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Adolf Loos

Adolf Loos

*  1870 Brünn, Mähren
† 1933 Kalksburg

Adolf Loos studied from 1890 until 1893 at the Gewerbeschule in Reichenberg and architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden. After finishing his studies, Adolf Loos spent quite some time in the US. After working briefly in Carl Mayreder's Viennese architecture practice, Adolf Loos became a self-employed architect in Vienna from 1897. Adolf Loos designed the Café Museum in Vienna in 1899. In 1903 Adolf Loos published the journal "Das Andere", using it as a forum for his ideas on, and theories of, architecture, fashion, and design. In 1908 Adolf Loos published the important theoretical essay "Ornament und Verbrechen", in which he lambasted the "Austrian ornamentalists", deploring their penchant for decoration as degenerate and unworthy of civilized man: "The evolution of culture is synonymous with removing decoration from utilitarian objects. […] Soon the city streets will shine like white walls!" The following year Adolf Loos had an opportunity for realizing his ideas in the head office building he was commissed to design for gentlemen's tailor Goldman & Salatsch. Loos changed the original building plans so that the façade of the "Loos Building" was smooth, white, and entirely devoid of decoration from the ground floor to the fourth by July 1910. The Viennese public was so indignant that the City Council issued an injunction for construction work to cease. It remained in force until Adolf Loos capitulated in 1912, agreeing to mount bronze window boxes for flowers below the window sills. Other buildings designed by Adolf Loos are "Haus Steiner" (1910), "Haus Scheu" (1912), "Haus Rufer" (1922), his design for the "Chicago Tribune Tower" (1922), and the house Adolf Loos designed for Tristan Tzara in Paris (1925/26). His radical theoretical diatribes against decoration and his bold espousal of blank surfaces reveal Adolf Loos as a pioneering functionalist.