Adolf Loos : Ornament and Crime

Adolf Loos is well known for his leading style of 20th-century modern architecture. In the late 1890s, when Art Nouveau was at its peak, Adolf Loos began his practice in architecture but Loos was not affected by the popular Art Nouveau at all. His famous manifesto; “Ornament and Crime” was clearly shown his thought against the conventional architectural wisdom of the 19th century. He claimed that architecture and the applied arts could do without any ornament.

From the fact that he had lived in the United States made his rationalist design theories were strongly influenced by his stay. He admired American works of engineering. His design often included smooth, minimal decorated wall surface, honest and functional, so-called austere.

After I looked at his style, I am fascinated by the simplicity of his exterior designs; facades, flat roofs, white walls, and horizontal windows without any moldings, together with open plans. The simplicity of it simply caught my eyes and made me wonder what is behind the walls.

The Loohaus

His early work was done in 1898 for the Goldman and Salatsch haberdashery shop in Vienna, where he applied his design principles and undoubtedly illustrated his skill in articulate space design. The building provides four stories of apartments above the business floors. The business floors were originally a gentlemen’s outfitter, but are now a bank.

The steel concrete construction provides wide structural spans with flexible space use. The facade of the lower stories is quite lavish, chiefly through the rich, green Greek marble.

Despite the simplicity of his exteriors, Loos’ interiors were decorated comfortably, using beautiful materials and elegant details. The interiors on the business floors are luxurious through the richness of their materials, contrasting a modern minimalism in the detailing.

To conclude, Loos proposed a strict functionalism, which in turn derived from the rationalism of Otto Wagner and from the theories of the great German architect Gottfred Semper. At the same time Loos also retained the respect for ancient architecture; which expressed in the regular use of classical architectural elements in his architectural designs. His writings and architectural works provided great inspiration to the architects of the following generation.


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