Oswald Haerdtl (May 17th 1899 - August 9th 1959 ) was an Austrian architect and designer. He grew up in the vicinity of Vienna. In 1916, he started to study painting with Koloman Moser, one of the leading artists of the Viennese Secession movement. Haerdtl interrupted his studies to join the military as a volunteer, but returned to art school in 1919 after the collapse of Austria-Hungary where he took architecture classes with Oskar Strnad. He completed his studies in 1921 and one year later, he joined the master class of architect Josef Hoffmann as an assistant. From 1924 he also worked in Josef Hoffmann's private studio.
His first project for Hoffmann was the Austrian pavilion for the " Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes” in Paris in 1925. During his stay in Paris on the occasion of the exhibition he visited the studio of Le Corbusier and also learned to know Jean Lurçat, Lurçat André and Fernand Léger.
In 1932 he became a partner at Josef Hoffmann's practice. 1933 he realised a house for the Werkbundsiedlung in Vienna. After the death of his teacher Oskar Strnad in 1935, Haerdtl was appointed his successor and became Professor of Architecture . In 1935 and 1937 he was responsible for the design of the Austrian pavilions at the worlds exhibition in Paris.
During the Nazi era Haerdtl first continued to teach at the art school in Vienna. Later he established a branch office of his practice in Poland where he realised several projects. He also took on interior and product design commissions in Austria and Germany.
After the war, he devoted himself with great vigor to issues of urban planning, renovations, the extension of existing structures, the reconstruction of war damaged buildings damaged after the war as well as furniture and product design. He also took up his interest in coffee houses again - he designed several well-known Vienese cafés, among them the Café Prückel, the Volksgarten pavilion and several Arabia coffee shops (today demolished). Shorlty after the war, Haerdtl organised the first Werkbund exhibition and re-established the Austrian section of the CIAM.
Oswald Haerdtl died in Vienna in 1959.
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