Architect: Ernst Lichtblau
Wattmanngasse 29, Vienna
His independence was already evident in 1914 when he designed the plans for the residential building in Vienna-Hietzing, which is now a listed building and was popularly known as the Chocolate House because of its unusual design.
In the use of motifs from folk art, in forms that already refer to the coming Art Deco, and in the shaping of window bands, Lichtblau anticipated criteria of the architecture of the twenties.
The three-story apartment building was erected in 1914 in place of a one-story house with a side wing according to plans by Ernst Lichtblau for the client Ida Hofmann.
According to a first draft, the basement was to consist only of the cellar of the previous building. In the executed version, however, this old cellar was extended.
In 1914 the house was awarded the „Prize of the Municipality of Vienna for outstanding buildings“.
In 1932 an apartment division took place,
In 1938 the roof was extended. Where originally there was a drying room and ironing room, an apartment was built. The former laundry room was converted into a studio.
The design of the facade shows an extensive independence from Lichtblau’s teacher Otto Wagner.
Window shapes and contrasting smooth wall surfaces with decoration are reminiscent of the facades by architect Josef Hoffmann.
The majolica reliefs are designs by sculptor and ceramist Willibald (Willy) Russ.
They are decorated with fairy-tale animal and plant figures and fanciful ornaments.
The motifs seem to be taken directly from folk art, which provided constant inspiration for the Wiener Werkstätte.
The ceramic cladding between the windows and around the entrance portal consists of floral and figural representations that vary throughout the three floors.
In the mezzanine, the letters H, I and S were incorporated in three reliefs.
In the figure relief on the left side of the entrance portal there is the year 1914.
The cornice is multi-tiered and decorated with relief moldings depicting plants and birds.
Dark brown majolica cornices connect the rows of windows on the floors.
The smooth surfaces of the facade were originally made of polished Carrara marble.
The wall pieces between the windows, which look like pillars, reinforce the impression of a window band motif.
The extravagant facade found no immediate successors in Vienna.
Ceramic facade decoration, however, is often found on the buildings of interwar modernism.