The City of Brno

Wednesday, 18.05.2016

City map of Brno showing Lipova Road

City map of Brno showing Lipova Road

Based in Vienna, I very quickly realized that it was not in the Austrian capital but in Brno, an hours drive away, in neighboring Czech Republic, that had the most buildings in the new ‘modernist’ style. Established in 1918, Czechoslovakia was a young country that strived towards a new identity within the realms of modernity. The economy was developed with fresh vigour and the nation’s new exhibition centre in Brno became a meeting place for industrialists worldwide. 

The exhibition centre itself is worth a visit but was closed when I first came to Brno. Luckily the villas that were built during this ‘Golden Age’ in the 1920s and 30s can be found across the entire city. A great example is, of course, the famous Villa Tugendhat  of 1928-30 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. For the most comprehensive website on Brno’s ‘modernist’ architecture see www.bam.brno.cz.

This website lists nine areas to see the various types of ‘modernist’ buildings in Brno. I chose the Masaryk Quarter, situated west of the city centre, that points to 64 buildings of interest. The Masaryk Quarter had its beginning in the ‘English Garden city’ concept that consists of affordable housing in close connection to nature. These housing developments were often a collaboration between housing co-operatives and financial support given by the state. By 1925 the affordable housing was slowly added to by villas for more wealthy residents; mainly industrialists and businessmen. Although the economic crisis in 1929 put an end to state subsidies further development contnued for middle and upper class clientele in present day Lipová, Neumannova, Hroznová, Kalvodova and other streets.

I decided to concentrate on Lipová. This street offered plenty of examples to study and photograph. The villas seemed to all date to around the early to mid- 1930s and they all had the harmony and balance that I came to love in ‘modernist’ architecture.

Lipova no.1, Villa Pokorny, 1930-31 by Jindrich Compost (1891-1968)

Lipova no.1, Villa Pokorny, 1930-31 by Jindrich Kumpost (1891-1968)

his own house, 1934-35 by Eduard Zacek (1899-1973)

Lipova no. 17, the architect”s house, 1934-35 by Eduard Zacek (1899-1973)

behind Lipova no. 27 architect unknown

behind Lipova no. 27 architect unknown

Lipova no. 33, Seidl Apartment, 1936 by Otto Eisler (1893-1968)

Lipova no. 33, Seidl Apartment, 1936 by Otto Eisler (1893-1968)

Lipova no. 43, Villa Haase, 1929-30 by Arnost Wiesener (1890-1971)

Lipova no. 43, Villa Haase, 1929-30 by Arnost Wiesener (1890-1971)