Adolf Franz Karl Viktor Maria Loos (10 December 1870 – 23 August 1933) was an influential Austrian and Czechoslovakian architect of European Modern architecture and a leading critic in the field of construction and design. Loos was known for his controversial views on the use of ornamental decoration in the architecture and design of buildings. He strongly insisted that architecture needed to be functional rather than ornamental. Through his writings, Loos desired to establish an alternate method for the architectural design of buildings supported by practical reasoning. His opposition to ornamental design and decoration extended to anything that was not reasoned by its functionality. As a result, Loos’ designs were often composed of pure forms that were known for their cost-effectiveness and utilitarian advantages. He was known for his expertise in the selection and use of appropriate building materials and his knowledge of ‘Raumplan’ – the considered arrangement, ordering, and size of spaces based on function. Through his groundbreaking ideas, he continues to influence architects and designers even today. Loos’s architectural marvels are meticulous examples of thorough and careful design. Loos passed away in Kalksburg near Vienna. Following his demise in 1933, his body was shifted to Zentralfriedhof, Vienna where he rests among other renowned artists and musicians of the city. Here is a list of his fifteen best projects

1. Café Museum | Adolf Loos

Café Museum is a traditional Viennese cafe and a meeting place for most Viennese artists. The café is located in Vienna, Austria. The café is styled with light green walls, red wooden chairs, and brass rails. The Café Museum was redesigned during the 1930s. However, in 2003, Loos’ original design was restored.

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2. Steiner House

Adolf Loos was still a beginner in the field of modern architecture when he designed and built the Steiner house located in Vienna, Austria. The Steiner House was designed for Lilly Steiner, a painter, and Hugo, her husband. Loos’ design for the Steiner House became a rigorous example of rationalist architecture.

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3. Looshaus

Looshaus is one of the central buildings of Viennese Modernism. The Looshaus represents the rejection of historicism and the ornamental floral decor of Secession. However, this design was not easily accepted by the citizens of Vienna (whose sense of art was historically inclined.) Owing to its subtle design, the Viennese people nicknamed the Looshaus as the ‘house without eyebrows’.

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4. The Mausoleum

The mausoleum is a square chamber-like structure erected using blocks made up of Swedish black granite. The mausoleum was never actually built however, a scaled version of it called A Very Small Part of Architecture was commissioned and temporarily installed by the Architecture Foundation.

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5. Rufer House | Adolf Loos

The Rufer House was built in 1922 and is located at Schließmanngasse in Vienna. It is considered to be the pioneering example of the concept of ‘Raumplan.’-spatial orientation based on function.

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Sowmya is an architectural journalist and writer. In this column, Sowmya takes you through stories on eco-architecture, biophilic design, and green buildings from across the globe.

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