The early 20th century was an exciting time for the development of art in Europe; the freedom and optimism allowed the artist to seek inspiration elsewhere and expression in non-classical forms. The high spirited epoch gave rise to an explosion of ideas in fine art, literature, music, product design and architecture. In all cases, ideas interflowed between these domains and the circle of creative minds influenced each other, with the result that similar messages were manifested in art and architecture alike.
The tour will focus on the art and architecture of Vienna, Graz and Ljubljana between 1897 – when Vienna Secession was formed – and 1940, at the beginning of World War II. We will trace the development of architectural styles through the works of Otto Wagner (1841–1918), Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867–1908), Adolf Loos (1870–1933) Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956), and Jože Plečnik (1872–1957). The distinguished volumetric form, elegant geometric lines, ebullient flowing space, sinuous natural motifs, riotous colours, and eccentric representations of their architecture made a concise journey through the major architectural movements of the early 20th century – beginning with stripped down Classicism, through Historicism, Art Nouveau or Jugendstil, early modernism, and eccentric post-modernism. In particular, the idea that architectural environment is a totality, Gesamtkunstwerk, resulted in the formation of communities of artists, designers and architects, such as the Secession and Wiener Werkstätte, for designing buildings, furniture, furnishings, silver, metal works and utensils as a holistic environment. As the highlight, we will trace the architectural expression of Jože Plečnik from Vienna to Ljubljana to explore this unusual creative mind in expressionism, culminating in the design for Žale, the city cemetery with individual buildings and chapels as representations of different architectural styles.
Professor Puay-peng Ho is Professor and Director of the School of Architecture, and Director of Centre for Architectural Heritage Research at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received his First Class Honours degree in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D in Art History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Professor Ho is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Society of Architectural Historians. Currently, he serves on the Town Planning Board, Antiquities Advisory Board and History Museum
Advisory Panel, and is Chairman of the Council of Lord Wilson Heritage Trust. His research interests and publications are in the areas of Chinese art and architectural history, vernacular architecture, and architectural theory. He is also involved in many architecture conservation projects in Hong Kong..