Adolf Loos' Michaelerplatz Essay by Quality Writers

Adolf Loos' Michaelerplatz
This paper discuses Adolf Loos' building in Vienna called Michaelerplatz and why it was one of the most controversial constructions of its time..
# 100649 | 2,345 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Jan 17, 2008 in Architecture (Buildings) , Architecture (European) , Architecture (Theory) , Architecture (History)

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This paper explains that Adolf Loos' Michaelerplatz building in Vienna, completed in 1911, was one of the most controversial constructions of its time. The author points out that its distinctiveness is rooted in how the building reflects the fundamental dispute between its designer Loos and the prevailing economic, social and cultural powers of his time concerning the role of ornamentation in architecture. The paper reports that Loos argued that ornamentation was wasteful of wealth and labor, thus contested the sizable industries in Vienna that were dependent upon the continual renewal of the city's ersatz Baroque palaces for their livelihood. The author concludes that Loos' Michaelerplatz pointed the way towards the modernist preoccupation with functional over formal qualities that would ultimately come to shape the architecture of the twentieth century. The paper includes many quotations.

Table of Contents:
The Problem of Ornamentation
Loos' Michaelerplatz and Its Controversies

From the Paper:

"Without the ornamentation of the window baskets, we can see that the facade of the top floors of the Michaelerplatz is remarkable for its sheer white surface. The windows are square incisions in the facade without decorative designs whatsoever. Indeed, the only things that may be considered at all "ornamental" in regard to the Michaelerplatz are the marble walls along the facade of the lower floors of the building. This marble differentiates the lower floors from the upper ones, and may be seen by some as a violation of Loos' views on ornamentation. This would be a mistake, however, for these walls are fully in keeping with Loos' overall theories on architecture and architectural materials.

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cernuschi, Claude. "Body and Soul," Art History. 23 (2000): 56-87.
  • Loos, Adolf. "Ornamentation and Crime," In Programmes and Manifestoes on 20th Century Architecture. London: Humphries, 1964: 18-25.
  • Loos, Adolf. "The Potemkin City." In On Architecture. Trans. Michael Mitchell. Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, 2002: 26-30.
  • Loos, Adolf. "The Principle of Cladding." In On Architecture. Trans. Michael Mitchell. Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, 2002: 42-46.
  • Schwartz, Frederic. "Ornament and Spirit, Ornament and Class." Harvard Design Magazine. Summer 2000: 76-84.

Cite this Essay:

APA Format

Adolf Loos' Michaelerplatz (2008, January 17) Retrieved August 13, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Adolf Loos' Michaelerplatz" 17 January 2008. Web. 13 August. 2022. <>