Adolf Loos

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Adolf Loos
Adolf Franz Karl Viktor Maria Loos
BirthplaceBrünn (Brno), Austria-Hungary

Loos, Adolf


Born Dec. 10, 1870, in Brünn (now Brno, Czechoslovakia); died Aug. 22, 1933, in Vienna. Austrian architect.

Loos graduated from the Technische Hochschule in Dresden in 1893. Although he worked in the United States from 1893 to 1896 and in Paris from 1923 to 1928, his major efforts were in Vienna, where he was the principal architect from 1920 to 1922.

Influenced by L. Sullivan, Loos voiced his opposition to the art nouveau style in architecture in the 1890’s, contrasting its picturesqueness and rich ornamentation with the rationalism and accentuated asceticism of his own buildings, as well as with his exploitation of the specific qualities of construction materials. This rejection of art nouveau is expressed in the artist’s article “Ornament and Crime” (1908) and in a number of his architectural works in Vienna (the interior of the Kärntner-Bar, 1907; the office building in the Michaelplatz and the Steiner House, 1910; and the design of the Hoyberg Block, 1922).

Loos’ works, particularly those designed after 1925, reflect neoclassical tendencies, the influence of cubism (the house for T. Tzara in Paris, mid-1920’s), and an interest in folk architecture (the Khuner house in Payerbach, 1930).


Die Schriften, vols. 1–2. Innsbruck, 1931.


Mastera arkhitektury ob arkhitekture. Moscow, 1972. Pages 138–58. Münz, L. A. Loos. Milan, 1956.
References in periodicals archive ?
Loos, Adolf "Ornament and Crime:" Crime and Ornament: The Arts and Popular Culture in the Shadow of Adolf Loos.
It is as if Adolf Loos of the 1900s could have brought himself to pen a gossipy tome with asides (if it could happen within an Austrian psychology that instinctively needs blood to be drawn for creativity to take place).
Much of the standard perception of Judd might be traced back to Adolf Loos and his 1908 essay "Ornament and Crime," a defining text in the development of modernism.
Furniture is best represented by a cupboard and a carpet design by Josef Hoffman from the turn of the century, and by chairs designed by Adolf Loos for Vienna's Cafe Museum.
This created a somewhat different dynamic from that which I had suggested in the Audi Studio--tracing a path from Adolf Loos to Rudolf Schindler to John Cage to Co-op Himmelblau, or Christopher Isherwood to Reyner Banham to Frank Gehry to Greg Lynn--which was intended to add coherence to the LA scene.
Towards the end of the book Sennett tellingly compares two ostensibly rather similar houses built in early-20th-century Vienna; one was designed by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein for his sister, the other by Adolf Loos for himself.
Adolf Loos once said that he was proud that his (and by implication other great) buildings could not be understood in photographs.
McElheny's recent projects address the legacy of modernism, from Adolf Loos's anti-ornamental screeds of the early twentieth century (to which McElheny responds with Adolf Loos, 2001, a group of exquisite white glass objects shown in rectangular all-white vitrines) to reproductions of colorful "feminine-shaped" works by the glass design company Venini, which in the '50s had sought to engage with haute couture.
Ledoux said that if one wants to be an architect, one should start by becoming a painter; and Adolf Loos, in part of a text carefully avoided by modernists (who very selectively quote from his work), advised that a great effort should be made, when designing, to ward off 'original ideas', for one may do something new only if one is going to do it better.
For example, the architect Adolf Loos notoriously labeled ornament a crime against the purity of white walls, while the art historian Wilhelm Worringer argued that geometric abstraction helped "primitive" cultures live in denial of the corporeal world's frightening realities.
All relevant modern architecture is heir to Semper's theoretical work, elaborated and passed on to us in writings and buildings by Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos, among others.
In Kallmorgen's original design, a gigantic aperture facing down river was cut into the fortress-like mass and dedicated to Adolf Loos.