Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Adolf Loos and His House for Josephine Baker

This tiny maquette of the never-realized house that Adolf Loos designed for Josephine Baker in 1928 sits on a bookshelf at My Ranchburger. It was to have been built in Paris on a corner of Avenue Bugeaud in the 16th arrondissement.

The facade was to have been covered in black and white marble.

The original maquette, along with a number of drawings, is in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. This above maquette: Model design: Paul Groenendijk and Piet Vollaard. Scale: 1:100; copyright, Elsie Altmann-Loos.

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I constructed my little model from the pages of this book, Adolf Loos: Huis voor/house for/maison pour/Haus für Josephine Baker by Paul Groenendijk and Piet Vollaard. The publication was found at the Bookstore & Gift Shop, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston some years ago.

Josephine Baker has inspired generations with her great intelligence, talents and charm. Looking at this maquette of a house she inspired, makes me smile, as I imagine her living there, swimming in the indoor pool, dancing across marble floors in her banana skirt, or walking her pet leopard around the neighborhood.


  1. I love this, Annie. I always learn from you.Thanks for such an interestng post.

  2. What a little treasure for you to have. I too love Josephine Baker. In fact, my little Evangeline was thiiis close to being my little Josephine.

  3. Hello! Thanks so much for posting this. I always wondered what the paper model looked like. I used this book to analyze this building for a semester at Cooper Union. The pages for the model were ripped out as the book was from the library. Its so interesting to see that the back of the house may have been black marble! Here is a link to my semester project with a partner at Cooper. Hope you enjoy!

  4. Hello Emily,
    I took a look at your analysis. What beautiful work you did on that project!

    Do you know about the 1980's Guy Hermans Loos-inspired house in Antwerp? Its facade is stripped in the black and white of Loos's project and it is a five-story building with portholes. I have an old magazine clipping of this Antwerp building, written by Hugh Aldersey-Williams and photos by Antoine Bootz.

    Thanks for sharing your project.


  5. Hello Annie,

    this is Ben from THe Netherlands. I want to let you know there is a fantastic book called "raumplan versus plan libre" wich polarises the theorie of Loos and Le Corbusier, also published by 010. The house for Josephine Baker is also mentioned in it, contributed by Beatriz Colomina. I love the theory of Loos and I'm investigating it for my architecture graduation.



  6. Hello Ben,

    Thanks for stopping by this blog!

    I have a friend living in The Netherlands, who is designing the electronics for a new LED lamp or light bulb which should be available next year. It is far brighter than current LEDs and will not have mercury waste or UV emissions of the fluorescent lighting, which I hate, as I have photosensitivity and cannot work under fluorescent light without getting quite ill. I say this, because designers need to know that there are thousands of people in the world with photosensitivity.

    Thanks for the information about the new book. I can't wait to see it. Le Corbusier is one of my favorites. I make frequent visits to his his Villa La Roche and Villa Savoye and have several licensed reproductions of his furniture in My Ranchburger.


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