American Bar

American Bar, Vienna

American Bar, Vienna
© Keith Collie/RIBA Library Photographs Collection 


Adolf Loos: Re-Imaginging the American Bar, with Mary Costello by The RIBA


Mary Costello, University of Plymouth, discusses the iconic Kärntner Bar as a symbol of the architect Adolf Loos and his times, and its subsequent reproduction in Trinity College, Dublin.

Talk recorded 29 March 2011 at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London.

Adolf Loos was fascinated with America. He was one of many Europeans to travel to the United States in the later years of the 19th century. Loos's three-year stay, which included periods in Chicago and Philadelphia, exposed him to the culture of America, which was in turn to influence his writings and architecture.

Situated on a narrow Viennese passageway, the American Bar, when opened in 1908 to a design by Loos, was modern and served cocktails - a new idea exported from the United States.

Alongside the Looshaus and Villa Müller, it is regarded as one of Loos's most important buildings and is an example of his early work. It displays some of the elements that were to be characteristic of his work - the careful selection of materials, good craftsmanship and the considered use of space.

The associations with Loos are strong; the American Bar, also formerly known as the Kärntner Bar, is now called the Loos Bar.


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