On Loos, Ornament and Crime: Columns of Smoke: Volume II

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In his "Columns of Smoke" series, Juan Jose Lahuerta takes on the enormously ambitious task of re-reading modernity, offering us fresh ways of looking at it while drawing new links between the ideas of architecture and ornamentation, with a special focus on how they have been treated in print.
While the first volume of "Columns of Smoke" considered epoch-making architect Adolf Loos s relationship with photography, here Lahuerta turns to the Classical strand in Loos s architecture and to his written work and specifically his engagement with architectural and artistic theory. Lahuerta pays particular attention to Loos s seminal Ornament and Crime, the essay that established disornamentation as the signal feature of twentieth-century architecture. Through close analysis of that essay he unearths the racially charged, pseudoscientific ideas from early anthropology that underpin Loos s thinking. Sure to be controversial, this new reading of Loos s landmark writings calls the whole disornamentation project into question, and in the process, it reveals a radically new perspective on a major turn in modern design and culture.
Publication Date: 
November 15, 2015