Loos, Adolf (1870–1933) By Kotte, Claudia
Born in Brno, Moravia, Austria-Hungary, now Czech Republic, Adolf Loos was a critic, architect and designer famous for his vehement rejection of ornament. Educated in Dresden, Germany, he lived in the United States from 1893 to 1896 and developed a lifelong admiration for the American way of life. In 1896, he moved to Vienna, where he practiced for the longest period of his life. Loos’s main contribution to Modernism was, however, in the realm of theory and writing. In a 1908 essay entitled ‘Ornament and Crime’ he claimed that ‘the evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from objects of daily use’ (Bock and Loos: 167) Although his functional, rectilinear boxes such as Steiner House (1910) were met with little enthusiasm at the time, Loos’s buildings appear to anticipate the International Style of the 1920s as well as Le Corbusier’s (1887-1965) architectural purism. The stark exteriors of Loos’s work contrast with their sumptuous interiors, clad in rich woods or marble.