DOPPELHOUSE PRESS is an independent publishing house with a focus on architecture, design, and art, as well as histories of immigration and exile. Our mission is to bring together a plurality of voices through biography, memoir, critical texts and select fiction in order to examine the complex dynamics between sociopolitical forces and aesthetic forms; to present specific issues like human rights, free expression, and personal liberties; and to explore existential truths.
We began our work in 2011 looking at the developing styles and attitudes within 20th-century Central European modernism, which is intertwined with the perspective of exiles, for many of whom statelessness and belonging to broader cultural and aesthetic movements preceded their physical dislocation. Our books hinge around art and bravery, conviction and perseverance, defiance in the face of terrible odds and authoritarian regimes, as well as the circumstances and critical thought that have driven people to seek to build or create better lives for themselves and subsequently for others.
DoppelHouse Press books are distributed to the trade by Consortium / Ingram.
Both architecture and translation between German and English have played a large role in our mission, which is reflected by our name and logo. Many émigrés and immigrants live with an imaginary doppelgänger, the shadow of a life left behind that follows them upon relocation to another place and often, another language. Furthermore, the doppelhaus (“duplex”) is a twinned architecture type explored by several architects we have focused on from Vienna, specifically Adolf Loos and his colleague and former student, Jacques Groag.
The continuing inspiration for DoppelHouse Press is Claire Beck Loos (self portrait c. late 1920s, right). We produced the first English edition of her insightful and lively biography Adolf Loos — A Private Portrait in conjunction with a retrospective on Loos’ work that began in Prague, traveled to several countries, and was ultimately shown in 2011 at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London (more here on the exhibition). In addition to being a writer, Claire was also a respected photographer and took many of the well known portraits of Loos in his last years.
DoppelHouse Press would not have been founded without Claire and those scholars and surviving family members who struggled to bring her work out of obscurity. She was killed in the Holocaust in 1942, at Riga, just after her 37th birthday; for many decades following, her work was used without attribution or proper context as to her tragic fate. It is to the memory of Claire Beck Loos that we dedicate our continuing work.