Prominent member of the Viennese Secession, he was born in Pirnitz-Mähren in 1870. At the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, he studied under Karl Hasenauer and Otto Wagner and until 1937 he held a course in architecture at the Kunstgewerbeschule of the Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie.
In 1903, together with Kolo Moser he founded the Wiener Werkstätte. He developed his simple geometric shapes starting from the curvilinear language of the European Art Nouveau. One of his most important works was the Stoclet Palace in Brussels (1905-1911). He developed the principles of the total work of art. He died in 1956.