A set of archival plans of Villa Tugendhat stored in the collections of the Brno City Museum includes 303 drawings. Their systematic digitalization started in 2009, when they about two-thirds of the plans were scanned. The systematic professional treatment was begun only in 2016, when the “Catalogue of Original Planning Documentation of Villa Tugendhat from the Collections of the Brno City Museum” was created, partly subsidized from the Support of UNESCO Monuments programme of the Czech Ministry of Culture.
The first step was to digitize all the remaining documents, the scannign was conducted carefully under professional supervision and the resulting files are preserved in their colour and high resolution. The next step was the systematic catalogueing and a detailed analysis; all plans were assigned inventory numbers of the Museum archive, their current state of preservation was established, their precise size, scale and original production technique. Thanks to these various steps, one could finally proceeded to building up a comprehensive catalogue. Numerical order of the plans was maintained according to the original subdivision by Mies van der Rohe Atelier in Berlin.
Thanks to its three language versions (Czech, German and English), the catalogue can be viewed by scholars from around the world. Its opening scientific text introduces the historical background, the navigation system using floor plans with individual plans’ signs help to navigate the catalogue. The selected elements and structures have been supplemented with photographic documentation, among others also from the period of monument restoration in 2010-2012. For a better understanding of some drawings and designs, 3D models and animations were produced as well.
The printed and digital versions of the catalogue are physically located in the Study and Documentation Centre at Villa Tugendhat and in the Department of History of Architecture at Špilberk Castle. It serves interested professionals and the general public, and last but not least also as a basis for obtaining valuable information for the care of the villa and garden, on the appropriate level of care for the world’s monument of modern architecture. One of the reasons for its establishment was also to protect the original design documentation – by looking at the newly created catalogue or scanned originals on a computer will not worsen the state of the preserved archived originals.
The Brno City Museum is not the sole owner of design documentation of the iconic villa in Brno. The largest convolute of archival sources, especially plans and photographs of Villa Tugendhat, is preserved in the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Archive (MvdRA), which was established as a separate section in the Department of Architecture and Design of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA). The local collection contains more than twenty thousand items. More original planning documentation to Villa Tugendhat, especially drawings of Mies’ collaborator, the architect Sergius Ruegenberg, is stored in cultural institutions in Germany, namely in the Library of the State Museums in Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunsbibliothek) and in the archives of Hannah Höch in the Berlin Gallery (Hannah Höch-Archiv, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin). In the future, therefore, the Villa Tugendhat Study and Documentation Centre intends to pursue further professional interpretation of the plan documentation not only from the domestic sources but all other mentioned collections, thanks to the long-established inter-institutional international cooperation.