Loos, Adolf

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Loos, Adolf

Loos, Adolf (äˈdôlf lōs), 1870–1933, Austrian architect. His rationalist design theories were strongly influenced by his stay in the United States from 1893 to 1896, where he admired American works of engineering. In residential designs such as the Steiner House in Vienna (1910), he emphasized smooth, undecorated wall surfaces. His best-known large-scale work, the office building on the Michaelerplatz (1910) was equally austere. Loos's simplification of architectural forms had a strong influence on the development of the International style. In a famous essay, he equated ornament with crime. Loos's writings have been translated as Spoken into the Void: Collected Essays, 1897–1900 (1982).


See also L. Münz and G. Künstler, Adolf Loos: Pioneer of Modern Architecture (tr. 1966).

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Loos, Adolf

Viennese architect, primarily a designer of houses; disclaimed all forms of ornament. Designed the Kartner Bar and the Gustav Sheu House, both in Vienna, Austria with typically boxlike exteriors and rectangular windows of various sizes.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Loos, Adolf "Ornament and Crime:" Crime and Ornament: The Arts and Popular Culture in the Shadow of Adolf Loos.