC international restoration campaign (Conservation International Campaign) focused on a non-invasive method of a potential structural reinforcement of the garden terrace. Furthermore, the committee discussed the issue of optical protection of the installed architectural monument interior and access for disabled citizens. Foreign and local THICOM members have agreed on ongoing mutual communication related to expert issues in the further course of the restoration of the building. More on THICOM.
The technical floor (1st floor) had the unoriginal walls removed in both retractable window engine rooms and the partitions separating toilets, which were newly constructed in the 1980‘s. Behind the removed partition wall of the sanitary facilities the presumably original telephone wiring of the house has been discovered.
BEDROOM FLOOR – CHILDREN’S SECTION
A defect in the floor was discovered in the children’s section bathroom (3rd floor), dating from the 1980‘s. Under incoherent concrete screed there was a backfill with fragments of original floor and wall tiles. The structure also contained preserved original sewer and water pipes. The partition wall between the boys‘ room and the room of the eldest daughter Hanna had a later bricking-in of a passage between the two rooms removed; this was originally closed by a wooden sliding wall.
TERRACES AND EXTERIOR STAIRS
Large format terrazzo tiles have been removed on the upper terrace, these will be transported and restored off site. Travertine staircase steps and travertine tiles were removed from the garden terrace. All these elements have been identified, packaged in protective foil and are deposited on the site. Stone (sandstone) steps from the 1980‘s have also been dismantled from the southeast staircase, which is adjacent to the conservatory. Exchange of horizontal drains will take place under this staircase. Steps were also disassembled from the short staircase below the garden conservatory.
A re-profiling of the retaining wall was completed in the air-insulation cavity (the so-called “tunnel”). Installation of new electricity wiring commenced on all floors of the house. Excavation works for the exchange of horizontal drains began in the exterior, in areas where the sewer passes under the garden terrace staircase. Furthermore, work began on the exchange of vertical drains inside the building.
MAIN LIVING FLOOR
Following the completion of re-profiling of the supporting wall in the main living floor (2nd floor), the air insulating hollow (the so-called tunnel), the reconstruction of the steel joists commenced- these are partly uncovered in the concrete ceiling. Partition walls added in the 1980’s were removed from the space of the so-called tunnel.
PROVISIONAL TERRACE SHELTERING
The terraces on the entrance floor (3rd floor) were provisionally sheltered both in the parts in the directions of the street and the garden.
DISMANTLING OF THE FENCING
Steel fencing in running along the street side of the house including the entrance gates was professionally dismantled and transported for restoration work. A part of the fencing behind the site accommodation up to the border of the land plot was replaced by provisional wire mesh fence.
SPECIFICATION OF THE FOUNDATION OF SUPPORTING STEEL COLUMNS
A probe was excavated in the room under the garden terrace (former ironing room) at the footing of column S13 in order to specify the position of foundation wells. The detected situation fully complies with the original design from 1929, developed by the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s office. The uncovered structure proved the anchoring using a steel profile in a massive conical concrete footing resting on three large-diameter piles of a circular cross section – the so-called wells.
Continuing installation of new wiring on all floors. The connection of a new feeding electric cable in the house in the area of the staff entrance was completed.
Continuing work on the replacement of horizontal sewerage inside and outside the house. Backfills are performed in places where the sewerage has been replaced.
Large-size terrazzo pavement on the upper terraces has been transported to the restoration workshop.
A part of the steel door wings from the technical floor (1st floor) has been transported for restoration.
LIGHTENING THE ROOF STRUCTURES FOR SUBSEQUENT REMOVAL OF PERIPHERAL STRUCTURES OF THE GARDEN TERRACE
Before dismantling the travertine pavements and garden terrace steps it was necessary to remove the concrete flooring. In the space of the former ironing room (1st floor) a provisional supporting steel structure was installed, securing the roof plate of the terrace. The original garden terrace steel railing was dismantled and transported to a workshop for renovation and restoration.
EXTERNAL SEWERAGE AND GLASS FOUND
New stoneware horizontal sewerage was laid along the winter garden. Fragments of glass in various thickens (2.0 – 9.8 mm) were found during the excavation work. Samples of glass from this backfill were sent for detailed laboratory analyses to verify their authenticity. The glass of slightly yellowish shade with a thickness of 9.8 mm could originate from the original glazing of the main living space (2nd floor).
The so-called “TUNNEL” – air insulation hollow
In the space of the so-called tunnel (2nd floor), the coating of the steel ceiling beams was completed and the roof plate was renovated. One of the supporting reinforced concrete ribs was repaired by means of shotcrete with surface treatment adjusted to the period look.
RESTORATION AND CONSERVATION OF METAL ELEMENTS
Professional dismantling commenced, followed by transport of these elements that will not be treated “in situ“ to the artisan’s workshop:
steel consoles for central heating and sanitary installations distribution on the technical floor (1st floor)
garden terrace steel railing (2nd floor)
steel window casement of a continuous window in the drying room and ironing room (1st floor)
rolling blinds from the window boxes on the bedroom floor (3rd floor)
The camera inspection of the condition of the sewerage taking place in April defined sections where individual pieces or branches had to be removed and where the original pieces will undergo special repair. In those places where the replacement of horizontal and vertical sewerage cannot be replaced, the lining method was selected. The existing pieces were first cleaned by pressurised water. Then, the so-called textile sleeve was slipped into the original piece and resin was injected under pressure which, once hardened, created a new jacket inside the pipe with a long service life.
The unauthentic worn out layers of the roof jacket (consisting of bitumen strips, screed with reinforcing steel, perlite-concrete and sand) were removed down to the original screed layer dated from 1930. This process demanding in terms of technology and time is still ongoing, approximately ¼ of the surface has been completed.
PREPARATION FOR STRUCTURAL SECURING OF THE GARDEN TERRACE
The design for the transfer of the exterior original plasters with the intention of their setting in the original position after the structural securing of the masonry is under way.
Continuing grooving and installation of new wiring on the bedroom floor (3rd floor). During the second half of the month, the installation of heavy current lines was completed on the 2nd and 3rd floor.
Other pilot areas are tested in the main living space (2nd floor) for the restoration of interior plasters.
Unauthentic plasters were removed in the former laundry room (1st floor). When removing the secondary layers, a layer of authentic mortar was found with set in original tiles removed in the 1980’s.
By mid September, the removal of the present warn out layers of roof cladding were removed from the whole roof surface. To ensure protection against weather conditions, damp-proofing was provided for security reasons down to the uncovered original screed.
REMOVAL OF GARDEN TERRACE EXTERNAL PLASTER
The removal of secondary coatings and surface plaster treatment layers started. Such a cleaned surface was reinforced with a consolidating agent, which will have an effect for 14-24 days depending on the weather. After that, the plaster will be ready for the transfer.
DISMANTLING OF THE BUILT-IN BOOKCASE IN THE MAIN LIVING ROOM
In the second half of September, the restorers dismantled the Makassar ebony book-case in the main living room (2nd floor). The individual elements were carefully described, protected against damage and they are ready to be transported to the restoration workshops.
REPAIR OF STEEL ELEMENTS
Steel anchors of the central heating and sanitary installation suspensions fixed under the ceiling were uncovered on the technical floor (1st floor) and dismantled. The window steel structures including the sill were removed in the former ironing room. These elements were transported to the workshops for repair and restoration.
Preparatory work commenced on the dismantling of the unauthentic vertical steel profiles in the curved opal glass was at the entrance hall (3rd floor), where there is currently plastic glass (material Umastir from the 1980‘s). The original steel structure was cleaned off the secondary coatings and it was provided with anti-corrosive coating (red colour), replacing minium that cannot be used for ecological reasons.
In the second half of September, the opal glass glazing of the luminous wall from the 1980’s was removed along with the glazing from the same period located between the main residential space and the winter garden (2nd floor).
RESTORATION OF TECHNICAL MONUMENTS
The restoration and preservation of technical monuments and elements started on the technical floor (1st floor). As part of the preparatory work concerning the restoration of the authentic ventilation system, the central part of the suction chamber was dismantled. To enable access to the steel grate, the stone boulders were removed, which were placed on it in a special sprinkling chamber to ensure their moisturising.
The unauthentic concrete layer was removed- this layer covered flower pots for climbing plants on the technical terrace at Černopolní street in the 1980’s.
Travertine lining of plinths fitted in the 1980’s at a wrong level were removed from the entrance terraces (3rd floor).
REMOVAL OF GARDEN TERRACE EXTERNAL PLASTERS
After a technical break required for the action of the consolidating agent, the existing condition of the plasters to be removed and their positions were surveyed. The restorers applied a reinforcing fabric on the surface of the original plaster layers with a wooden slat grid enabling the fixing of the plasters and their later transfer. In the second half of October, the masonry behind the original plaster that is ready for transfer was dismantled by the restorers.
REPAIR OF STEEL ELEMENTS
The dismantling of the unauthentic steel vertical profiles in the milk glass curved wall at the entrance hall (3rd floor), filled with plastic glass in the 1980’s (material Umastir) was completed. The original steel structure of the wall was coated with the prime anti-rust coat. Work commenced on the removal of coatings of the steel structure between the main living space and the winter garden and these structures were coated with the prime anti-rust coat before the end of the month. In Hanna’s room in the winter section the window structure was cleaned and the prime anti-rust coat was also applied.
In the second half of October, the work on the installation of the first layer of thermal insulation started, consisting of foam glass glued in hot asphalt.
The wooded door wings on the 2nd and 3rd floors are being dismantled. In the landlord‘s room (3rd floor), the restorers dismantled the original built-in wardrobe.
Steel supporting columns on the 2nd and 3rd floors were provided with protective wooden encasing (OSB-boards).
Work also continues on the weak current wiring on all floors.
On the technical floor (1st floor) , the installation of central heating distribution system started suspended under the ceiling commenced.
THIRD THICOM MEETING
On Friday, 22nd October 2010, the third meeting of the International expert advisory team guaranteeing professional supervision of the Tugendhat House Monument restoration in Brno took place (THICOM – Tugendhat House International Committee). The meeting concerned the ongoing process of the monument restoration focusing on the specific professions. The invited restorers informed the foreign experts about the technological and technical procedures in the field of conservation, restoration, and reconstruction of interior and exterior plasters, metal elements, stone, wood and glass. The discussion also included a presentation of new operative project documentation based on the new findings that are recorded, sorted and evaluated- the specific elements and fragments found during the construction work. The representatives of the contractor and the design engineer informed about the composition of the roof jacket in relation to the conception of the attic, method and scope of preserving Sorel cement, the restoration of technical monument and fire protection and alternatives of disabled access. What was also discussed was the question of the visitor centre planned to be installed in the future in Löw-Beer House being prepared for this purpose for reconstruction by the owner with financial assistance from the Regional Operational Programme.
In the first half of November, the original plasters stored in the immediate vicinity of the garden terrace were removed. Following a structural securing of the foundation structures of the terrace and the installation of a new peripheral wall, these will be transferred back. In the second half of November, work started on the structural securing of the garden terrace, specifically the deepening of the foundation wells.
The restorers started removing the secondary external plaster layers using micro-hammers. Secondary coating layers are removed in the interiors.
Work continues on the dismantling of the wooden built-in wardrobes on the 2nd and 3rd floors. In the lady’s room (3rd floor) and the scullery (2nd floor), the restores dismantled the original built-in wardrobes. At the same time, the unauthentic wooden wall lining was removed in the anteroom between the gentleman’s and lady’s room from the 1980’s. In the anteroom at the entrance to the terrace (between the lady’s room and the children’s room) the restorer dismantled the authentic wooden lining.
In the main living room (2nd floor – dining room), the unauthentic curved wooden partition wall from the 1980’s was professionally dismantled and stored in the depository of the Museum of the City of Brno. Following the dismantling of the partition wall and following the removal of the unauthentic screed, the authentic anchoring of the original curved Makassar partition wall was discovered which disappeared as early as 1940. On this occasion, the biggest fragment of the original DLW flooring with a size of approx. 580 x 250-290 mm was discovered. This DLW fragment was localised under the unauthentic brickwork from the 1980’s between the wooden curved partition wall and the opaline glass wall (under the DLW flooring there is a preserved original xylolite floor).
MAIN LIVING ROOM AND THE WINTER GARDEN
The steel structure between the main living room and the winter garden was provided with the prime rust-resistant coating and partly with the first covering coating layer. During the dismantling of the horizontal ribs of the ventilation floor openings in the main living room consisting of two parts, the original ventilation system of the winter garden was discovered. The ventilation was ensured by an air slot that is filled with a perforated metal plate with square openings. On the side of the winter garden the slot is covered with a steel rolled profile, three parts of which can be removed and inserted back without any tools. This is enabled by angular spikes that fit perfectly into the metal plate perforations. The remaining part of the slot is covered with an identical steel rolled profile that is screwed onto the structure. The findings of the newly discovered ventilation system including the operative documentation have been summarised for a professional publication.
By the end of November, the layer of unauthentic screed was fully removed in the main living room (2nd floor).
Installation of the first (sloping) layer of thermal insulation continued on the roof (foam glass glued in hot asphalt).
Work on weak current wiring continues on all floors of the house.
Installation of central heating distribution suspended under the ceiling continues of the technical floor (1st floor).
In the first half of November, the restorers dismantled the ventilation control panel including the electric motor and both authentic warm-water exchangers. These elements were transported to the restorer’s workshops.
In the second half of November, the openings made in the 1980’s were bricked in the window engine room on the technical floor (1st floor) along with the opening for a WC in the personnel tract (2nd floor).
Reinforcement was inserted in the first of the foundation wells and concreted. Excavation work is performed in the other foundation wells; the total number of the wells is. In the second half of December, the second foundation well was dug up and concreted.
In the gentlemen’s room (3rd floor), a reference sample of the internal plaster was approved and it will be applied in the whole room. Following the validation of the application of the technology and working procedure in large entire zones in this room, the final method and working procedure will be determined for the other residential spaces.
Steel drapery guides were dismantled on the bedroom floor (3rd floor). Incompact varnish layers on steel door and window structures are mechanically cleaned. A structure protecting against weather conditions was installed on the external side of the windows on the bedroom floor, which will enable the restorers to apply the coatings in the winter.
Installation of the first of the two layers of modified layers started on the roof.
The concreting of the subfloor was completed on the technical floor in the laundry (1st floor).
Work on weak current wiring continues on all floors. Installation of horizontal suction pipe distribution system of the electronic fire alarm system commenced.
In the gentleman’s room (3rd floor) , the xylolite floor was removed in the approved extent. A switchboard was located in the chamber adjacent to the personnel tract (2nd floor), and the original ceramic white floor tiles by the company RAKO were discovered after removing a concrete plinth under the switchboard.
In the second half of December, the restorers dismantled both original heat exchangers in the ventilation unit (1st floor).
During the installation of horizontal sewerage, a hollow room was detected in the hallway behind the projection room (2nd floor) under the staircase leading from the bedroom floor to the main residential hall.
The fitting of steel reinforcement in the first pair of foundation wells was completed along with the formwork for concreting the footing bottom, which was made in the second half of January.
The restorers continue removing the secondary layers of external plasters. Work continues on desalinating the internal plasters that were affected by salts in the past when the sewerage failed. On the bedroom floor (3rd floor), the removal of secondary paints was completed. This work continues on the lower floors.
Work on the reconstruction of the bedroom floor (3rd floor) commenced and focuses on the restoration of steel windows and doors. These elements were cleaned and provided with a prime coat. In the second half of January, a part of the elements was provided with the final coat and glazing was fitted. Mechanical cleaning of the steel structure of the roof skylight was performed on the interior side in the bathroom in the parents‘ section (3rd floor). Mechanical cleaning of the internal face side of the original storm water steel tank was completed (removal of thick deposits and scale). In the boiler room (1st floor), the restorers dismantled and removed for reconstruction a lift cabin and a part of the ash lift mechanical equipment.
Installation of the security system distribution system on the 2nd floor is being finalised. The central heating system is being installed on the 2nd floor.
Using probes, supplementary brickwork of the second coke chute was localised and then removed in the wall separating the space of the boiler room and coke room on the technical floor (1st floor) (the main coke chute leads directly from the street to the coke room space). Fragments of black ceramic tiles by RAKO were discovered here.
VISIT OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MINISTRY OF CULTURE OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CITY OF BRNO
As part of a two-day working visit to South Moravia, Tugendhat House was visited on Thursday, 27th January 2011, by representatives of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic led by Minister Jiří Besser.
Grooves are made in the plasters to enable installation of el. wiring and the electronic security system in the basement (1st floor) and a part of the 2nd and 3rd floors. Outside, the unauthentic plasters from the additional filling of subsequently made holes and joints for various types of lines (e.g. electricity) installed in the 1980’s are being removed.
In the ash lift shaft (1st – 2nd floor) the restoration of plasters has been completed prior to the installation of the restored lift cage.
On the bedroom floor (3rd floor), work continues on the final coatings of the metal elements and work has commenced on the mechanical cleaning of steel windows in the housekeeper’s flat (3rd floor).
The metal structure of the glazed wall and the door between the scullery and the dining room on the 2nd floor has been refurbished and awaits a prime anti-rust coating.
The mechanical components of the ash lift in the boiler room that have been kept in place are being restored (1st floor) .
In the ventilation chambers on the 1st floor, the oil filter was professionally dismantled and taken to restorer’s workshop for renovation. At the same time, the steel awnings over the kitchen windows (2nd floor) and housekeeper’s flat (3rd floor) were dismantled and removed for restoration.
The xylolite screed on the bedroom floor (3rd floor) was removed in the agreed scope. A part of the authentic xylolite surfaces located under the built-in wardrobes and in places that will not be subject to extreme load is ready for restoration.
The installation of the security system wiring continues on the 2nd floor along with the installation of the central heating system.
A layer of concrete screeding from the 1980’s was removed from the immediate vicinity of the onyx partition wall. The steel supporting element supporting this partition wall was partly uncovered and prepared for restoration.
In the course of February, work continued on the installation of the thermal cladding of the roof and the first of the two damp insulation layers over the garage. At present, the work has been completed over the whole roof.
The excavation work related to the last three foundation wells under the garden terrace continues and one of them was filled with concrete before the end of February.
FOURTH THICOM MEETING
On Friday, 18th February 2011, the fourth meeting of the Tugendhat House International Committee in charge of the professional supervision of the implementation of the monument restoration took place in Tugendhat House in Brno (THICOM – Tugendhat House International Committee). Again, the meeting concerned the ongoing process of the house restoration focusing on the individual professions. The invited restorers informed the experts about the technological and technical procedures of the conservation, restoration and reconstruction of internal and external plasters, metal elements, stone, wool and glass elements. A lively discussion was roused by the topic of wooden elements surface treatment technologies, both authentic elements and newly manufactured replicas. The members present also saw and approved samples of Italian travertine imported from quarries in the area of Lazio close to Rome. Furthermore, prototypes of some elements were introduced: lighting, metal bathroom equipment, replicas of metal hinges and screws, textile samples (velvet and silk). The question of a conceptual design of the external space in front of the house was discussed along with infrastructure for visitors on the technical floor (1st floor) in relation to the conception of the exhibition building.
In the basement (1st floor) and partly on the 2nd and 3rd floors, the grooves in the plasters needed for the installation of wiring and electronic security system are being repaired. Non-authentic plaster is being removed on the outside after the secondarily made openings and in the grooves made for various types of installations (e.g. electric) made in the 1980’s. The restoration of the authentic smoothed cement plaster is being finalized in the air-conditioning spaces.
The mechanical cleaning of steel windows in the housekeeper’s flat was finalized (3rd floor) and their frames were provided with prime anti-rust coating. At the end of the month, the restoration and renovation of the ash lift mechanical equipment in the boiler room, which was not dismantled, was finalized (1st floor).
In the steel doors with glass glazing a sealing was uncovered in the peripheral groove and a part of the sealing was removed in order to perform a material analysis.
The survey into the internal air conditioning space using a camera robot identified that there are wooden louvers in the air conditioning pipe. Both original hot-air heat exchangers were dismantled in the air conditioning chambers on the 1st floor and transported to the restorer’s workshops.
At the end of March, the unauthentic glazing was removed in the southwestern glazed wall of the main living room (2nd floor) and the restorers started mechanical cleaning of the steel framework structure of the large-size windows. They also dismantled metal awnings, which were transported to workshops to be renovated and to have the structure reinforced as in the future it will have to withstand side wind pressure. The restorers also mechanically cleaned the steel supporting columns and air conditioning pipes on the technical floor (1st floor). In the main living room (2nd floor) they mechanically cleaned the upper surfaces of the steel joists over the 1st floor, which were provided with the prime anti-rust coating and an adhesive bridge before applying the re-profiling mixture.
Installation of the security system and the installation of the central heating system continues on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
The existing travertine and sandstone elements are sorted out on site and ready to be transported to the restorer’s workshops.
Excavation work for the last foundation wells under the garden terrace continues.
Unauthentic layers (concrete screed, heat insulation–polystyrene and damp insulation in the form of asphalt strips) were removed from under previously removed large-size terrazzo tiles on the entrance and upper terraces (3rd floor).
Installation of the suction pipes of the electronic fire system was finalized at the foot of the supporting wall, the so-called tunnel (2nd floor).
Installation of steel scaffolds was completed along the southwestern and southeastern of the house façade for the follow-up work on the façade, restoration of the steel glazed wall and awnings.
After removing the unauthentic glazing from the 1980’s and mechanical cleaning of incoherent coatings, the glazed wall steel structure in the main living room was repaired and deformations were evened out. The restorers started renewing the window lowering mechanism.
Before applying a special re-profiling mixture onto the floor in the main residential room (2nd floor), the load bearing steel profiles under the onyx partition wall, the milk glass wall and the glazed wall between the scullery and the garden terrace were structurally stabilised.
The restorers installed a load bearing wooden grate for the rounded partition wall made of Makassar ebony defining the dining room in the main living room. Once the partition wall anchors are precisely fitted, this structure will be removed and finally installed after fitting the final floor layers.
A strip foundation was completed under the garden terrace. In relation to this the deflected steel loading bearing columns was restored and then cleaned and treated with a protective anticorrosive coating.
In the entrance hall (3rd floor) a fragment of the central heating return pipe was discovered behind the rounded milk wall. A new stainless steel pipe was installed in the place of this original fragment.
Work continues on the renewal of the interior and exterior plasters. Jet grouting is performed in the interior plasters to strengthen their incoherent parts.
Unauthentic terrazzo fro the 1980’s was removed in front of the personnel wing on the 2nd floor.
Special reprofiling mixture was applied in the main living room (2nd floor) which will form a first layer under the xylolite layer.
On the technical floor (1st floor) , the thermal insulation on the water and central heating pipes is being applied (mineral insulation with smooth cement plaster). On the 2nd and 3rd floor the central heating pipes are being installed.
In the boiler room (1st floor), the implementation of flue gas duct started (duct system) started – concrete structure with fireclay lining
National Heritage Institute – the central office and local office in Brno held a specialized seminar on Tugendhat House restoration on 13th April 2011. The specialists from the National Heritage Institute from the whole of the Czech Republic were familarised with the theoretical and practical questions of monument restoration addressed during this extraordinary project in the form of lectures and guided tour in the house.
Continuing work on the reconstruction of the steel structures of the glazed wall in the main living room (2nd floor) and the renewal of the window sliding mechanism. Heating elements were embedded in concrete in the main living room. The restorers cleaned steel door frames on the technical floor (1st floor).
The unauthentic concrete roof attic was lowered to the original level and the structure is ready for levelling. T-profile is being installed.
The existing metal sheet roofing and degraded wooden formwork were removed from the roof skylight over the bathroom in the parents‘ section (3rd floor), the restorers applied an antirust coating on the steel structure of the skylight.
Cracks in the original floor layers on the 3rd floor were repaired before applying the xylolite screed which covers the whole floor excerpt for the housekeeper‘s flat. In the main living room (2nd floor) , the xylolite screed covers approximately one third of the floor space size. In relation to this work, electric floor sockets were installed. The hollow in the floor of the children’s bathroom was filled with light-weight aggregate (expanded clay) and covered with concrete. Original distribution systems were preserved in the expanded clay backfill.
External insulation was installed on the upper terrace (foam glass fixed in hot asphalt) and dam proofing layer (asphalt modified strip of the first layer). Provisional roofing was removed from the space above the upper terrace.
Works continues on the renewal of the internal and external plasters. The internal plasters are jet grouted to reinforce their incoherent parts. Work continues in the laundry and kitchen on levelling the existing wall surface, which will be ready for ceramic tiles.
On the technical floor (1st floor) the thermal insulation is applied on the plumbing and central heating system (mineral insulation with smoothened plaster). Central heating distribution system installation continues on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
Concrete foundations and flue-gas ducting for the installation of historic boilers commenced in the boiler room (1st floor).
In the room under the garden terrace preparatory work continues on the peripheral masonry (floor filling up, damp proofing, strip foundation concreting).
The restorers clean the authentic black ceramic tiles discovered in the coke chute to reuse it.
An interesting discovery was made in the dining room defined by the semi-circular wall. Probes at the foot of the steel leg of the round dining table, which is one of the dominant of the living space, detected a casing made of rolled profiles embedded in concrete in the floor, with a preserved part of the original steel load-bearing structure of the table (leg). Apparently, no later than 1945, when Karla Hladká’s dance school opened here, the leg was cut off at the floor level. During the reconstruction of the house in the 1980’s, a new load-bearing steel table structure was welded to the casing and the rest of the leg; however, compared to the original condition, this was clad like the load-bearing columns. This authentic element was removed and taken to the restorers’ worship, where it will be carefully cleaned and renovated. It will then be decided whether it will be put back in place or stored as an original component.
On the technical floor (1st floor) , the restorers provided the steel doorframes with the prime anticorrosive coating.
The steel staircase and ventilator dating from the 1980‘s were removed from the boiler room (1st floor). The restorers are finalising a replica of the original staircase which will be fitted once the ceramic tiles have been laid.
Unauthentic ventilation grate was removed from the south-eastern facade, including a pipe leading across the so-called “strongbox“ behind the bookcase in the main living room (2nd floor). These structures were used as a modern ventilation system in the conservatory installed in the 1980‘s.
Steel fence posts outside along Černopolní streets are cleaned and straightened.
On the southern and south-eastern facades, the restorers added parts of plasters near the attic and completed their surface treatment so as to enable the final lime coat application. Cracks continue being filled in the external plasters (steel twisted reinforcement and filler). In the interiors, the restorers grout cracks in the plasters.
A steel attic T-profile was fitted on the roof.
The terrace at the personnel wing was reconstructed in the places of the greatest destruction of the suspended ceiling. The reinforced concrete slab under the personnel staircase was renovated, too.
The concrete flue duct with fireclay lining was completed in the boiler room.
The installation of heat insulation of the water and central heating pipes was finalised, except for the boiler room where the installation will only take place once the historic replicas of the boiler room equipment have been fitted.
The second original hot air heat exchanger was removed by the restorers for restoration in their workshop.
Xylolite screed was laid in the whole house and once hardened, it will be brushed up.
Herbicide was applied on the grass in the garden. After the period necessary for its taking effect, the grass will be mown.
On Thursday, 30th June 2011, the international conference INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES AND THE CURRENT RESTORATION OF THE TUGENDHAT HOUSE IN BRNO took place at the Faculty of Architecture of the Brno University of Technology, organised by the Museum of the City of Brno and cooperating institutions (for more see the current information).
The restorers commenced the restoration of the garage gate. They restored the destroyed parts and provided the gate steel structure with an anti-rusting paint. During mechanical cleaning of the gate, holes caused most likely by shooting were discovered dating apparently from before the end of World War II. Continuing cleaning and reconstruction of steel columns along Černopolní street.
Final work on plasters in the lady‘s room started in the interior (3rd floor).
Plaster is being added outside the house in the attics and work is being finalised on the south-western and southern façades. The originally transferred plasters were reinstated to the renewed peripheral masonry under the garden terrace. At the same time, the underside of the peripheral walls is being bricked. The unauthentic partition wall separating the space udder the garden terrace has been removed (1st floor).
The work on the chimney including surface treatment (smoothened concrete) has been finalised in the boiler room on the technical floor (1st floor). Ceramic tiles and pavement have been laid in a part of the boiler room and the heat exchanger station has been installed to heat the house and provide hot service water. Three reconstructed historic coke boilers have been fitted to the original place.
At the end of July, the mature xylolite screed surfaces were re-polished. Coarse floors were concreted on the 2nd floor as a base layer for the ceramic pavement.
After removing the pavement dated from the 1980’s, the original floor made of smoothened concrete was discovered in front of the fur coat chamber and it will be restored.
Mechanical clearing and sampling of the final surface of the concrete wall along Černopolní street, where the fencing is fitted, started.
Installation of heat insulation commenced on the technical terrace at Černopolní street (foam glass fitted in hot asphalt).
A part of the wooden sill boards was fitted in the rooms on the bedroom floor (3rd floor).
All unauthentic stone and sandstone elements were removed from the garden, such as kerbs, levelling steps and garden staircase steps.
FIFTH THICOM MEETING
The fifth meeting of the THICOM – Tugendhat House International Committee took place on Friday, 1st July 2011 at Tugendhat House and at the nearby, recently restored, ERA café. The main issues on the agenda were the facade plasters, glass, the rounded wooden partition wall made of makassar ebony and furniture. As regards the preserved authentic elements, the experts stressed out the necessity to ensure maximum preservation of the authentic surfaces and materials. At the same time, they emphasised again the surroundings of Tugendhat house and given the aesthetic perception they recommended that utmost attention should be paid to all changes that might have an averse impact to this end. What was also discussed were the issues concerning the visitor centre and the maintenance plan with respect to the operation of the house as a museum accessible to the public.
CITY MANAGEMENT SITE VISIT
On Tuesday, 26th July, the site visit took place at Tugendhat House, attended by the representatives of monument preservation authorities and the Museum of the City of Brno as well as the Mayor of the Statutory City of Brno, Roman Onderka and the Managing Director of UNISTAV, a. s., Miroslav Friš. All the participants expressed their satisfaction with the progress of work so far. The monument restoration of Tugendhat house should be completed at the end of January 2012.
GARDEN The salvation and safety pruning of tree species was completed in the garden. In the lower part of the garden a grown conker snapped as a result of a strong wind. After assessing the condition of the tree, the experts decided on its removal. Furthermore, the reconstruction of garden paths commenced (spreading of gravel layers). In the upper part of the garden, the quarry stone of the wall masonry at the base of the house was sampled.
As regards the garden terrace (2nd floor) the bricking up of the peripheral walls was completed on the rear side of the transferred plasters and wiring is now installed in these areas. On the front side of the transferred plasters, the restorers removed the textile wrapping and the wooden grit anchoring the plasters during the transfer. On the north-western side, the restorers fitted the reconstructed steel window.
The non-authentic floor layers in the garden terrace were removed and replaced with new damp proofing.
On the upper terrace (3rd floor), the restorers started installing travertine plinths. Restored large-size terrazzo tiles were stored on site, made in a good quality in the 1980‘s.
A hot service water heater was installed in the boiler room on the technical floor (1st floor) and historic boilers are being connected to the new heating system including water pipes. The authentic steel boiler room door frames have been renovated and the entrance width was adjusted according to the original condition.
The steel frames for large-size windows are ready to be glazed by the restorers- this will take place at the beginning of September. Final coatings are applied on other metal elements.
The restorers installed a casing of the sliding door to the opening in the partition wall between the boys’ room and their sister Hanna’s room on the so-called „bedroom floor“ (3rd floor).
In the course of September, large-size windows were set in the main living room, i.e. milk translucent wall, the conservatory was glazed and all large-size windows were glazed including both wind-down windows. On the street side of the house the milk curved wall of the main entrance hall was glazed. The windows were fitted according to the original technology, i.e. using bed butty with addition of Ovatrol oil in order to increase plasticity.
Based on the sampling of the quarry stone walls at the base of the house, the walls are being bricked up, which is about to be completed. As regards garden paths, the base gravel layers were completed. After identifying poor condition of the sophora, detected by a curative cut, the experts decided to cut it down.
The connecting of historic boilers to the new heating system including connection to water distribution system continues. At the same time, the connection to the public steam pipeline was provided.
Stones in the air-conditioning chamber used to moisturise the air, were cleaned and they are ready to be put back in place.
At the entrance terrace the restorers carried out a sample treatment of one of the load-bearing columns. The cladding of the steel load-bearing columns outside is made of tombac with the surface treated with later coatings The tombac surface was degraded by being grinded with a coarse emery base paper probably in order to increase the adherence of the secondary coatings. The secondary coatings are gradually removed using a chemical method so as to preserve the authentic patina to the greatest possible extent. The sample column at the entrance terrace was also provided with a final wax layer and it is ready for evaluation by design engineers and monument protection authorities.
As regards external steel fencing at the technical terrace and the personnel staircase, the fencing was cleaned and the prime anti-rust coat was applied.
It was also decided that the authentic part of the steel leg supporting the large dining table will not be put in the depository, but fitted to the original place.
The final plaster layers were finalised on the reverse side of the bricked peripheral walls of the garden terrace (2nd floor). On the upper and entrance terrace (3rd floor) the restorers finalise the installation of the travertine plinths.
In the so-called tunnel (2nd floor), the brick masonry is cleaned and concrete pavement is fitted in a sand bed.
Based on the sample surfaces, ceramic faience tiles are laid in kitchen (2nd floor) and the former laundry (1st floor).
In the interiors on the 3rd floor the restorers finalised the application of thin-layer plasters. Work continues on the 2nd and 1st floors.
In the entrance hall the restorers dismantled the facing of the wooden palisander wall which was transported to the restorers‘ workshops.
GARDEN The garden paths and staircases were being finalised in the garden. Walls made of quarry stone are completed and vegetation is planted in the spaces above them. Drainage around the house were completed, and wiring and the irrigation system are to be completed. Grown trees were planted in the garden (a weeping willow and maple). The ground is ready for the laying of grass carpet which started at the end of the month.
A major part of the faience tiles were laid in the kitchen (2nd floor) and parents‘ and children’s bathrooms (3rd floor). Faience tiles are being laid in the projecting room and the bathroom in the personnel wing (2nd floor).
Restorers removed the unauthentic coatings of the pergola steel structure and a semi-circular bench on the upper terrace (3rd floor). Original tiles were restored and fitted to the pergola. Welds on the bench dating from the 1980’s were ground off and damaged horizontal tubes were fitted in the original position. Both these structures were provided with base oil coats. All windows and doors are glazed and being cemented now, the restores apply top coats. The restorers clean the cladding of corridors in the exteriors. The pattern column on the upper terrace was approved at the THICOM meeting. Locksmithing continues along with preparation work, such as concrete bordering for the installation of concrete tiles for the heating channel on the technical floor (1st floor). The restoration of the dining room lift was completed- it has been cleaned and is fully functional. The garage gate has been restored and is ready for the final coat.
STONE AND FLOORING
The restored installed travertine on the steps of the garden terrace. Terrazzo screed is applied on the staircase of the personnel wing. On the upper terrace (3rd floor), restored large-size terrazzo tiles from the 1980‘s are laid. On the technical terrace along Černopolní street, the concrete tiles started being laid. Pavement started being installed in Černopolní street.
The wall under the street fence was reconstructed and is ready for the final coating. The concrete wall on the north-western border of the lot is being reconstructed and renovated.
On the bedroom floor (3rd floor), the restorers started working on the surface finish of the wooden door hinges. Internal wooden windows sills were fitted along with wooden plinths on the floors behind the radiators.
On the bedroom floor (3rd floor), natural linoleum manufactured according to the original formulation by Deutsche Linoleum Werke (DLW) in Germany was laid. At present, linoleum is being laid in the main living room (2nd floor).
Wiring is being completed on all floors (switches and sockets).
Heating elements were installed in the house.
SIXTH THICOM MEETING
On Friday, 21st October 2011, the sixth meeting of the Tugendhat House International Committee professionally supervising the Tugendhat House renovation took place in Tugendhat House and nearby Mendel University (THICOM). The main items on the agenda were exterior and interior plasters including transfers of plasters, stone, glass, metal, built-in wooden elements, wooden surfaces and reconstruction of wooden furniture. It also concerned technical and sanitary equipment, linoleum, textiles and the garden. Questions related to the maintenance and repair of the house following the completion of the monument restoration were also discussed along with the conception of a museum in the house. All THICOM members expressed their great satisfaction with the progress and quality of work conducted so far.
STONE AND PAVEMENT
Travertine steps are being installed on the garden terrace stairs. At the same time, the restorers are cleaning the travertine element surfaces inside and outside the house and add missing parts in damaged elements. On the upper terrace, (3rd floor), the restorers are finalising the laying of large-size terrazzo pavement. New concrete pavement has been laid on the terrace at the housekeeper’s flat (3rd floor), the personnel terrace and the so-called „tunnel“ (2nd floor). Terrazzo screed has been finalised and polished on the staircase leading to the personnel wing. Restorers have laid stoneware pavements in the parents’ and children’s bathrooms (3rd floor) and a WC behind the projection room (2nd floor).
Vegetation planting has been finalised in the garden including the lawn grass turf laying. The path network with gravel surface and the garden staircase made of quarry stone are ready. On Friday, 11th November 2011 at 11.00 a.m., Mayor of the City of Brno, Roman Onderka, took over the renovated garden which was reinstated to the condition it was in after the completion of the construction in 1930.
BOILER ROOM AND HEATING
On Wednesday, 16th November 2011, Mayor of the City of Brno, Roman Onderka himself lighted the historic Strebel boiler. After the completion of heating elements, hot air heat exchangers and heaters along the glazed wall in the main living room and the conservatory (2nd floor), the heating system in the whole house could be started up.
Wooden door frames have been restored on all floors. The original elements of built-in wardrobes in the master’s and mistress‘rooms (3rd floor) have been brought in from the restoration workshops . The external wooden roller blinds on the 3rd floor have been fitted. Installation of wooden plinths at the floors has been completed on the 3rd floor and this work continues on the 2nd floor.
The restorers have completed the cleaning of exterior column cleaning. They are finalising final coating of the pergola steel structure and semicircular bench on the upper terrace (3rd floor). The final coat has also been applied on the garage gate (3rd floor). Sliding mechanisms are started up in the window engine room on the technical floor (1st floor). Steel staircase with a railing has been installed in the boiler room (1st floor). Internal surfaces of the original ventilation pipes are being cleaned on the technical floor (1st floor).
Grey natural linoleum has been laid in the personnel rooms on the 2nd floor (former cook’s and maid‘s rooms) manufactured according to the original formulation of Deutsche Linoleum Werke (DLW) in Germany. In the guard‘s room (former cook’s room) the electric system- weak current- has been completed. Metal parts of ceiling light fixtures have been fitted on the 3rd floor. The last of the four bathtubs has been fitted and bricked in the housekeeper‘s flat (3rd floor). The restorers are applying the final coating of the retaining wall under the street fencing.
On the 3rd floor, the restorers finished the steel structure coatings and installed door fittings on steel doors and windows. On the 2nd and 3rd floors, guiding rails for drapery were fitted. The restorers cleaned the steel structure of spiral stair ace leading from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor and applied the prime coat. On the upper terrace (3rd floor) , a new metal table structure was fitted in the terrazzo pavement along with the authentic preserved steel structure of a semi-circular bench which was fitted in its original place. The restorers reassembled the individual parts of the street fence including the entrance gate and small gates. The ventilation ventilator drive in the so-called „air-conditioning unit“ on the technical floor (1st floor) was put into service. Final coatings of all heating elements and feed pipes were provided with top coats.
STONE AND PAVEMENTS
The restorers finalised the assembly of the garden terrace staircase made of travertine and the peripheral edge with a gutter. On the upper terraces (3rd floor), the restorers finalised the laying of large-size terrazzo tiles and concrete pavement was completed on the technical floor along Černopolní Street. In the entrance hall (3rd floor) and on the main interior staircase, the restorers completed the cleaning of the authentic travertine elements (pavement, staircase steps). The concrete pavement in the so-called „tunnel“ (2nd floor) was also completed and the original brickwork was cleaned. In the space of the so-called „tunnel“ the restorers installed two built-in boxes which will be used as storage spaces for the purposes of the Museum of the City of Brno.
During December, the bathtub walling in the bathrooms including the laying of white earthenware tiles was completed. On the technical floor (1st floor) the restorers finalise the wall and floor tiling in the area of the former coke room. The restorers also cleaned the authentic black ceramic tiles in the coke chute which was renewed after removing the bricked-in wall. The authentic preserved ceramic white earthenware tiles were cleaned in the ash lift reveal in the boiler room and the moth room (the so-called “fur coat strong room“).
On the so-called „bedroom floor“ (3rd floor), the restorers finished the installation of replica wardrobes in the governess’s and the girl’s room. In the gentleman‘s and lady‘s rooms the restorers finalised the installation of authentic restored built-in wardrobes. Between the girl‘s and boys‘ rooms a sliding door was installed. On the 3rd floor, the restorers applied the top coats on the wooded doorframes.
The installation of sockets and switches was finalised on all floors of the house (historic replicas as well as contemporary sockets hidden under plinth slats). On the 1st and 3rd floors, the installation of ceiling and wall light fittings was finalised.
The laying of DLW linoleum was completed in the main living room.
The fitting of awnings in the garden frontage was finalised.
On the technical floor (1st floor), the restorers completed the interior plasters and insulation with concrete smoothened surface. On the 1st floor, installation of built-in public WCs commenced.
The restorers finalised the final coatings of the retaining wall under the street fencing.
Gardeners brought all listed plants on site. Wooded flower pots for mobile vegetation on terraces were also brought.
WOODEN ELEMENTS AND FURNITURE
In the living room (2nd floor), the restorers reinstalled the authentic bookcase veneered in Makassar ebony including replica shelves as only one shelf has been preserved.
Internal fittings (shelves, drawers) were installed in the authentic built-in wardrobes in the master’s and lady’s bedroom (3rd floor).
The restorers completed the installation of the replicas of built-in wooden elements on the 1st and 2nd floors. Free-standing and seating furniture was moved in.
All oriental carpets were laid on the bedroom floor (3rd floor) and the main living floor (2nd floor); a deep-pile sheep wool carpet was laid in the lady’s room and a hand woven carpet made of natural light wool was placed in front of the onyx partition wall in the main living room. At the same time, drapery made of Shantung silk and velvet was fitted.
The restorers treated and polished the column cladding in the entrance hall (3rd floor) and in the living room (2nd floor). They also carefully cleaned the onyx wall.
Restored lighting fixtures by Paul Henningsen were fitted in the living room (2nd floor).
In the moth chamber on the technical floor (1st floor), the restorers cleaned all preserved authentic white earthenware wall and floor tiles that have been fully preserved here.
Felt sealing was fitted in all steel doors in the building.
The authentic and newly applied smoothened screed on the technical floor (1st floor) and in the garage (3rd floor) was treated by the restorers with a protective wax-based coating. The smoothened cement surface of the pipe thermal insulation was treated with an oil coating.
On the technical floor (1st floor), newly installed sanitary facilities for visitors were completed. At the same time, structures to be used for the exhibition dedicated to the Tugendhat Villa including the bookshop furnishing were completed.
The spaces on the 2nd and 3rd floors in the personnel wing that will be used for the operation of the villa (ticket office, guides, villa management, Study and Documentation Centre, control room) were equipped with period functioning furniture.
On 24th January 2012, the scheduled handover took place. All building work including interiors was completed on schedule.
FINAL ACCEPTANCE OF THE BUILDING
On Thursday, 2nd February, the final acceptance certificate was issued.
In the coming days, the house was cleaned up and the last details in the interior were finalised.
Between 20th – 24th February, the site accommodation in front of the house in Černopolní street was removed and the exterior was cleaned up – final work on the pavement and space in front of the house and the garden.
SEVENTH THICOM MEETING
On Tuesday, 28th February 2012, the seventh meeting of the Tugendhat House International Committee (THICOM) supervising the monument restoration of Tugendhat House took place in Brno. The experts were informed about details of the final renovation and restoration of the house. During the afternoon meeting taking place right inside the house they summarised the outcomes of the conducted work and expressed absolute satisfaction with its quality. In conclusion, they recommended some partial corrections to be made as part of maintenance and repair of the house after the monument restoration.
CEREMONIAL OPENING OF TUGENDHAT HOUSE
On Tuesday, 29th February 2012, Tugendhat House was ceremonially opened after the two-year monument restoration process. The opening of the house, the unique modern architecture landmark in the Czech Republic listed as the UNESCO world heritage site, was preceded by a press conference attended by the city representation headed by Brno City Mayor, Roman Onderka, Deputy Mayor Robert Kotzian, daughters of the Tugendhat commissioning the house construction, Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat and Ruth Guggenheim-Tugendhat, Ivo Hammer, Wessel de Jonge and Ana Tostoes for the international advisory committee THICOM, managing director of Unistav, Miroslav Friš, and Tugendhat House site manager, Michal Malásek, as well as representatives of the design team and the Museum of the City of Brno.
The Tugendhat House opening ceremony commenced at 1 p.m. in presence of distinguished guests mainly from the cultural world. All guests and representatives of media were welcomed by the Mayor of the Statutory City of Brno, Roman Onderka, giving a short speech followed by addresses made by the Tugendhat House director, Iveta Černá, the youngest daughter of the Tugendhats, Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, managing director of Unistav, Miroslav Friš and Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, Alena Hanáková.
The exceptional atmosphere of the day with an exceptional date was underscored by a music performance of the legendary Brno jazzman, Jaromír Hnilička.