Josef Hoffmann was first exposed to architecture as a child in his hometown of Brtnice in the Czech Republic. He would later enroll in the Architecture Department at Brünn’s Höhere Staatsgewerbeschule and apply to Vienna’s Akademie der bildenden Kunste in 1892. Upon acceptance, Hoffmann moved to Vienna to attend school under the tutelage of Otto Wagner. In 1895, he received the Rome Prize for his final project and was granted a fellowship, traveling to Italy to study and sketch. Returning to Vienna, Hoffmann was one of the founding members of the Vienna Secession and in 1899, began a long teaching career at Vienna’s Kunstegewerbeschule. Traveling to England in 1900, Hoffmann met Charles Rennie Mackintosh and visited the workshops of the C.R. Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft. This meeting would have a profound influence on the Wiener Werkstätte, founded in 1903, which Hoffmann was the director of until 1932. Hoffmann designed numerous exhibitions for the Secession, and in 1904 he completed one of his most important commissions, the Pukersdorf Sanatorium. A year later, after officially leaving the Secession, Hoffmann would complete what would be called the pinnacle of his architecture career, the Palais Stoclet. A tireless designer, Hoffmann created over 5,000 drawings through his lifetime and completed over 500 commissions. He died in 1956 at the age of 85.
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