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The Tugendhat House

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: The Tugendhat House Edited by Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat and Wolf Tegethoff.SpingerWienNewYork, 2000. 187pp. £33

Mies' most celebrated pre-war house was not just an icy icon but a true family home, says Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, whose parents commissioned it and lived there from its completion in 1930 until Nazism forced them to leave in 1938. Images from the Tugendhat photo album show Daniela and her siblings crawling on the hand-woven carpet or clustering around a Christmas tree in the opulent living room. Statements from her parents confirm this habitability.

'It is not true at all that one must go about being careful not to make a single change . . . The rhythm of the large room is so strong that small changes are insignificant, ' says her mother Grete Tugendhat. 'Whenever I let these rooms and all they contain take their effect, I am overcome by the feeling that this is beauty, this is truth, ' says her father Fritz.

Beside these personal recollections, the book contains a full account of the house's later vicissitudes, including a botched attempt at renovation in the 1980s and the problems that must be addressed now.

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