Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In addition to his built projects, Loos is noted for his essay / manifesto "Ornament and Crime" written in 1908. In this he expressed the idea that the progress of culture is associated with the elimination of ornament from useful objects, and that it was a crime to have craftsmen waste their time on ornamentation that served to hasten the time when an object was obsolete. Accordingly, the most primitive societies use a lot of decoration and the most advanced societies have no superfluous ornament, or at least there is benefit in suppressing ornamentation which serves no useful purpose. In the same essay Loos asserted that "All art is erotic," and that a European man who tattoos himself is either a criminal or a degenerate; if a tattooed man dies out of prison, Loos reasoned, it's only because he didn't live long enough to commit his inevitable murder.
This essay is a repudiation of the work of the Vienna Secession, the Austrian version of Art Nouveau. Loos' provocative catch-phrase was taken up by the Modern Movement in architecture, the other famous catch-phrase of which is "form follows function". Ironically, in the years between 1893 and 1896 Loos lived and worked in America, at one point holding a position in the office of Louis Sullivan (according to Robert Hughes's "Shock of the New").
Loos is also known for his notorious entry to the 1922 Chicago Tribune competition, which took the form of a single colossal Doric column.
Important works include:
- Steiner House, Vienna, Austria, 1910
- Rufer House, Vienna, Austria, 1922
- a house and studio for Dadaist Tristan Tzara in the Montmarte section of Paris, France, 1926
- Khuner Villa, Kreuzberg , Austria, 1930
- Villa Müller, Prague, Czech Republic, 1930
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