Adolf Loos (1870 – 1933) – Moravian Architect and Designer

Alfred Loos Lamp featured image
Alfred Loos Lamp featured image

Adolf Loos (1870 – 1933) was a Moravian Architect and Designer.

Education

He studied at the Reichenberg Polytechnik and Technische Hochscule, Dresden.

Biography

Between 1893-96, he travelled to America and worked as a mason and floor layer. He saw the work of the Chicago School, including William Le Baron Jenny, Burnham and Root, and Louis Sullivan. He settled in Vienna in 1896 and began to write and work as a designer and architect, turning away from the Vienna Sezession style and abandoning all decoration and ornamentation. Loos worked with architect Otto Wagner and admired the Scottish architects Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Hugh Baillie Scott. His architecture drew on neoclassicism and the work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel. His first series of articles condemning the aesthetics of painter Gustav Klimt and the styles of Joseph Maria Olbrich and Josef Hoffmann appeared in the journal Neue Freie Presse (1897—98); he codified his thesis in the seminal essay ‘Ornament und Verbrechen’ (Ornament and Crime) (1908).

Architecture

His 1910 Steiner House was one of the first domestic dwellings built in reinforced concrete. It included many innovations, including a new use of internal space, pure straight lines, horizontal windows, and solids formed in a Cubist shape. 1920—22, he was in charge of municipal housing in Vienna. He entered his visionary Doric-column project in the 1922 Chicago Tribune competition. 1923—28, he lived in Paris. He designed the 1926—27 house and interior of Dadaist Tristan Tzara with African masks, tube lighting over the doors, and 17th-century chairs. His other buildings included the 1906 Villa Karma (renovation) in Clarens, near Montreux, 1907 Karntner Bar in Vienna, 1910 commercial block on the Michaelerplatz in Vienna, 1922 Rufer House in Vienna, 1928 Moller house in Potzleinsdorf, 1930 Kuhner House in Payerback, and 1930 Miiller house in Prague. Apart from his architecture, he designed little; his starkly simple and almost imperceptibly tapered 1931 water pitcher and glasses (known as Service No. 248), initially for the Loos Bar in Vienna, are still manufactured by Lobmeyr in Austria. For his use, he chose 18th-century furniture. However, his peculiar chaise longue for the Knize haberdashery shop of the mid-1920s in Paris was an odd amalgamation of Modern and Art Nouveau. His 1930 Miller house in Prague influenced architects including André Lurgat, Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, and Erich Mendelsohn.

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Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

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