Adolf Loos 1870-1933

Adolf Loos

Adolf Franz Karl Viktor Maria Loos was an Austrian architect. He was influential in European Modern architecture, and in his essay Ornament and Crime he abandoned the aesthetic principles of the Vienna Secession. In this and many other essays he contributed to the elaboration of a body of theory and criticism of Modernism in architecture.
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Loos authored several polemical works. In Spoken into the Void, published in 1900, Loos attacked the Vienna Secession, at a time when the movement was at its height.
In his essays, Loos used provocative catchphrases and has become noted for one particular essay/manifesto entitled Ornament and Crime, spoken first in 1910.In this essay, he explored the idea that the progress of culture is associated with the deletion of ornament from everyday objects, and that it was therefore a crime to force craftsmen or builders to waste their time on ornamentation that served to hasten the time when an object would become obsolete. Loos' stripped-down buildings influenced the minimal massing of modern architecture, and stirred controversy. Perhaps surprisingly, some of Loos's own architectural work was elaborately decorated, although more often inside than outside, and the ornamented interiors frequently featured abstract planes and shapes composed of richly figured materials, such as marble and exotic woods. The visual distinction is not between complicated and simple, but between "organic" and superfluous decoration.

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