Modernist architectural conception has a century-long history. Part of the early development of this stylistic movement can be traced to Vienna, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Here, modernist discourse in the art and architecture arose following theoretical underpinning from German architect-writers such as Gottfried Semper (1803-1879). Many stimulating exhibitions had been held on the theme of Vienna 1900, and parallel development in architecture radiating out to other cities of the large empire was equally exciting. In 1896, Otto Wagner (1841–1918) published “Moderne Architektur” both as a cornerstone for his newly appointed professorship in architecture at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien and as a manifesto for a new approach to architecture. The completion of the Vienna Secession building by Joseph Maria Olbrich signified the departure from the classical tradition in architecture. Interest at the time was on the nature of architecture, ornaments, construction, new materials, and the spirit of the age.
Presented in conjunction with the Museum Society’s upcoming cultural trip “Eccentric Ebullience: Architecture and Nature in Austria and Slovenia” with Professor Puay-peng Ho, this lecture will follow the development of the architectural style of the time by looking at the works of Wagner, Aldof Loos (1870–1933), Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956), and, last but not least, Jože Plečnik (1872–1957).
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.