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Czech Villa Tugendhat Closes for Renovations

January 4, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox

The Czech Villa Tugendhat, the only Czech UNESCO-listed modern art building, has closed for a two-year renovation.

The villa, located in the town of Brno, is the first monument of modern architecture in the Czech Republic—and only the fourth worldwide—to earn UNESCO designation.

The functionalist Tugendhat villa was designed by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1928, according to the Prague Daily Monitor.

Its original owners, Greta and Fritz Tugendhat, came from the families of prominent textile businessmen. They lived in the villa until 1938 when their family fled from the Nazis to Switzerland and later to Venezuela. After the occupation of the Czech Lands, the villa was seized by the Gestapo in 1940. In 1945 it was confiscated by the state as Nazi property.

The Tugendhat villa has been UNESCO-listed since 2001. The listing was reportedly conditioned on its reconstruction.

The villa was visited by a record 25,000 people this year.

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