Scheu House
Larochegasse 3 

Adolf Loos 1912

The Scheu house was built for Gustav and Helen Scheu. Mr. Scheu was a lawyer and Viennese intellectual aligned with the Garden City Movement. He was also very aware about the significance of having Loos design his new house and it was most likely his progressive sensibilities and his unconditional support to the project which saw it come to a successful conclusion.

The house which was to be located in the Hietzing area, met resistance from the building authorities from the planning stage. The suburb of Hietzing is a wealthy neighborhood where most of the houses are symmetrical and of neo-classical style. The residents of the suburb were shocked by the new aesthetics that the house would bring into their area and saw the house as a disgrace and an insult to common sense. Loos remained firm behind his rational decisions; the only concession that he made was to plant ivy on the garden façade to make it less severe. The planning authority asked Loos to draft proposals for the lot next door, showing how the house could fit with the surroundings; that plan was never built, but the Scheu house was.

The Scheu house is definitely alien to its surroundings, and has a striking form. The house is an asymmetrical stepped volume. The building contains two dwellings, the main house and a renting apartment located on the highest module. The door at the right side of the building, which looks like the main access, is actually the private door to the small apartment. The main entrance of the house is on the left side. Because of  the stepped form, each of the east-facing bedrooms gains a generous balcony in front. The terraces recede four meters, and the building is 16 meters long in total, with all the different size windows based on the combination of a single module.

This building is probably the first in which a flat roof was used as an outdoor terrace. What is certain is that these terraces played an important role in the development of 20th century architecture in a time where the use of flat roofs was subject to a great deal of controversy.

The interiors are Richardsonian, with the walls covered in dark oak in the social areas and wood painted white in the bedrooms. This distinction of the spaces between public or private interiors reflects the notion of spatial domesticity that Loos had developed.

Joseph Rosa, in Adolf Loos Architecture 1903-1932 (The Monacelli Press, NY 1996), suggests a connection between Rudolph Schindler's house of 1922 and the terraces of the Scheu house. Schindler was a student of Loos before immigrating to the USA, and his own house incorporates terraces as sleeping porches. 

Ludwig Abache 2002


How to visit

By public transport: Use the underground line U4 (green) and change at Hietzing to the tram #60. Get off at Gloriettegasse. The house is about two blocks away to the west. The Strasser house is within walking distance of this building. 

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


Books and other web sites

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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