Keywords Change this

Early Modernism

Project timeline

1909 – 1912



Location Change this

Herrengasse 2
1010 Vienna

Current state


Also known as Change this

Goldman&Salatsch Building

Architect Change this

Partners Change this

General contractor

Loos Haus, Vienna Change this

Vienna, Austria
by Adolf Loos Change this
1 of 3

Description Change this

The Looshaus in Vienna (also known as the Goldman & Salatsch Building) is regarded as one of the most important structures built in the "Wiener Moderne". The building marks the rejection of historicism, as well as the ornaments used by the Wiener Secession. its appearance shocked Vienna's citizens, since their overall taste was still very much historically oriented. Because of the lack of ornaments on the façade, people called it the 'house without eyebrows'.


In 1909, the owners of Goldman & Salatsch, Leopold Goldman and Emanuel Aufricht, arranged an architecture competition, but broke it off to award the commission to Adolf Loos who refused to take part in it. A heated debate delayed the completion of the building. The simple facade led to attacks against Loos. He had to give in and promised to decorate several facade windows with flower pots. The building was completed in 2012.


Despite its aesthetic functionalism, the building is not a simple functional buildings - especially in the materials. There is a sharp contrast between the marble-lined facade used at the ground floor (Cipollino of Evia and Skyros marble) and the plain plaster facade of the residential floors above.

The Tuscan columns on the street level - intended as an allusion to the portico of St. Michael's Church. Instead of ornaments, there are flower boxes in front of the windows of the upper floors - according to a legend, the shape of these boxes are memories of the archduke's hat and allusion to the Imperial Palace.


After its completion, the house met with considerable controversy in the town still dominated by historicist flavor. It was called by the Viennese house without eyebrows, since the usual time window roofing were missing entirely. People said that Emperor Franz Joseph had not only avoided the house the rest of his life, he even did not use the exit to Michael's square, and also hided the windows of the Imperial Palace not to see the "ugly" house.

Design Zone Looshaus

Since 2002, a cultural organisation moved into the basement of the building, the "Design Zone Loos Haus" by Paolo Piva. Here international exhibitions and events are held to raise awareness of the importance of Austrian design as a stimulus for the economy.



Posted by archibald | Friday, February 25th, 2011 | 16:49pm
Thank you for this clarification. This is very much appreciated.
Posted by Guest | Friday, February 25th, 2011 | 10:17am
I lived in the Loos Haus for several years in the '50, when it was still mostly an apartment building (it's all offices now).

The building's address (and entrance) is Herrengasse 2; the address shown under the Google map is only that of the store opening on the Michaelerplatz, a perfectly round "square" (which is now a pedestrian zone). Across the Michaelerplatz, the building faces the main entrance to the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) - hence the sensitivity of the Imperial family to have this "atrocity" built right in front of "their home".

Note in the picture above the discrepancy between the top four floors of the building and its bottom - as if two separate buildings had been stacked one on top of the other! True to the tenets of his famous essay "Ornament and Crime", Loos's original plan was to have the entire structure, like its top floors, built without any surface ornamentation. But ardent criticism of the plan, especially that of the Emperor (Franz Joseph I) and the rest of the Habsburg family, forced Loos to change his plans, and make the first floor more acceptable to Imperial and public tastes by changing the exterior of the first floor (adding green marble to its surface), and adding the four monumental columns to the front of the building.

Still, the Loos Haus is considered by most architectural historians as the first "modern" building anywhere ...

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