Themed Book Lists

4 Books on Adolf Loos

October 23, 2014

Four books from our contributors on the Vienna-trained architect and architectural theorist and writer Adolf Loos (1870–1933).

Adolf Loos: Creating Your Home With Style Adolf Loos

From the Publisher. Adolf Loos was an eloquent voice against the squandering of fine materials, ornamentation and unnecessary embellishments. The rational underpinnings of his later assertion that ornament is crime first appear in these polemical thrusts at the stylized work of the Viennese secessionists. Few are acquainted with his amusing, incisive, critical and philosophical literary works on applied design and the essence of style in fin de siecle Vienna. Loos often had a radical, yet innovative outlook on life that made him such a nuisance for many of his contemporaries. His provocative musings on an assortment of subjects portray him as a man of many interests, and possessing a keen feel for elegant design still valued today. This publication is now available in English for the first time.

Adolf Loos: A Private Portrait Claire Beck Loos

This intimate 140-page biography of the early Modern architect Adolf Loos was written by the architect’s last wife, Claire Beck Loos. Lively and often humorous vignettes provide “Snapshots” of the last years of Loos’ life (1929-1933), and reveal the personality and philosophy that helped shape Modern architecture in Vienna and the Czech lands. Claire Beck Loos was a photographer and writer, born in 1904 in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. Her immediate and extended families were Jewish industrialists and early clients of Loos. An introduction and afterword frame the first English translation of the work, which was originally published in German in 1936 to help pay for Loos’s tombstone. A contribution by Janet Beck Wilson, Claire’s surviving niece, and never-before seen photographs supplement the text. This unusual, literary biography has also become a self-portrait of a vibrant young woman who died a tragic and untimely death at Riga, a Nazi concentration camp, in 1942. The book honors her memory as well as her artistry.

The Looshaus Christopher Long

From the Publisher. When it was completed in 1911, the Goldman & Salatsch Building in Vienna, commonly known as the Looshaus, incited controversy for its austerity and plainness. It represented a stark rejection of the contemporary preference for ornamentation, though its architect, Adolf Loos (1870–1933), had intended it to preserve Viennese tradition within a new modernist language. The heated debate that ensued among critics and the public set the project apart, distinguishing it as one of the most important and contentious buildings of the early 20th century. In celebration of the Looshaus's centennial year, Christopher Long, a leading authority on Viennese architectural history, brings to light extensive new research and careful analysis that dispel long-held myths about Loos, his building, and its critical reception. The book, which features new color photography and a vast array of archival materials in print for the first time, tells the remarkable story of the Looshaus's design and construction, the political and social restlessness it reflected, and the building's fundamental role in defining the look of modernism.  

Christopher Long is professor and chair of history/theory at University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. He is the author of Paul T. Frankl and Modern American Design (Yale University Press).

The Villa Müller: A Work of Adolf Loos Kent Kleinman
Leslie Van Duzer
Foreword by John Hejduk

From the Publisher. The subject of an international preservation effort, Villa Müller, built in Prague in 1930, is one of Adolf Loos’s best designs. This masterpiece has been inaccessible for twenty years, during its occupation by the Marxist-Leninist Institute of Czechoslovakia. It has never received the exposure commensurate with its position in the history of modern architecture—until now. Architectural historians Kent Kleinman and Leslie Van Duzer are among the first scholars to have been admitted to the building. Their study reveals Loos’s original palette of materials and colors, and a series of design submissions at a local building office in Prague, providing new information about Loos’s design methods and bringing to light Loos's extraordinary sensitivity to materials, overlooked by previous generations of scholars. The study is introduced by John Hejduk. (Out of print)

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