During their stay in Vienna the Mackintoshes probably became aware of an architectural competition sponsored by the Darmstadt publisher and arts patron, Alexander Koch. The competition's guidelines were really quite simple. It was to be a House For an Art Lover and not in the sense that it would be a gallery for pictures but that the house itself would be the Art. It was also to be an unmistakably modern design.
This was a competition seemingly invented for the cutting edge Mackintosh duo. There were thirty six entries including the Mackintoshes which was entered under the name "Der Vogel ", The Bird. Incredibly, for reasons not known, they failed to include three perspective drawings of the interior and were not considered.
The judges chose to award no first prize, but awarded a second prize to English architect M.H. Bailley Scott. They split the third prize three ways. When Mackintosh's finished drawings arrived the judges awarded him a special prize. Soon thereafter in 1902 Alexander Koch published the submissions of Bailley-Scott, Mackintosh and one of the third place winners.
As he will later do at Hill House, Mackintosh diminishes the importance of the main entrance, flying in the face Baronial Mansion traditions. The construction of this house in the 1990's was a monumental task, as Mackintosh had never prepared any working or mechanical drawings. The architects simply had the original exterior and interior perspective renderings thus forcing a certain amount of subjective interpretation in the building process.
The main entrance hall is quite large with contrasting light and dark colors. It has a very high ceiling that accenuates the scale of the space. To the right one enters the darker and more somber dining room.
Mackintosh's dining room is a very masculine, yet sensual space. For the time it was an extremely modern design especially when compared to Bailley-Scott's which exuded a heavy medieval quality. Every element in Mackintosh's dining room is carefully related and when taken as a whole creates a meditative yet seductive space.
Unlike the masculine and intimate dining room, the more feminine music room is bright and fairly vibrates with energy. This view faces the south wall with the ornate piano that is regularly used for recitals. There is little doubt that Margaret's hand is very much at work in this room.
Although the room itself is long and narrow the furnishings and accents all emphasize a strong vertical. The overall ambience of the room is at once lyrical and soothing - a perfect combination for a music room.
The oval room is a small intimate space that probably was conceived by Mackintosh as a ladies room. The oval was Mackintosh's favorite femine symbol and it incorporates the window as well as the oval hanging light. Since no furniture was designed by Mackintosh for this space, architects had to "imagine" what Macintosh may have intended. They ended up using furnishing and fittings from other rooms that he had designed.