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The City of Prague Museum

Karel Lhota

Karel Lhota

The professional career of Karel Lhota always inclined in the direction of theoretical and critical work, which eventually overshadowed his architectural practice. Lhota himself regarded his main achievements as those of a pedagogue, and subordinated his other activities to this end. Lhota’s critical writings were primarily published in the professional journal Architekt SIA and the popular weekly Pestrý týden; his most extensive single body of articles is the series on residential design published in 1933 in the latter magazine. All of Lhota’s writings on architecture date from his most significant period for realised work – the period when he collaborated with Adolf Loos in his realisations in Plzeň and Prague, and later (after 1933) with his individual realisations of buildings in Náchod and Vysoké nad Jizerou.

Karel Lhota’s own statement about his work with Adolf Loos: ‘it’s all the more interesting because at the first meeting, I did not – as Dr. Markalous, who introduced us, knew well – like him very much. (…) Immediately – upon introduction – he explained to me his contempt for architects, which was not much to my taste. Yet when one has the chance to become aware that what he was saying was correct, then one’s opinion can change.’ In following the subsequent creative path of Karel Lhota, it is possible to draw the conclusion that this meeting with Loos was truly essential, even fateful. Lhota found in Loos a true genius in the anticipation and harmonisation of space. From this moment on, he became a passionate exponent of Loosian ideas. In the journal Architekt SIA, Lhota published a number of articles in which he gave a detailed presentation of Loos’s architectural oeuvre on an international scale, explained his ideas and principles, yet always made a jesting repudiation of the ‘unacceptably eccentric’ personal life of his architectural master.



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