Adolf Loos (1870-1933) was a flamboyant character whose presence in the cultural hotbed of early 1900s Vienna galvanized the country’s architectural landscape. An early, impassioned advocate of modernism, he all-out rejected the grand Secessionist aesthetic prevalent at the time, as well as any hallmarks of the European fin de siècle.
Instead, in lectures and essays, such as the milestone Ornament and Crime of 1908, Loos articulated his “passion for smooth and precious surfaces.” He advocated that architectural ornamentation was, by its nature, ephemeral-locked into current trends and styles, and therefore quickly dated. Loos, himself a Classicist at heart, argued instead for simple, timeless designs with time-honored aesthetic and structural qualities.
In this essential introduction, we explore Loos’s writings, projects, and legacy, from his key concept of “spatial plan” architecture to his rejection of decorative fripperies in favor of opulent, fine-quality materials and crisp lines. Featured projects include Vienna’s Café Museum (1899), the fashion store Knize (1913), and the controversial Loos House (1912), which Emperor Franz Joseph I would refuse to travel past, bristling with rage at its insolently minimalist aesthetic.
About the series
Born back in 1985, the Basic Art Series has evolved into the best-selling art book collection ever published. Each book in TASCHEN’s Basic Architecture series features:
an introduction to the life and work of the architect
the major works in chronological order
information about the clients, architectural preconditions as well as construction problems and resolutions
a list of all the selected works and a map indicating the locations of the best and most famous buildings
approximately 120 illustrations (photographs, sketches, drafts, and plans)