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Prague Modern Architecture and Design

Beginning and End of the 20th Century

Order Tour Code: P 28
Tour availability: Tour available in summer season Tour available in winter season
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Prague has been called the book of architecture. Two regimes, WWII and communism interrupted its development, but the prolific time at the beginning of the 20th century and the recent past have seen an architectural renaissance in the city. Let us show you the works of such notables as Adolf Loos, Frank Ghery, Eva Jiricna, Borek Sipek, Ricardo Bofill, or Jean Nouveall.
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"Ornament is crime" , is the famous and shocking declaration for which Adolf Loos is best known. That was the title of his 1908 book, but his argument was more subtle. As ornament is no longer organically linked with our culture, it is also no longer an expression of our culture, he wrote. Ornament as created today has no connection with us, no human connections at all, no connection with the world as it is constituted.. What did have connection, for him, and what was left then, for the architect, was form and space and material - and color.

"The house should be like by all. Unlike a work of art, which does not require anyone to like it. The work of art is the private affair of the artist. The house is not. The work of art is sent out into the world, without anyone needing it. The house fulfils certain requirements. The work of art is not answerable to anyone, the house to everyone. A work of art seeks to draw people out of their comfort. The house should serve comfort. The work of art is revolutionary, the house conservative. The work of art shows humanity new paths and thinks of the future; the house thinks of the present. Man loves everything that serves his comfort. He hates all that seeks to draw him from his customary and secure state, and all that constricts him. And thus I love the house and hate art."
Adolf Loos, Architektura ('Architecture'), 1910.

Villa Muller

The villa for Milada and František Müller in Prague (1928-30) is the chef- d'oeuvre of the international architectural avant-garde. It as an example of the rare concord between an enlightened client and a brilliant architect. František Müller, co-owner of the Kapsa-Müller construction company, was one of the leading lights of Czech society of his day. He had no hesitation in commissioning one of the greatest architects of the time to design his own, representative home - Adolf Loos, who had already been active in Bohemia. This commission allowed Loos to bring his original spatial conception, known as Raumplan, to a rapid culmination. The outfitting of the villa interiors – selected and in many cases designed by the architect himself – was the embodiment of the surprising harmony between modern Functionalism and the classic English style. After an eventful history in the post-war years the Villa was restored in 1997-2000, and opened to the public as a National Cultural Monument. The reservation of a visit is necessary.

Villa Winternitz

The villa was built by Adolf Loos and Karel Lhota in 1932 by a Prague lawyer, JUDr. Josef Winternitz as a family villa for his wife Jenny Winternitz, daughter of Suzana and son Peter. It is the last Loos building to be built and has a lot of identical elements with Müller's villa, among other things, the way it is divided (so-called raumplan), which was generally characteristic of Loos. The construction of the villa, including all the preparations, plans and permits, lasted for one year and on September 9, 1932, the "Building Permit" was issued. The family lived the villa until 1941, when it was forced to transfer to the Auswanderungsfond für Böhmen und Mähren (Emigration Fund) under the pressure of racial persecution of the villa. From this fund, the building was bought by the Prague municipality, which established a kindergarten in the villa. Until 1997, it resided there continuously. The whole family was transported to Terezín in 1943 and later to Auschwitz. Here, as soon as he arrived, JUDr. Josef Winternitz and his son Peter. Jenny Winternitz and Suzana's daughter got a job in a transmission factory where they survived the winter through the heat of the machines until the end of the war. After the war, they returned to Prague, but they never got to their family villa again. Although their entitlement to the return of the villa, the Czechoslovak State acknowledged and restored ownership of JUDr. Josef Winternitz, but he imposed an inheritance and millionaire on heirs. The return of the villa was subject to the fulfillment of these payment terms and was subject to execution. Since Jenny and Suzana did not have any property or income and were unable to meet these conditions, they offered the Czechoslovak State the donation of the villa in return for the abolition of the executions and other receivables that arose for the return of the property. Jenny Winternitz quit the donation letter by calling "Peace." They had never looked at the villa or talked about it in the family. The rest of the family learned about the villa in 1991 when preparing restitution. Neither Jenny nor Suzana had any restitution. The villa returned to the hands of the descendants of the original owners and the family reconstructed it to its original form in the 1930s. The reconstruction took place in 1999-2002 and the whole family took part in it personally. The remarkable result of the reconstruction into its original form is only due to the immense energy and work of grandson JUDr. Josef Winternitz Ing. Stanislav Cysaø. Since 2017, the villa has been open to the public and can be visited as part of guided tours , or on a rich cultural program that takes place in the villa. You can also stay in the villa or rent it for a wedding or private party. The villa is still in the hands of the original owners who, with a permanent exhibition on the 2nd floor, strive to forget the turbulent history of the 20th century, which has become harshly in the history of family and object.

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Last updated on Jul 11, 2019