Adolf Loos

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Works Khuner Villa, at on the Kreuzberg, Payerback, Austria, 1930.

Rufer House, at Vienna, Austria, 1922.

Steiner House, at Vienna, Austria, 1910.

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Adolf Loos

(b. Brunn, Czechoslovakia 1870; d. 1933)

Adolf Loos was born in Brunn, Czechoslovakia in 1870. His studies at the Royal and Imperial State Technical College in Rechenberg, Bohemia were cut short by a two year stint in the army. After he attended the College of Technology in Dresden for three years, he worked in the U.S. as a mason, a floor-layer and a dish-washer. He eventually obtained a job with the architect Carl Mayreder and in 1897 he established his own practice. He taught for several years throughout Europe, but returned to practice in Vienna in 1928.

Adolf Loos gained greater notoriety for his writings than for his buildings. Loos wanted an intelligently established building method supported by reason. He believed that everything that could not be justified on rational grounds was superfluous and should be eliminated. Loos recommended pure forms for economy and effectiveness. He rarely considered how this "effectiveness" could correspond to rational human needs.

Loos argued against decoration by pointing to economic and historical reasons for its development, and by describing the suppression of decoration as necessary to the regulation of passion. He believed that culture resulted from the renunciation of passions and that which brings man to the absence of ornamentation generates spiritual power.

Loos attacked contemporary design as well as the imitative styling of the nineteenth century. He looked on contemporary decoration as mass-produced, mass-consumed trash. Loos acted as a model and a seer for architects of the 1920s. His fight for freedom from the decorative styles of the nineteenth century led a campaign for future architects.

Muriel Emmanuel. Contemporary Architects. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980. ISBN 0-312-16635-4. NA 680-C625. p479-481.

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