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Jurkovič House

Together with buildings to Jurkovič’s designs in Pustevny, Luhačovice and the Nové Město nad Metují chateau, it makes up the nucleus of his surviving work in the Czech Republic. What the Tugendhat Villa did for functionalism in Brno, the Jurkovič Villa does for art nouveau architecture.

Although Dušan Samo Jurkovič (1868 - 1947) spent the major part of his active life in his native Slovakia, together with Jan Kotěra he was one of the prominent personages of Czech architecture around the turn of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century Jurkovič designed several buildings for Brno investors, although his most remarkable work in the city was his own villa which he designed and built in 1906 on a woodland slope over the River Svratka, at the edge of what was the village of Žabovřesky (Jana Nečase street no.2), now part of the city of Brno. The way in which the villa is set in the landscape is a virtuoso feat of architecture, something that stamped Jurkovič’s lasting reputation for sympathy with nature and sensitivity to it. Even today, the location is a popular destination for outings, with woods, the river and splendid panoramas. Jurkovič himself obviously enjoyed similar pleasures; he built a boathouse that he and his friends used on the bank of the nearby Svratka. The villa was a milestone in the architect’s work, demonstrating a shift in his style. He started largely to abandon his initial imitations of wooden folk buildings, of which the only influence remaining is limited to the basic framework.
In the light of his Luhačovice construction experience, Dušan Jurkovič opted for a half-timbered frame covered with insulating cork panels, cemented from the outside and plastered from the inside. In accord with the frame, he tried to simplify the building elements to the maximum: the final visual effect is chiefly provided by white walls, while traditional folk elements became geometrical reductions. A novel feature was a stone arcade entrance with a terrace. In terms of layout, the villa is divided into a reception area near the entrance and a social section on the ground floor including the architect’s own exhibition hall, a working section on the first floor, and private premises on both the ground floor and the first floor. The hall serves as a unifying element. Jurkovič employed these principles, applied in the villa for the first time, in his further work, such as the reconstruction of the Nové Město nad Metují chateau and the Zbraslav monastery, as well as in residential buildings in Brno and elsewhere (the B. Škarda tenement house and others).
Jurkovič House is managed by the Moravian Gallery in Brno.

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