Adolf Loos was born in 1870 in Brno into a family of a stone mason. His future career direction was significantly marked not only by his experience from his father´s workshop but also by his not finished studies of architecture. Nevertheless, the biggest school of life for Adolf Loos was his three-year stay in the USA (1893–1896). He worked for example as a brick layer, a dish washer but also as a drawer for building companies, a parquet layer, a saw operator and a delivery boy of newspaper. His stay in the USA as well as his visit to the World Exhibition in Chicago formed his attitude to architecture. After returning to Vienna he made many friends among the most significant people of the artistic world, as examples we can name composers Arnold Schönberg and Gustav Mahler, painter Oscar Kokoschka, poet and writer Peter Altenberg or journalist Karl Kraus. Adolf Loos established his own architectonic atelier in Vienna and started his regular publishing activities of his work. The theses expressed mostly his critical attitude towards the ever-present decorations and everything that blocked functional use of the art not only in architecture itself but also within the applied art.
The first important architectonic piece of work was realized by Adolf Loos in 1899. It was the Café Museum in Vienna which was, because of its too austere appearance, often called Café Nihilisms. The master piece of his first creative artistic period, which means the period before the World War I, was the design of the Goldman & Salatsch shopping house on the Michael´s Square in Vienna (1910). This house was known under the name “The House without Eyebrows”. Moreover, Adolf Loos created several more family houses in Vienna and during his stay in Paris the house for a famous poet Tristan Tzara. In Czechoslovakia he designed family houses in Brno, the Winternitz´s Villa and the Müller´s Villa in Prague where he used the principle of so called “Raumplan” – the concept of Adolf Loos which is typical by structuring of individual rooms within a given space but not into the individual floors.
An individual chapter of Loos´creative life became his stay in Pilsen. He stayed here in two periods (1907 – 1910, 1927 – 1932) and created a number of interesting apartment installations. Also, his work influenced many of his followers. During his second stay in Pilsen he met Klara Beckova whose father was an influential investor Otto Beck and later on she became his third wife. In 1933 Adolf Loos dies in Kalksburg by Vienna in a sanatorium.
At the end of the first decade of the 20th century Pilsen was a significant industrial centre of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The factories owned by Emil Skoda ranked among the most important companies of the whole monarchy and during the second half of 1920s they became an industrial giant at the European level. Pilsen was dynamically developing and new workshops, factories and industrial companies were created, many of them exported their goods abroad. The family of Richard Hirsch was one of the wealthy industrial families and in 1906 he bought a two-storey house in one of the developing prestigious parts of the city in Southern Suburb for his son Vilem Hirsch and his wife Marta.
In 1907 the newly married couple Vilem and Marta Hirsch met a famous journalist Karel Kraus, a close friend of Adolf Loos. They decided to ask Adolf Loos to design the interior of their new apartment in Placheho Street. Vilem Hirsch later remembered that Adolf Loos created the first proposal of the design quickly on an envelope.
Thanks to the Hirsch family Adolf Loos came to Pilsen and this fact played a major role in his life even in the future. Loos met many of the rich Jewish families here who were mutually connected by work and family relationships. For them he created at least 13 interior realizations. From this total number of installations eight were preserved until recently, two of them were realized according to the Loos´ concept by his followers. Most of the interiors can be found in Pilsen directly in the Klatovska Street or in its close surroundings.
There must be a surprise.
I should enter a fully-lightened
and furnished room
and be forced to say
Adolf Loos and his creations in Pilsen were up to now unknown even to the public interested in culture. The original owners of the Jewish descend were forced to leave their apartments when the Nazism started to rise in the 1930s and many of them died in concentration camps during the war. Their homes were confiscated by the occupants and in 1945 they were taken by the communist regime. The apartments were turned into offices or divided into smaller flats, precious interiors were damaged or completely destroyed. The original owners (with one exception) never returned to their homes and therefore the memory of Adolf Loos and his creations slowly got lost. Only several professionals of the architectonic branch knew about the existence of the Loos Interiors in Pilsen and they tried to remind the public about them since the 1960s. The first steps to save the legacy of Adolf Loos in Pilsen were made by the City of Pilsen in 2004 when a salon and a dining room in the apartment in 12 Klatovska Street were partly reconstructed. The complete renovation was finished in 2014; the interior in 10 Bendova Street was reconstructed the same year. The City of Pilsen financially supported the reconstruction of the interiors in the Brummel House in 58 Husova Street. These three interiors form the basis of the guided tours opened for public which are under the authority of the allowance organisation Pilsen-TOURISM. Furthermore, gradual reconstruction is being performed in the Semler House in 110 Klatovska Street which is run by the Gallery of West Bohemia in Pilsen. When the first part of the reconstruction was finished in November 2015, the object became third guided tour of the Loos Interiors in Pilsen.
I force the owners
to use the whole apartment