Life and influence

Adolf Loos

Adolf Loos 


Great Architects: Adolf Loos by The RIBA

Czech architect Eva Jiricná, architect and author Ivan Margolius, University of Cambridge Professor Dalibor Vesely, and RIBA British Architectural Library Director Dr Irena Murray debate Loos's influence as an architect and polemicist and the significance of his work today.

The talk 'Great Architects: Adolf Loos' was recorded on 29 March 2011 at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London.


Adolf Loos (1870 - 1933) belonged to the generation of central European artists, writers, designers and composers whose work influenced and introduced the Modern movement. Like his younger contemporary, Le Corbusier, he combined practice with polemical writings, exemplified by his essay 'Ornament and Crime'. He challenged the eclectic and heavily embellished imperial architecture of Vienna, and more fundamentally the backward-looking spirit of the late 19th century.

Loos was born in Brno, a city in the Moravia region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In this multicultural environment, Loos had a strong affinity with both Austrian and Czech cultures. Following the dissolution of the empire at the end of World War I, he was awarded citizenship of the newly formed Czechoslovakia by President Masaryk. In the inter-war period he lectured and designed for clients in different parts of the new republic and throughout Europe. Today, his most well-known architectural achievements are to be found in Paris, Vienna and Prague, but his legacy can also be found in other, less well-known projects across central Europe and in the work of those who came after him.


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