Josef Frank (architect)

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Josef Frank
Josef Frank, circa 1960
Born15 July 1885
Died8 January 1967(1967-01-08) (aged 81)
Stockholm, Sweden
Alma materVienna University of Technology
BuildingsLeopoldine-Glöckel-Hof, Vienna

Josef Frank (15 July 1885 – 8 January 1967) was an Austrian-born architect, artist, and designer who adopted Swedish citizenship in the latter half of his life. Together with Oskar Strnad, he created the Vienna School of Architecture, and its concept of Modern houses, housing and interiors.


Frank was of Jewish ancestry. His parents, merchant Ignaz (Isak) Frank (1851–1921, Vienna) and the Vienna-born Jenny (1861–1941), were originally from Heves in Hungary. He designed his parents' grave in the old Jewish section of Vienna's Central Cemetery (Group 19, Row 58, Grave No.52).[1] He studied architecture at the Vienna University of Technology. He then taught at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts from 1919 to 1925. He was a founding member of the Vienna Werkbund, initiator and leader of the 1932 project Werkbundsiedlung in Vienna. In 1933, he emigrated to Sweden, where he gained citizenship in 1939. He was the most prestigious designer in the Stockholm design company Svenskt Tenn (Swedish Pewter), recruited by the founder of the company, Estrid Ericson. He remained in Sweden after 1945 despite attempts to return him to Vienna. The Vienna Circle manifesto lists three of his publications[2][3][4] in a bibliography of closely related authors. Politically Frank believed in socialism.[5]

He was also the brother of the physicist, mathematician, and philosopher Philipp Frank.


Josef Frank dealt early on with public housing and housing estates. Contrary to most other architects of the interwar period in Vienna, he took the idea of settlement and not the creation of so-called super blocks in the municipal housing. He also rejected facade decor and clearly preferred functional forms. The Viennese architect and furniture designer Luigi Blau refers to him as one of his idols. In addition to his architectural work he created numerous designs for furniture, furnishings, fabrics, wallpaper and carpet. He has been a painter, as well.[6]

An exhibition of his textile designs is to be held from January to May 2017, at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.[7]


  • 1965 First Austrian Frank exhibition by the Austrian Society for Architecture[8]
  • 1965 Grand Austrian State Prize for Architecture
  • 1981 Frank exhibition in the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna
  • 1991 The Josef-Frank-Gasse street in Donaustadt Vienna was named after the architect
  • 2007 The exhibition Josef Frank. Architect and Outsider , The Jewish Museum Vienna field office Judenplatz[9]
  • 2010 Was honored with a Google Doodle on 15 July in honor of his 125th birthday.[10]
  • 2015–16 Exhibition "Josef Frank: Against Design" in the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna

Major projects[edit]

Duplex in the Weißenhofsiedlung, Stuttgart
  • Exhibition design of the East Asian Museum in Cologne (1912)
  • House Wilbrandtgasse 12, Vienna (1914) with Oskar Wlach and Oskar Strnad
  • Municipal housing Hoffingergasse in Altmannsdorf (Vienna), (1921–24), together with Erich Faber
  • Residential Building Wiedenhoferhof, Vienna (1924–25)
  • Residential Building Winarskyhof (1924–26), together with Adolf Loos, Peter Behrens, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky
  • Duplex in the Weißenhofsiedlung, Stuttgart (1927)
  • Residential Building Sebastian-Kelch-Gasse 1–3, Vienna (1928–29)
  • House Beer (1929–30 with Wlach) The 800 square meter Villa Beer in Vienna 13th, Wenzgasse 12, realized in 1929 / 1930 for the rubber shoe sole manufacturer Julius Beer together with Oskar Wlach[11]
  • Residential Building Simmeringer Hauptstraße 142–150, Vienna, (1931–32) with Oskar Wlach
  • Residential Building Leopoldine-Glöckel-yard in Vienna (1931–32)
  • Management of the Werkbundsiedlung in Vienna and Project for a house at Woinovichgasse 32 (1932)
  • Five villas in Falsterbo, southern Sweden (1927–1936)
  • House Vienna 19th, Wilbrandtgasse 3 (1914; former house of Emil and Agnes Scholl), with Oskar Wlach and Oskar Strnad
  • House Vienna 19th, Wilbrandtgasse 11 (1914; former house of Oskar and Hanny Strauss), with Oskar Wlach and Oskar Strnad
  • Villa Hugo Blitz, Weilburgstrasse 22 in Baden near Vienna, together with Oskar Wlach, "terrace and storey building", visible from the lido to this day (1928, preliminary studies from 1926)[12]


  • Architecture as Symbol: Elements of the German 'New Building', 1931 (in German)
  • The International Werkbundsiedlung Vienna 1932, 1932 (in German)
  • Josef Frank. Schriften/Writings (Deutsch/English); 2 Bände/2 Volumes; (Ed.): Tano Bojankin, Christopher Long and Iris Meder, Metroverlag, Wien 2012 ISBN 978-3-99300-086-8


  1. ^ All information regarding parents from the article by George Gaugusch: Genealogy of the families Feilendorf and Frank in I. Meder (ed.): Joseph Frank 1885–1967 – Eine Moderne der Unordnung, 2008 (in German)
  2. ^ Josef Frank (1927). "Vom neuen Stil". Baukunst.
  3. ^ Josef Frank (1928). Der Gschnas fürs Gemüt und der Gschnas als Problem. Stuttgart: Akad. Verlag.
  4. ^ Josef Frank (1929). "Die Wiener Bautätigkeit 1928 und die Kunst". Zeitfragen auf dem Gebiet der Soziologie. Leipzig.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ Lorenz, Trish (14 January 2017). "Sweden's bright spark: celebrating 30s designer Josef Frank". The Guardian.
  6. ^ "Künstlerverzeichnis Vergangener Auktionen: Josef Frank". Hampel Kunstauktionen (in German). Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Josef Frank Patterns–Furniture–Painting". Fashion and Textile Museum. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  8. ^ Austrian Society for Architecture: Frank Scholarship, (German) retrieved 16 July 2010
  9. ^ online presence JMW Archived 22 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine Exhibition Josef Frank. Architect and Outsider
  10. ^ Google Doodles 2010 July-September
  11. ^ "Ein Haus in Wien-Hietzing: von Prof. Dr. Josef Frank, Dr. Oskar Wlach" (PDF).
  12. ^ Regina Luxbacher (April 2007). Rudolf Maurer (ed.). "Josef Frank, Architekt und Designer (Baden 1885–1967 Stockholm)" (PDF). Badener Zuckerln (in German). No. 31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Botstein, Leon; Stritzl-Levine, Nina: Josef Frank, Architect and Designer: An Alternative Vision of the Modern Home, Yale University Press, 2000
  • Long, Christopher: Josef Frank: Life and Work, University Of Chicago Press, 2001

External links[edit]