Great architecture does not require monumental buildings, as the MAK’s Loos exhibition demonstrates with its focus on the architect’s residential designs.
- Covers private homes and housing, both real and planned
- Draws on items from the Albertina Museum’s extensive Loos archive
- Runs Dec 8, 2020 – Mar 14, 2021
- See also: MAK visitor & tickets info
Adolf Loos: private houses
(Adolf Loos and Heinrich Kulka, Duplex in the Werkbundsiedlung, Vienna’s 13th district, Woinovichgasse 13, 15, 17, 19, 1930–1932; Model: Prof. Hans Puchhammer, TU Wien; © ALBERTINA, Vienna)
Despite centuries of history, one short time period seems to feature remarkably often in Vienna’s museum exhibitions. We can point the finger of responsibility firmly at the artists and designers behind that remarkable period of change, creativity and cultural contention that characterised the city in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
One such name was that pioneer of architectural modernism, Adolf Loos (1870-1933). He lifted a metaphorical middle finger in the direction of much that went before him (see, for example, the reaction to the Loos House on Michaelerplatz square).
The objects of Loos’s ire included the historical styles found during the great period of late 19th century construction that saw the Ringstraße blossom, but also more “modern” movements such as Art Nouveau.
A man with a seeming dislike of ornamentation, then, whose revolutionary and utilitarian approaches helped drive 20th century building design.
Private housing played a major role in Loos’s working life and this aspect of the architect’s oeuvre dominates the MAK’s new Loos exhibition, which marks the 150th anniversary of his birth.
The exhibition draws on the extensive archives of Vienna’s Albertina Museum, presenting dozens of sketches, plans, photographs, and models that cover a variety of housing solutions, though with common threads related to the architect’s particular approach. For example, flat roofs and large terraces or rooms whose height and size match their use.
The buildings covered range from social housing projects to private homes for writers and artists.
Loos contributed to the plans for the Otto-Hass-Hof municipal housing in Vienna’s 20th district, for example. And designed four houses for the city’s Werkbundsiedlung, a model housing project and quasi living documentation of Viennese modernism.
At the other end of the wealth spectrum we have, for example, Haus Moller in the 18th district, designed by Loos for the textile manufacturer, Hans Moller. Or the Tzara House in Paris, designed in a delicious meeting of apparent opposites for Tristan Tzara, cofounder of the avant garde Dadaism art movement.
As a little unique bonus, the exhibition also includes Loos’s 1933 death mask next to a replica of his 1911 bust (the first time the two have appeared together).
Dates and tickets
Explore Loos and his private home designs from December 8th, 2020 to March 14th, 2021.
A normal museum entrance ticket for the MAK gets you into the exhibition, too. Or use a sightseeing pass for one-time entry.
Be sure to visit the permanent Vienna 1900 exhibition in the MAK, too, which also includes various items related to Loos.
How to get to the Loos exhibition
Just follow the suggestions at the bottom of the main MAK museum article.
Address: Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna