“Ornament and Crime”


 Research about the passage and Adolf Loos

     ”  In 1908, the Austrian architect, designer, and theorist Adolf Loos published an incendiary treatise entitled “Ornament and Crime.” The essay equated the use of ornamentation in late nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture and design with the destruction of culture and society. Loos felt strongly that ornament had no meaning or place within contemporary culture, even going so far as to argue that ornament actually hindered society’s progress. Specifically, Loos viewed superfluous ornament as an epidemic, one that contributed to the obsolescence of objects. He advocated for simplicity, because simple objects never go out of style and therefore would be treasured for all time.

Even today, Loos’s questioning of the role of ornamentation still resonates within the architecture and the decorative arts communities. Academics, critics, students, artists, and curators regularly discuss and debate the topic, asking themselves such questions as: What purpose does ornament serve the design of an object? Is it simply a function of style? Does ornament contribute anything meaningful to objects today? “*

          “All of these reasons are suggested in architect Adolf Loos outrageous 1908 manifesto “Ornament and Crime,” an essay designed to infuriate fine artists, as it suggests they are decadent if not infantile, stuck in a primitive state of mental development. “The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from objects of daily use,” Loos declares, flatly rejecting the idea that lack of ornament implies an ascetic self-denial—and then proceeds to insult anyone who might disagree. For those who ornament their bodies with tattoos, he declares, “The modern man who tattoos himself is a criminal or a degenerate. There are prisons where 80 percent of the inmates bear tattoos. Those who are tattooed but not are not imprisoned are latent criminals or degenerate aristocrats” (or post-collegiate hipsters). Of those who like to dress up, he wonders how they can stand to “walk about in red velvet trousers with gold braids like monkeys at a fair.” Of the impulse to paint, he explains that “Erotic excess” drives painters to make their marks on canvas, the way caveman marked walls and vandals graffiti lavatories. Those who look to the past in nostalgia to revive the accoutrements of past luxuries, he says “impede the cultural development of nations and humanity itself,” and are thus “criminals.” In response to the fallacy that planned obsolescence in fashion creates more work and thus propels the economy, he suggests that the Austrian empire be burned to the ground every so often so it could be the most prosperous nation in the world.”**

Personal comments and ideas 

In “Ornament and Crime”, a strong opposition towards the use of ornaments in everyday objects all the way to large buildings is sensed drastically. The creation of these is thought to be a waste of much-needed labour. Also he had two main ideas that supported his anti-ornament ideas which were that it is a misuse of the valuable worksmanship of workers and that it harms the mental health which results in the dellaying of the improvement in society and culture.

I think Adolf Loos’s ideas are very compelling and attractive towards many people because of its use of relatable but also harsh critisizing comparisons. He made a really good use of the interconnected ideas which is that with the missed labour the health is also affected. But also, he was short to draw somewhat clear distinction between what is an ornament and what is not. When these differences arent that much studied in an expression which centers around the abandoning the use of ornaments, this expression is weakened.

References for the reseach

* http://www.sofaexpo.com/chicago/essays/2010/is-ornament-a-crime-rethinking-the-role-of-decoration-in-contemporary-wood

**  http://www.popmatters.com/post/ornament_and_crime/


Towards a New Architecture


        The first part that I read before was the chapter called Pure creation of mind and it was one of the ending parts of the book, therefore, had more definite and closing arguments compared to the second chapter that we were assigned which is in the beginning. Le Corbusier makes great use of comparing structures considering the fact that it is the beginning of his book.In one part of the book, he gives a comparison between the architecture and the construction of the buildings. construction is not supposed to make people feel something but architecture should aim much more.

       In the context of the book and in those times (even now) architecture and engineers have a very similar work field. In the book, he thinks that architects are in a low state and need to learn many things from the engineers who unintentionally create aesthetically pleasing works of architecture. Architects in those times did not have a common ideology with the engineers. In the book, he refers to the engineers as the person who makes the buildings stand. When he wrote his book he mentions that people are thinking that engineers have the knowledge of how heating works, physics and other mechanical things but whereas the architect has the knowledge of space and how these spaces come alive. Without architecture, a happy town cannot exist. Architecture exists where happy architects create spaces that make people happy.

      The architecture was a necessity but now it gives pleasure and makes us happy. It is challenging because now more is expected from an architectural design. This is important because it has a large influence in our daily life. Buildings should be considered as complex design results coming from the problem that a functioning space where people perform their daily activities is needed. Also, an aesthetic meaning should be behind this design. But the ways of achieving this beauty is not by trying to add that element afterward but rather interconnected in a way that occurs naturally given the fact that the design functions and stays stable. This is an important thing because this affects many people’s lives. These designs are a core part of the living human experience.

      People’s attitude towards architects should be similar to that of the doctors because one cannot expect a doctor to cure that %100 because there is no such thing as the absolute truth. engineers rely on the trust of data and have a definite solution. this is not the case in architecture. but, on the other hand, on should not shy away from discussing what is good and bad in architecture thinking that there is no such thing as the reliable truth. Debating over these issues is what improves our understanding of the architectural design. In the end, he thinks artists and musicians should help overcome the problem of having art in a poor way. they should act together and try to understand what architecture is and what should be done to find the meaning of it.

Le Corbusier’s Pure Creation of the Mind

Image.1: le Corbusier. Towards a new architecture. book. 1923. France.

 We were assigned to read a part of Le Corbusier‘s book, Towards a new architecture, called Pure creation of the mind.  The author of this book is a very famous, known architect that is mostly referred for his modern functionalist designs. He was a swiss-born french architect that influenced most of our daily modern ways of designing buildings. He had very radical ideas about how the structure of the design should be embraced rather than being covered by nonfunctional, only decorative elements.

889d4b84b5d369689745b2441c7427e07089bef5Image2: One of his most known work is Villa Savoye

In the text, le Corbusier mentions a very important point in understanding what is architecture, which is to me, the highlight of the whole chapter of the book. He explains that architecture comes into play when the creation in a way, touches the audience’s heart and make them feel something or think that a structure is beautiful. If something does not express a thought, it is not architecture it is construction .

What Does Music Mean?

    ass03-_ersan-ilktan_textposter            In order to study our poster design capabilities and to also understand the context of the video, we were assigned by our Arch121 and Arch111 instructors to watch the video of Leonard Bernstein in “What does music mean?”. We understand from the video that Bernstein do not agree with the idea that music has a story or a solid meaning behind it similar to everyday things. He emphasizes that music is not a whole when it is only one note. Music is about the composition of notes acting together to form a unity. This unity is about the experience of the listener. It is about the emotions. This very similar to the design world because for example architecture is architecture it is not derived from a story. The relations between the elements and their composition is important.

         To design a poster representative of this idea, I choose keywords and phrases and located them accordingly to the hierarchical order between those elements.

The studio handbook

           I read the handbook of studios. It claims that studio is our living environment. We should use the studio anytime. Studio is somewhere that we can contact with our classmates and discuss our works freely so that we can learn many things from each other and also our lecturers. If we make mistakes and see our mistakes, we can learn many things from them and we can discover what we should do but we should know that there is not one true answer about designing. Anything can be changed according to a person’s opinion.

         In architectural education, we should change our perspectives in some way and maybe we should focus on what people don’t focus. There are some missing steps like analyzing that we are not using very commonly but we should learn them and use them also in our education to create things more effectively. And this handbook is full of useful information about the studio environment such as what are the critics and juries. It helps us to get used to architectural education and studio time and also we can check it anytime we want to have more in our minds.