Adolf Loos and Auguste Perret were born only a few years apart——Loos in 1870, Perret in 1874. Both men were the sons of stonemasons, and both belonged to the generation of European architects that emerged around the turn of the century, entering into the profession without having completed their formal university education. Both also relied on new structural technologies——in particular, the concrete frame——in the realization of their key buildings. And both retained a fealty to classicism, an ideological position that, in the years after World War I, would distance them from the discourses then shaping modern architecture.

It is tempting to suggest that Perret was the Parisian Loos——or that Loos was the Viennese Perret——but, in fact, the comparison masks salient and important differences——differences that reach into the core of what each architect believed about the meanings and methods of building. Despite...

You do not currently have access to this content.