10 December 2020 will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the world-renowned architect and pioneer of modern architecture – Adolf Loos. That is why this year is declared, among other things, as the Year of Adolf Loos. We will show you where you can see his works. And although no less than 100 years often separate us from Loos’ construction projects, they are timeless and his legacy is evident in the contemporary architecture of the 21st century.
Who was Adolf LoosAdolf Loos was born in the South Moravian city of Brno on 10 December 1870. He studied at Royal State Industrial School in Liberec, northern Bohemia, then at the Dresden University of Technology, from where he left for the US after three years. After returning to Europe, he established his own studio in Vienna in 1897. Adolf Loos ranks among the most notable personalities of architectural modernism, alongside Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Ludwig Miese van der Rohe. Loos’ major construction projects include the Goldman & Salatsch department store in Michaelerplatz, Vienna, the house of poet Tristan Tzara in Paris, the unrealised residential project for Josephina Baker and the Müller Villa in Prague. Adolf Loos died in Austria in 1933.
Adolf Loos and exhibitions in 2020Several museums across the Czech Republic have decided to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the brilliant architect’s birth by preparing exhibitions presenting his life and work. Until the end of 2020, the Brno City Museum hosts an exhibition entitled European Adolf Loos. His Legacy in Brno and Beyond. It will not only acquaint visitors with the roots and family background of Adolf Loos in Brno, but also with the buildings he designed for his native city of Brno and the surrounding area.
If your travels take you to Prague, you can also encounter Adolf Loos there. The City of Prague Museum has prepared an exhibition entitled Adolf Loos. Repetition of a Genius in the gallery of the Norbertov Study and Documentation Centre (until 31 January 2021). The exhibition is dedicated to Adolf Loos’ architectural legacy, which is based on a remarkable play with space, material, furnishings and light. Another exhibition, entitled World Citizen Loos, is being prepared to open in Prague at the end of the year. It will run from 11 December 2020 to August 2021 in the National Technical Museum and will remind visitors that Loos’ projects have not only been implemented in the Czech Republic, but also elsewhere in Europe.
The Raumplan and Contemporary Architecture exhibition takes place in the Josef Fragner Gallery in Prague until December 2020. The exhibition focuses on examples of Loos’ work and his legacy consisting in the Raumplan, which is being continued by contemporary architects. The Raumplan, literally meaning spatial plan, is a style of designing the interior of a building that takes account of the size and clear height of the rooms depending on their functions and representative roles. The space of the entire building is not divided into individual storeys, where each floor has a single level, but divides the space into rooms that intersect one another at various height levels. This method of design was introduced by Adolf Loos and is typical of him.
In Plzeň in western Bohemia, roughly an hour’s drive from Prague, you also have an opportunity to discover the characteristic features of Loos’ works. It was in this city that he executed several interiors within apartment buildings, and they have miraculously survived to this day.
Where to view his buildingsPerhaps the most significant construction by Adolf Loos in the Czech Republic stands in Prague, in a prestigious residential area in the Střešovice quarter. Today, the building is referred to as Müller Villa, after František Müller, who commissioned its construction. During your visit, which must be booked in advance in the City of Prague Museum, you have the opportunity to learn more about the unique monument of modern architecture, which architects rank among the most significant villa houses built in the 20th century.
Prague is also the location of another of Loos’ major constructions, the Winternitzer Villa in Prague 5. Today it serves as a gallery, so it is open to the public several days a week. Guided tours of the villa take place on Saturdays and Sundays. Trained guides will provide you with enough information about the house and its residents. These guided tours also require prior reservation.
In Brno you can also encounter Adolf Loos, for example, on the grounds of the Brno Exhibition Centre in Bauer Chateau. It dates back to the 19th century, but the owner invited Loos to adapt its interiors in 1925. Among other things, he designed the marble panelling in the dining room and the figural stucco strip. The interior is the only surviving work by Loos in his home city.
We’ve already mentioned that there are so-called Loos Interiors located in Plzeň in western Bohemia. Each of them is different, but they are all certainly worth a visit. In the apartment of the couple Kraus at Bendova 10, you can view what is widely hailed by experts as the most beautiful Loos salon with Swiss marble panelling and a mahogany-panelled ceiling. When you visit Dr Vogl’s apartment at Klatovská 12, you will view a miraculously preserved room, a living salon with replicas of the original furniture and a travertine dining room. Another tour route offers the Brummel House at Husova 58, converted by Loos into a two-generation home, and the final interior is the apartment of Oskar Semler’s family at Klatovská 110. However, the last apartment is currently undergoing restoration and is inaccessible for the time being.