LOOS, Adolf

(1870-1933)
   In 1913, Adolf Loos, one of the leading practitioners of modern, utilitarian architecture in Austria, wrote an essay titled Ornament and Crime in reaction to the perceived aristocratic opulence of the popular Art Nouveau, or Sezessionstil, as it was called in Vienna. In this text he argues that architectural ornament is a sign of degeneration and that "pure" form reveals an evolving, more sophisticated culture. Having studied in Dresden, the seat of the Rococo style prior to its destruction in World War II, Loos was no doubt strengthened in his anti-ornamental, utilitarian emphasis by Dresden's highly ornate artistic culture. One of Loos's earliest buildings is his Goldman and Salatsch Building in Vienna (1909-1911). This commercial structure was constructed in a trapezoidal shape on a prominent curved intersection across the street from the Imperial Palace in Vienna; its sparer façade, despite the use of beautiful cipollino marble at the ground level, created a furor, as some critics considered Loos's building an insult to what they considered "proper" architectural decorum. The four-story structure, with a simple white exterior at the upper two levels and rectangular windows without additional articulation along the roofline, was called "the building without eyebrows," yet its solid appearance and subtle articulation became the trademark of Loos's style.
   Loos's new architectural aesthetic can be seen best in his Steiner House in Vienna, built in 1910. The reinforced concrete building is covered with white stucco. Unadorned rectangular windows puncture the exterior in an irregularly spaced pattern that suits the needs of the interior space. No cornice caps the roofline, but instead a curved roof with no overhang slants down for the run-off of rain and snow. This gentle curve offers the one organic shape to an otherwise highly geometric building that in many ways anticipates the International style of modernism first seen in Europe in the next decade. From dining nooks to fireplace seating, Loos created inside the Steiner House small, intimate spaces for different types of social interactions.
   Then, in the Parisian house built for Tristan Tzara in 1926, Loos designed an even more sophisticated space, to include a sequence of rooms that adjoined to create a unique flow of space practically suited to its small urban lot. On the exterior, Loos designed a rich five-story façade with a two-story stone base topped by slightly textured stucco. At the ground level, two entrances angle inward to create a small portico with a balcony above. Offset windows in the upper three stories provide a geometric rhythm to the otherwise unadorned exterior. The exterior of the Tzara house, with its window registers articulated at diverse heights, reflects the varied heights of the interior rooms. These height differentials reflect Loos's ideas on space, which he called the raumplan. Raumplan involves the conception of space in cubic shapes rather than in a two-dimensional plan. That is, instead of floor plans or sections, Loos conceived of his buildings as fully three-dimensional from the onset rather than creating a plan on paper that resulted, by default, in a three-dimensional conclusion.
   Loos's Moller House, built in Vienna in 1927, provides a further elaboration on this idea. Inside the white, modernist exterior, the visitor is met by a series of rooms accessed at different levels with stairs that change directions and provide for elevated niches and connecting hallways. Beautiful wood paneling and builtin shelves and furnishings provide warmth to the otherwise spare interior. Loos's most ornate home, the Villa Müller, built in Prague in 1928-1930, features a cube-shaped exterior that recalls the International style, but with a material richness to the interior increasingly favored by his upper-class clientele. Travertine, colored tiles, rich green Italian marble, mahogany, and satinwood paneling appear on the interior. Loos wanted to reveal the true beauty of the materials he used, as well as their geometric shapes and cubic mass. In this regard, his style can be seen as classical in its enduring and timeless appeal.

Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. . 2008.

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  • Loos, Adolf — SUBJECT AREA: Architecture and building [br] b. 10 December 1870 Brno, Moravia (now in the Czech Republic) d. 23 August 1933 Vienna, Austria [br] Austrian architect who was one of the earliest pioneers of the modern school in Europe. [br] Loos… …   Biographical history of technology

  • Loos, Adolf — born Dec. 10, 1870, Brno, Moravia, Austria Hungary died Aug. 23, 1933, Kalksburg, near Vienna, Austria Austrian architect. Educated in Dresden, Ger., he practiced in Vienna, though he spent extended periods in the U.S. and Paris. Opposed to both… …   Universalium

  • Loos, Adolf — ► (1870 1933) Arquitecto austríaco. Centró su interés en la organización del espacio interior de los edificios. * * * (10 dic. 1870, Brno, Moravia, Austria Hungría–23 ago. 1933, Kalksburgo, cercano a Viena, Austria). Arquitecto austríaco. Estudió …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Loos — Loos, Adolf …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Adolf Loos — Das Haus Steiner in Wien 13., St. Veit Gasse 10 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Adolf Loos — Adolf Loos. Información personal Nacimiento 10 de diciembre de 1870 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Loos Bar — Loos American Bar im Kärntner Durchgang Nr. 10 Die American Bar oder Kärntner Bar, heute auch als Loos Bar oder Loos American Bar bekannt, ist eine kleine Bar im Kärntner Durchgang Nr. 10, einer Seitengasse der Kärntner Straße im 1. Wiener… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • LOOS (A.) — LOOS ADOLF (1870 1933) Si l’Autrichien Adolf Loos n’est pas toujours un architecte de premier plan, il est au moins l’un des rares (avec Le Corbusier) qui soit aussi un écrivain. Son écriture révèle, comme son architecture pourtant si rigoureuse …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Loos — (Adolf) (1870 1933) architecte autrichien; un des pionniers du fonctionnalisme: maison Steiner à Vienne (1910) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Adolf Loos — Infobox Architect caption= name=Adolf Loos nationality= birth date=birth date|1870|12|10 birth place=Brno, Austria Hungary death date=death date and age|1933|08|23|1870|10|12 death place=Vienna, Austria practice name= significant buildings=… …   Wikipedia

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