Looshaus, Michaelerplatz, Vienna
4 images Created 18 Dec 2011
In 1911 Adolf Loos, one of the founding fathers of 20th-century modern architecture, built the Looshaus on imposing Michaelerplatz, facing the Imperial Palace entrance. It was considered nothing less than an architectural declaration of war. After 200 years of Baroque and neo-Baroque exuberance, the first generation of 20th-century architects had had enough. Loos led the revolt against architectural tradition; Ornament and Crime was the title of his famous manifesto, in which he inveighed against the conventional architectural wisdom of the 19th century. Instead, he advocated buildings that were plain, honest, and functional. When he built the Looshaus for Goldman and Salatsch (men's clothiers) in 1911, the city was scandalized. Emperor Franz Josef, who lived across the road, was so offended that he ordered the curtains of his windows to remain permanently shut. Today the Looshaus has lost its power to shock, and the facade seems quite innocuous. The interior remains a breathtaking surprise; the building now houses a bank, and you can go inside to see the stylish chambers and staircase. To really get up close and personal with Loos, head to the splendor of his Loos American Bar, about six blocks east at No. 10 Kärntnerdurchgang.