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Adolf Loos is one of Austria’s best-known architects and architectural theorists and a pioneer of Modernism.
For Loos, “art” was found solely in the realm of the fine arts.
His 1910 essay and lecture Ornament and Crime, in which he explained that the absence of ornamentation is a sign of cultural refinement and modernity wholly in line with
conserving human energy, became famous across the world. Loos did, however, approve of the use of superior materials where sensuality and wealth were clearly intended to be apparent. Loos primarily designed private villas, but also residential buildings and business premises, mainly in Vienna, as well as furniture. To this day he is regarded as one of the first architects of a strictly minimalist school.
Loos (*1870 in Brno,†1933 in Kalksburg bei Wien) studied at the Technical University in Dresden from 1890 to 1893, followed by three years of travel, mainly in the US, where he made his way first as an unskilled laborer and music critic, and finally as a furniture designer and architect. Following his return to Vienna in 1896, he began working as an architect and journalist. He emerged as a determined critic of the new movements in applied arts of the early twentieth century (Jugendstil, Wiener Secession, Wiener Werkstätte) and their aim of introducing art into everyday life through artisanal craftsmanship.