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The Long Ish Read

The Long(ish) Read: "Ornament and Crime" by Adolf Loos

04:00 - 2 November, 2016
The Long(ish) Read: "Ornament and Crime" by Adolf Loos, Villa Müller (1930), Czech Republic / Adolf Loos
Villa Müller (1930), Czech Republic / Adolf Loos

Welcome to the fourth installment of The Long(ish) Read: an AD feature which presents texts written by notable essayists that resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. Ornament and Crime began as a lecture delivered by Adolf Loos in 1910 in response to a time (the late 19th and early 20th Centuries) and a place (Vienna), in which Art Nouveau was the status quo.

Loos used the essay as a vehicle to explain his distain of "ornament" in favour of "smooth and previous surfaces," partly because the former, to him, caused objects and buildings to become unfashionable sooner, and therefore obsolete. This—the effort wasted in designing and creating superfluous ornament, that is—he saw as nothing short of a "crime." The ideas embodied in this essay were forerunners to the Modern movement, including practices that would eventually be at core of the Bauhaus in Weimar.

The Long(ish) Read: John Ruskin Considers 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture'

04:45 - 29 September, 2015
The Long(ish) Read: John Ruskin Considers 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture', 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture' frontispiece
'The Seven Lamps of Architecture' frontispiece

Welcome to the third installment of The Long(ish) Read: an AD feature which uncovers texts written by notable essayists that resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. In this extract from The Seven Lamps of Architecture, published in 1849 and considered to be John Ruskin's first complete book on architecture, his studies are distilled into seven moral principles. These "Lamps" were intended to guide architectural practice of the time, advocating a profound respect for the original fabric of existing buildings. The opening chapter—The Lamp of Sacrifice—attempts to "distinguish carefully between Architecture and Building," set against the backdrop of Ruskin's (often criticised) world-view on the discipline at large.

The Long(ish) Read: Louis Sullivan Discusses the Tall Office, "Artistically Considered"

04:00 - 10 September, 2015
The Long(ish) Read: Louis Sullivan Discusses the Tall Office, "Artistically Considered", Wainwright Building / Adler & Sullivan. Image Courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey
Wainwright Building / Adler & Sullivan. Image Courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey

Welcome to the second installment of The Long(ish) Read: an AD feature which uncovers texts written by notable essayists that resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. In this essay, written in March 1896, Louis H. Sullivan (1856-1924) discusses the construction of high-rise office buildings. Sullivan, often described as the 'Father of Skyscrapers' and the 'Father of Modernism', was a mentor to a number of US architects in and around Chicago — including Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School. In this essay, written when he was forty years of age, Sullivan lists his solutions to the many problems associated with building tall, and doing so with a degree of artistic flair.

Read the essay in full after the break.

The Long(ish) Read: Walter Benjamin Unpacking his Library

04:00 - 24 August, 2015
The Long(ish) Read: Walter Benjamin Unpacking his Library, Walter Benjamin in Paris. Image © Gisèle Freund
Walter Benjamin in Paris. Image © Gisèle Freund

Welcome to The Long(ish) Read: a new AD feature which uncovers texts written by notable essayists which resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. In this essay, written in 1931, Walter Benjamin narrates the process of unpacking his library. All in boxes, he takes the reader through elements of his book collection: the memories attached to them, the importance he placed on the act of 'collecting' and the process of accumulation, and how objects like books inhabit a space.