Functionalism

Müller Villa in Prague
13. 2. 2014

Villas, residential areas and factories, flat roofs, clean lines and interiors bathed in light – this is Functionalism.

The replacement of Art Nouveau with Modernist art after the First World War saw the application of a new style marked by flat roofs, clean line and well-lit interiors: Functionalism. This style, where technical intentions and purpose go hand-in-hand with art, found wide application in buildings of all types and sizes.

The most beautiful functionalist villas

Which Functionalist buildings are the best? The ones that are simple and austere, while being economical and comfortable, in harmony with their surroundings and conform to the terrain. A vivid example of all these hallmarks of the style can be seen at Villa Tugendhat in Brno, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. As one of the founding works of global modern architecture, the Villa has been included on the list of UNESCO Heritage Sites.

The same period, i.e. the years 1928-30, saw the construction of the Müller Villa in Prague. This luxury dwelling at the Ořechovka location was designed by architects Adolf Loos and Karel Lhota at the request of the entrepreneur František Müller. It is the most significant building designed by Loos in the Czech lands, and visitors can view the interior and a small exhibition devoted to other major buildings designed by him.

Towns, hotels and exhibition centres

An interesting collection of Functionalist buildings, which has been serving its original purpose for nearly a hundred years, can be found at the Brno Exhibition centre. Also worthy of attention in Brno is the refurbished Functionalist Café Era and Hotel Avion, designed by Bohuslav Fuchs; with a 7 m wide facade, it is one of the narrowest hotels in Europe. A unique application of Functionalism can be seen on a walk through the town of Zlín. Typical features of factories, residential properties and commercial buildings are bare red bricks, reinforced concrete frames, flat roofs and steel-framed windows. The town’s dominant feature, built according to the American model, is the skyscraper, known as ‘21’, designed by Vladimír Karfík.

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