Leopold Bauer

Architect

Architect and designer Leopold Bauer (1872–1938) was an important figure in Viennese and Austro-Hungarian provincial architecture in the early part of the 20th century. His design for the 1901 House for an Art Lover competition was awarded one of three third prizes and, in addition to those of Mackintosh and Baillie Scott, was selected for publication. In 1905 he, like Mackintosh, was invited to participate in the exhibition of modern furniture in Berlin organised by Alfred Grenander.

Bauer was born in Jägerndorf, Austrian Silesia (now Krnov, Poland) and trained initially at the Higher State Vocational School in Brno, Moravia where his classmates in the building department in 1889 included Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos and Hubert Gessner. He later spent a total of three years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under the tutelage of Karl Hasenauer (1892–3) and Otto Wagner (1894–6), where he won several prizes and scholarships, and worked privately in Wagner's studio with Joseph Maria Olbrich and others on the stations of the Vienna Metropolitan Railway (Stadtbahn).

Bauer's commissions were largely located in Austrian Silesia, Moravia and Bohemia as well as in and around Vienna. They included new and substantial alterations to large villas and town-houses, office and industrial buildings, work for several banks in Vienna, and the sanatorium at Gräfenburg, Austrian Silesia (now Lazne Jesenik, Moravia, Czech Republic) and adding an additional floor to Josef Hoffmann's Purkersdorf Sanatorium (later removed). Like many of his contemporaries around 1900 Bauer was also an enthusiastic designer of interiors, furniture and fittings. At the 1904 St Louis World Exhibition he won a gold medal for a reading room in the Austrian pavilion. Around 1900 his work was representative of the Jugendstil movement in Vienna. From 1905 the prevailing shift towards classicism appeared in his work, and he distanced himself from avant-garde ideas and designers, and sought clients with apparently more conservative tastes.

Bauer was active in architectural education: in 1913 he was the unpopular successor to Wagner as professor of modern architecture at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. He resigned in 1919. He also wrote extensively about architecture and urban planning, and associated social and economic issues, publishing two books on his work as well as writing for a time for the liberal newspaper Neue Freie Presse. He was a member of the Vienna Secession from 1900 until his death and of several other Viennese and Austrian architects' associations. 1

Notes:

1: Jindžich Vybíral, translation from Czech by Stefan Bartilla and Jürgen Ostmeyer, Junge Meister: Architekten aus der Schule Otto Wagners in Mähren und Schlesien, Vienna, Cologne & Weimar: Böhlau, 2007, pp. 61–98, 263–86; Leopold Bauer, Architektenlexikon Wien 1880–1945, www.architektenlexikon.at/de [accessed 14 August 2012].