Steiner House (1910)

The Steiner House was designed by Adolf Loos in 1910 for the painter Lilly Steiner and her husband Hugo. It clearly shows the main principle of Loos: design must be determined by function.

Steiner House, front-view

Image source: http://www.galinsky.com

About Steiner House 

The Steiner house is a highly influential example of modern architecture. It became an obligatory reference for architects during the 1920s and 30s. Almost all of the literature of the Modern Movement has reproduced the garden façade as an indisputable example of radical rationalist modern architecture.


Steiner House, back-view

Image source: http://cargocollective.com

The stripped façade was rapidly assimilated into the formal purism of the 1920s and was the major reason for the success of the building. In this respect it is interesting to note the comments of the writer Panayotis Tournikiotis who states that: “This house renews classical tradition, is not a desire to negate history.” For Loos the exterior was the public side of the house; that is the reason for the bare wall surfaces. The interior was the private side and reflected the owner’s personal taste. As some critics have stated, the house reflects a “classicism married to Anglo-Saxon domesticity in a search for spatial continuity“.

Steiner House’s front view, 3D model.
Steiner House’s back view, 3D model.

Image source: https://www.archweb.it

Loos’ design

The Steiner House demonstrates Loos’ ability to work with complex architectural objects, as it is necessary to take into account the limitations of form and planning norms. At the time, only one floor above street level was allowed. Loos’s solution was an arched tin roof with two additional floors, which give the structure a somewhat austere and futuristic look. This house is the embodiment of the ideas of Ornament and Crime, written in 1908, in which it rejects the flourishing style of the Vienna Secession, the Austrian version of Art Nouveau. The house reflects the architectural principles of Loos, a design that excludes all the tools of art to emphasize functionality. The front garden is an undeniable space of radical rationalism in modern architecture.

Image source: https://designapothecary.wordpress.com

Concept

Each volume has the size according to its own role. All the internal spaces were under a single roof plane. Carried out in this way a remarkable spatial economy. Symmetry, the total lack of ornamentation defined the building. An architecture based on the economy and the rigour of the function.

Stainer House’s original illustration.

Image source: http://www.archidiap.com

The house is finished with cement and wood to be adapted to the climatic conditions of Central Europe. The roof is clad in sheet metal, the walls are made of concrete and bricks.  The main façade is adapted to the standards and covered with semiarch.

Image source: http://cargocollective.com

Spaces

The architect planned the building between the street and the garden. The combination of interior spaces is based on matching large and small spaces while maintaining a single roof. The side walls are different rooms with different heights. However, the rear façade is built in a symmetrical classical manner and is topped with a semicircular roof covered with metal. Thus, Loos solved the problem of transition between the front garden and the hills.

Steiner House’s interior

Image source: http://edificioslhd.blogspot.com

On the rear façade windows are irregularly arranged. Their sizes and heights differ depending on the interior to which they belong. This is a reflection of the “ramplan” principle, Loos’s concept applied in many of his works. This principle implies an intuitive understanding of space as a consequence of free composition of volumes and plans. Clutch of different heights can be seen at the front through asymmetrical holes.

Steiner House’s interior

Images source: https://zedprogetti.it

Location

It is located in St. Veit-Gasse 10 St, Vienna, Austria.

Image source: https://it.wikipedia.org

Info sources:

http://www.galinsky.com/buildings/steiner/index.htm

http://cargocollective.com/adolfloos/Steiner-House

https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/building/steiner-house/

http://architectuul.com/architecture/steiner-house

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