Adolf Loos was born in Brünn (Brno), now in the Czech Republic but then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on December 10, 1870, the son of a stone mason and sculptor. From 1890-1893 Loos studied at the Technical University of Dresden, followed by three years in the United States.

In 1896 Loos returned to Vienna and devoted himself to architecture. In 1898 he was associated briefly with the Vienna Secession. After serving in the First World War, Loos worked as chief architect of the Department of Housing of Vienna in the newly established Austrian Republic. He resigned, disillusioned, in 1922 and emigrated to France. Between 1922 and 1927 Loos lived mostly in Paris and the French Riviera; he returned to Austria in 1928 and lived there intermittently until his death on August 23, 1933.


Loos's interior designs, in which he used fine materials with polished surfaces uninterrupted by moldings, proved a potent inspiration to the architects of the next generation. In his free-standing houses Loos introduced the compact, block-like mass, although he did not subject it to the geometric rigor characteristic of the work of the Internationalists.


But it was in the design of interiors that Loos revealed himself as a first-class architect; the dignity and coziness of his interiors and their deliberate suitability to modern living conditions have rarely been surpassed. In these Loos focused the emphasis on precious materials and the creation of flowing spaces—very similar to those of Frank Lloyd Wright—and also the notion of Raumplan—that is, architectural composition with volumes of space as opposed to two-dimensional planning.