Rufer House
Schliessmanngasse 11

Adolf Loos 1922

This dwelling was built for Joseph and Marie Rufer. It is considered by critics as the first built house that portrays in its totality Loos' concept of Raumplan regarding the interior spatial organization of the building. 

The house has the shape of a cube with the external walls serving as a structural shell. These four bearing walls contain the house within a small area (just 10x10 meters). At the center of the volume, a column articulates the spaces under the Raumplan logic and also conceals the plumbing for the water and heating. The Raumplan also affects the exterior since the elevations are in part a reflection of the interior organization; however, in order to achieve a balanced composition Loos also gave attention to the resulting contrast between the naked white walls and the dark patches of the windows. 

Although it can be said that the surfaces of the house are completely bare, with even the window frames stripped of any superfluous parts, there are three other elements of the façade that remain intriguing. Loos included in the elevations a squashed frieze and a cornice to top the cubic volume. The cornice projects out from the façade and slightly covers the view of the frieze, which apart from having an extremely elongated proportion and being almost imperceptible as an element in the façade remains completely blank. The third element is a complement to the previous two, a rectangular molding depicting a Parthenon frieze and positioned low on the street front. It is a piece that completes the balance of the elevations but it is also an ornament, a fragment of classical work. Some critics have stated that this frieze not only balances the formal composition between voids and surface but also balances the purist abstraction of the cube with the figurative. In a way it also places the house and its ideals into the wider picture of the history of western architecture and argues in favor of a classical image of Loos instead of the architect as a radical functionalist. This seemingly straightforward house remains rich in subtle complexities that still challenge our understanding of space.

How to visit By public transport: . When you get there using a map of the city should be enough to get to the building. Access: This is a private house and is not open to the public

Ludwig Abache 2002


How to visit

By public transport: Use the underground - the house is in walking distance from two stations of the U4 line (green). Use the Braunschweigasse station if you are coming from the center of town or Unter Sankt Veit if arriving from the western districts. 

Please note that this is a private house and is not open to the public.


Books and other web sites

Click the book titles to view and to order direct from


Adolf Loos: Architecture 1903-1932
Roberto Schezen and others

Includes very good photographs of the interiors of the houses.

The city of Vienna's website is a useful resource to find your way around. Also use the Vienna address finder at 

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