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Adolf Loos

Brünn 1870 - Kalksburg 1933


Adolf Loos was both an architect and theorist, who became known for the radical theoretical statements he made condemning decoration aimed at Jugendstil and specifically the Wiener Werkstätte. This uncompromising stance made Adolf Loos a pioneering functionalist. From 1890 to 1893 Adolf Loos studied at the Gewerbeschule in Reichenberg and architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden. Afterwards Adolf Loos spent quite some time in the US before going to Vienna and working in Carl Mayreder's architecture practice.
From 1897 Adolf Loos was self-employed as an architect. In 1899 he built the Café Museum in Vienna, in which the geometrical and rational style espoused by Adolf Loos was already apparent. In 1903 Adolf Loos was editor of the journal "Das Andere - Ein Blatt zur Einführung abendländischer Kunst in Österreich", in which he expressed his thoughts on, and theories of, contemporary architecture, fashion, and design.
In 1908 Adolf Loos's important theoretical essay on art was published: "Ornament und Verbrechen". In it Adolf Loos excoriated the "Austrian ornamentalists", scourging in a vitriolic diatribe their predilection for decoration as a degenerate phenomenon from the standpoint of civilised man: "The evolution of culture is synonymous with removing decoration from utilitarian objects." And for architecture Adolf Loos predicted: "Soon the city streets will shine like white walls!".
The following year Adolf Loos hoped to realize his ideas by building the new head office of gentlemen's tailors Goldman & Salatsch. By July 1910 the main façade of the "Loos house" was smooth, white and bereft of adornment, to the horror of the Viennese public. An injunction caused building to cease at that point; construction would not resume until 1912, when Adolf Loos declared himself willing to add bronze window boxes for flowers to the windows.
Other important buildings designed by Adolf Loos are "Haus Steiner" (1910), "Haus Scheu" (1912), "Haus Rufer" (1922), the design for the "Chicago Tribune Tower" (1922), and the house he designed for Tristan Tzara in Paris (1925-26).


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