Jindřich / Heinrich / Henry Kulka

Date of birth: 28. 3. 1900 Litovel

Death date: 6./7. 5. 1971 Auckland (Nový Zéland)


Jindřich Kulka was born in Litovel into the family of a Jewish drapery merchant in 1900. Later on the Kulkas moved to Vienna, where Jindřich (Heinrich) finished secondary school and from 1918 studied architecture at the Technical University. However, he did not complete his degree. In 1919 (or 1920), he began attending Loos’ private school of architecture. Loos soon hired him in his studio as a draftsman and later appointed him his assistant. Kulka took part in the project of Villa Rufer in Vienna, where Loos applied the principle of Raumplan for the first time. Kulka soon used this principle himself in the design of a smaller cubic house (“Dice” or “Würfelhaus”).

From 1924 to 1927, Kulka divided his time between Vienna, Stuttgart and Paris, where he headed Loos’ local office and collaborated, for example, on an unrealized house design for Josephine Baker. In 1927, he married fashion designer and artistic weaver Hilda Beranová. The following year he returned to Vienna to become Loos’ partner and head of his studio. (He may have also started working independently at that time.) He was involved in several of Loos’ designs and led the construction of houses for the Werkbund Estate in Vienna according to Loos’ instructions. In 1929, Kulka was Loos’ best man at his wedding to Claire Beck, and a year later, on the occasion of Loos’ sixtieth birthday, he prepared his first monograph, in which he used the term “Raumplan” for Loos’ interior layout for the very first time.

After the death of Adolf Loos in 1933, Kulka was commissioned for a number of private house designs in Czechoslovakia. In them he further developed the Raumplan and other Loosian motifs in them. In Pilsen, a maisonette apartment of Oskar and Jana Semler on 110 Klatovská Avenue and an extension of the courtyard wing of the Hirsch family’s house in Plachého Street were built according to his projects. Kulka also prepared the design of Samuel Teichner’s country house in Špičák near Železná Ruda. After the annexation of Austria in 1938, Kulka was not allowed to practice his profession due to his Jewish origin. He briefly lived in hiding in Hradec Králové with his wife’s relatives, after which he emigrated to the United Kingdom and in 1940 to New Zealand, where he was followed by Hilda and their two children.

From 1940 to 1960, Kulka worked as the chief architect of the important construction company Fletcher Construction in Auckland. There he designed more than 100 private and commercial interiors, office buildings, production facilities and religious buildings, significantly contributing to the spread of modern architecture on the island. In his own architectural practice, he focused mainly on private house projects; nonetheless, even in these designs, he continued to adhere to Loos’ school. He died in Auckland in 1971.



  • heslo Heinrich Kulka, Architektenlexikon Wien 1770–1945, http://www.architektenlexikon.at/de/340.htm, vyhledáno 29. 10. 2020.
  • Iva Karásková, Funkcionalistická architektura v Jablonci nad Nisou (diplomová práce), katedra dějin umění Filozofické fakulty UPOL, Olomouc 2009, s. 83–95.