Architecture - Mullers Villa
Müllerova vila (Müller's
of the international architectural avant-garde
Completed in the same year
as Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in Paris and Mies van der
Rohe’s Villa Tugendhat in Brno, the Villa Müller is Loos’s
defining modern house in an era when rich, progressive
industrialists were the source of modernist commissions. In
Loos’s case the client owned a building company pioneering
the use of reinforced concrete, so the house was a
particularly relevant showcase.
While Frank Lloyd Wright was perfecting the seamlessness of
the transition from inside to outside, Loos was deliberately
keeping the public outside and the private inside of his
houses as separate as possible. "The building should be dumb
outside and only reveal wealth inside." Outside, the Villa
Müller is distinguished by its cubic shape, with flat roof
and terraces, its irregular windows and its clean, white
Inside, the Villa Müller is at once more traditional and
more original. The materials are warm, rich and comforting,
and the furniture a deliberately eclectic mix of traditional
styles. The client is not required to conform to some all-consuming
modern lifestyle. On the other hand the spatial planning of
the building is where Loos was most innovative.
The Villa Müller is, in Loos's own view, his best
application of his spatial planning or "Raumplan":
"My architecture is not conceived by drawings, but by spaces.
I do not draw plans, facades or sections... For me, the
ground floor, first floor do not exist... There are only
interconnected continual spaces, rooms, halls, terraces...
Each space needs a different height... These spaces are
connected so that ascent and descent are not only
unnoticeable, but at the same time functional."
This spatial design, finished with luxurious and vibrant
marbles, woods and silks, “combined innovative architectural
design with the cultural conception that the upper middle
class had of itself” (August Sarnitz).
Loos uses the different levels of the Raumplan to create a
careful “architectural promenade” from outside to inside.
The first entrance way is low, with strong but dark colors
such as deep green/blue tiles. This opens onto a cloakroom
area that is generous in plan, brighter with white walls and
a big window, but still low. At the far end a short, modest
staircase takes the visitor round a right-angle bend,
emerging dramatically between marble pillars into the
double-height, open-plan sitting room.
The promenade continues past the raised dining room to the
upper floors of the house, the Raumplan providing unusual
and exciting views into adjacent rooms. On the top level is
a roof terrace, with a “window” in the freestanding end wall
to frame the view of Prague cathedral.