The famous Jurkovič House in Brno, belonging to the Moravian Gallery in Brno, will reopen to the public in roughly two week’s time following extensive renovation. Designed by the Slovak architect Dušan Jurkovič and dating back to 1906, the Art Nouveau villa – which makes marked use of rustic or folklore elements – will serve as a multiple-purpose museum for the gallery. The building ranks as a gem of early 20th century architecture, ranking similarly in importance to the Villa Tugendhat. A little earlier the gallery’s deputy director Kateřina Tlachová told me more:
“The house was designed by Dušan Jurkovič for his personal use but from the start he conceived it as a kind of showroom and museum for his work. Therefore, we appreciate they were able to purchase it with the help of the Culture Ministry from private owners and turn it back into a museum. The purchase in 2006 was followed by renovation work which lasted two years, and we are now opening it to the public, with one part restored to its original appearance in 1906 when he lived there, another part as a memorial to this outstanding architect, and a third part to the renovation itself.”
How would you characterise the villa in terms of style?
“It is Art Nouveau but a very specific type because it incorporates strong influences of the international style and particularly of the British movement of arts & crafts, which the architect was very fond of. Besides the traditional elements, Jurkovič also stressed modern living conditions or up-to-date conditions; so the house itself at the time was built was kind of a model house for modern styles of living.”
Could you describe for me a bit about arts & crafts?
“In the case of the Brno house there are strong elements of country living. There is a strong central place in the house, the staircase hall in the building, where people would meet and speak with each other. It is the core and has both decorative Art Nouveau but also the rustic style with elements of Czech and Slovak folklore... Jurkovič was Slovak by origin but spent a lot of time in the Czech lands. He was influenced by the popular style: folk paintings and costumes and even had part of the wall in the central hall decorated by a folk pottery painter. Visitors will be able to see this an more when the site opens on April the 1st, which as it happens, is also exactly the anniversary of the Moravian Gallery, opened in 1961.”