Adolf Loos: Revolutionizing European Modernist Architecture


The Austrian architect, Adolf Loos, whose private residence planning had a major effect on the European Modernist architects after World War I. Adolf Loos (born December 10, 1870, Brno, Moravia, [now the Czech Republic]—mort 23 August 1933, Kalksburg, near Vienna, Austria). Frank Lloyd Wright credited Loos for doing what Wright did in the United States for European architecture.

Adolf Loos

Adolf Loos trained in Dresden in Germany, but spent extensive time in the U.S. (1893–97) and Paris (1924–28), practicing at home in Vienna. Loos opposed historicism in both Art Nouveau and Beaux-Arts and announced his intention as early as 1898 to avoid the use of unnecessary decor. The Villa Karma, Clarens (1904–06), close to Montreux, Switzerland, was the first to stand out for its geometric simplicity. It was followed by the Steiner Haus in Vienna (1910). Some architectural historians referred to it as the first totally modern house; a symmetrical, smartly balanced rectangular composition is the principal (back) façade. He has been equally influential in his essays from this period denouncing ornament and décor. The Goldman and Salatsch Building, Vienna (1910), is Loos’s best-known wide structure, which offsets a little classic exterior detail by large, white, polished marble areas. In 1922, he built the house of the Dada writer Tristan Tzara in Paris, which was a French resident.

Famous Architects - Adolf Loos - Villa Muller
Adolf Loos – Villa Muller
Famous Architects - Adolf Loos - Looshaus, Austria
Adolf Loos – Looshaus, Austria

Adolf Loos Famous Quotes

  1. Lack of ornamentation is a sign of spiritual strength.
  2. Be not afraid of being called unfashionable.
  3. Architecture arouses sentiments in man. The architect’s task, therefore, is to make those sentiments more precise.
  4. The house has to please everyone, contrary to the work of art which does not. The work is a private matter for the artist. The house is not.
  5. Tattooed men who are not behind bars are either latent criminals or degenerate aristocrats. If someone who is tattooed dies in freedom, then he does so a few years before he would have committed murder.
  6. All art is erotic. The first ornament to have been invented, the cross, was of erotic origin. It was the first work of art. A horizontal stroke: the woman lying down. A vertical stroke: the male who penetrates her.
  7. The house has to serve comfort. The work of art is revolutionary; the house is conservative.
  8. Be truthful. Nature only sides with truth.
  9. I have emerged victorious from my thirty years of struggle. I have freed mankind from superfluous ornament.
  10. Supply and demand regulate architectural form.

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