Vienna Modernism and its Relations to Czech Modern Architecture

In Vienna, after 1900, Jewish students did not attend Otto Wagner's class at the Academy of Fine Arts which was considered anti-semitic. An alternative was the class of Friedrich Ohmann. Generally, however, they preferred the Technical College and its director Carl König. Some of König's students, rejecting the Wagner school and the aestheticism of the Wiener Werkstätte, developed a specific "Vienna School" mainly in housing. Its dominant figures Oskar Strnad, Josef Frank, and Oskar Wlach, were all sons of parents who had immigrated to Vienna from the crown lands. Soon they were surrounded by a circle of like-minded fellow students like Walter Sobotka, Ernst Lichtblau, Josef Berger, Rudolf Lorenz, Hugo Gorge, Arnold Karplus and Helene Roth, almost all of them either born in the crown lands or belonging to the first Vienna-born generation of families that had immigrated to Vienna from Bohemia, Moravia, or Slovakia. Also most students and collaborators of Adolf Loos were from Bohemia or Moravia, e. g. Heinrich Kulka, Jacques Groag (who, via the Šlapeta brothers, also brought influences of Hans Scharoun and Silesian moderism to the Vienna School), Paul Engelmann, Rudolf Wels, Friedrich Ehrmann, Karel Lhota, Kurt Unger, Erich Ziffer and Ernst Wiesner, most of them working both in Vienna and Czechoslovakia. 

Moravian Jewish and Non-Jewish German architects were far more influenced by the Vienna School's sceptical moderism than their Czech-speaking colleagues whose classical functionalism was part of the aestetic self-definition of the Czechoslovak state. Whereas in Czechoslovakia, the works of German-speaking modern architects who did not follow classical functionalism, such as Kurt Spielmann und Hans Vöth, were not published, they were featured in magazines by the architecture critic Max Eisler from Boskovice, one of the most indefatigable proponents of Vienna modernism.


Dr. Iris Meder 

Born 1965 in Pforzheim, Federal Republic of Germany. Studied Art History and Literature in Stuttgart and Vienna. PhD thesis about the students and followers of Josef Frank and Adolf Loos. Works as a curator and researcher in Vienna. Numerous lectures, exhibitions and publications on Central European Modern and contemporary Architecture. Member of the Board of the Austrian Society for Architecture (OEGFA). 2008 to 2014 research projects on Women in Landscape Architecture in Austria and the States of the Danube Monarchy at the Institute of Landscape Architecture, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.


Recent publications (selection)

  • Mährische und schlesische Textilindustrielle als Bauherren der Moderne, in: Conference Proceedings "Das Paradigma der Innovation", Wspólne Dziedzictwo, Katowice 2011, 2013
  • Vienna's Shooting Girls – Jewish Women Photographers from Vienna (ed., with Andrea Winklbauer), Jewish Museum Vienna 2012
  • "Natur und Architektur werden hier ineinandergeschoben" – Haus und Garten in der Werkbundsiedlung, in: Ein Manifest des Neuen Wohnens. Werkbundsiedlung Wien 1932, Wien Museum 2012
  • Josef Frank. Schriften/Writings. Veröffentlichte Schriften in zwei Bänden / Published Writings in Two Volumes (ed., with Christopher Long and Tano Bojankin), Vienna 2012
  • Weekendhaus-Kolonien rund um Wien. in: Conference Proceedings "Flucht aus der Stadt", series Wspólne Dziedzictwo, Sczczecin 2009 (Warsaw 2011) 
  • Dům Paula a Marietty Himmelreichových. K brněnským stopám Loosových žáků. in: Jinfřich Chatrný, Dagmar Černoušková (eds.), Adolf Loos a Brno, Brno 2010
  • (re)designing nature (ed., with Florian Matzner and Susanne Witzgall), Ostfildern 2010
  • Lebens- und Arbeitsbedingungen jüdischer Architekten in Österreich. in: Antje Senarclens de Grancy, Heidrun Zettelbauer (eds.), Architektur. Vergessen. Jüdische Architekten in Graz, Graz 2010
  • "In der Kärntnerbar, in Cabarets und Nachtlokalen". Loos, Strnad, Frank, Hoffmann und ihre Schüler. in: "Leben mit Loos", Conference Proceedings, Vienna 2006, 2008
  • Lilly Steiner und der Loos-Kreis in Paris, in: Moderne auf der Flucht / Les modernes s'enfuient, S. 112ff., Jewish Museum Vienna 2008
  • Josef Frank 1885–1967 – Eine Moderne der Unordnung (ed.), Salzburg 2008
  • Oskar Strnad 1879–1935 (ed.), Jewish Museum Vienna 2007


The lecture will be held on Wednesday 14th October 2014 at 6.30 p.m. (a tour of the villa is not included in the lecture).
The lecture will be in English and will not be interpreted.

Entrance fee is CZK 100,-; students and senior citizens CZK 50,-.

An advance booking is required for the lecture, by telephone at +420 515 511 015 / 017
or e-mail: (limited capacity of 70 people).

A poster for the lecture can be downloaded here.