About Joseph Maria Olbrich
Joseph Maria Olbrich (22 December 1867 – 8 August 1908) was an Austrian architect and co-founder of the Vienna Secession.
Olbrich was born in Opava, Austrian Silesia (today in the Czech Republic), the third child of Edmund and Aloisia Olbrich. He had two sisters, who died before he was born, and two younger brothers, John and Edmund. His father was a prosperous confectioner and wax manufacturer who also owned a brick works, where Olbrich's interest in the construction industry has its early origin.
Olbrich studied architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Wiener Staatsgewerbeschule) and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, where he won several prizes. These included the Prix de Rome, for which he traveled in Italy and North Africa. In 1893, he started working for Otto Wagner, the Austrian architect, and probably did the detailed construction for most of Wagner's Wiener Stadtbahn (Metropolitan Railway) buildings.
In 1897, Gustav Klimt, Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser founded the Vienna Secession artistic group. Olbrich designed their exhibition building, the famous Secession Hall, which became the movement's landmark. In 1899, Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, founded the Darmstadt Artists' Colony, for which Olbrich designed many houses (including his own) and several exhibition buildings.