The function of ornament

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Actar, 2006 - Architecture - 189 pages
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Architecture needs mechanisms that allow it to become connected to culture. It achieves this by continually capturing the forces that shape society as material to work with. Architecture's materiality is therefore a composite one, made up of visible forces (structural, functional, physical) as well as invisible forces (cultural, political, temporal). Architecture progresses through new concepts that connect with these forces, manifesting itself in new aesthetic compositions and affects. Ornament is the by-product of this process, through which architectural material is organized to transmit unique affects. This book is a graphic guide to ornaments in the twentieth century. It unveils the function of ornament as the agent for specific affects, dismantling the idea that ornament is applied to buildings as a discrete or non-essential entity. Each case operates through greater or lesser depth to exploit specific synergies between the exterior and the interior, constructing an internal order between ornament and material. These internal orders produce expressions that are contemporary, yet whose affects are resilient in time.

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About the author (2006)

Farshid Moussavi is Professor in Practice in the Department of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her London-based firm, Foreign Office Architects (FOA), is recognized as one of the most creative design firms in the world, deftly integrating architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture in their projects. They have produced numerous critically-acclaimed and award-winning international projects, most notably the Yokohama Ferry Terminal in Japan. Prior to establishing Foreign Office Architects (with Alejandro Zaera Polo) in London in 1992, she worked with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Genoa and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam.

Michael Kubo is Teaching Associate in Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the US Director of ACTAR. He graduated with an M.Arch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and with a B.A. in Architecture from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. With ACTAR, he is the editor of Desert America: Territory of Paradox (2006), Verb Conditioning (2005), Seattle Public Library (2005), Verb Connection and Verb Matters (2004), Phylogenesis: FOA's Ark (2003), and The Yokohama Project (2002). He previously collaborated with Rem Koolhaas and OMA / AMO as Associate Editor for the Harvard Guide to Shopping (2001), Great Leap Forward (2001), and Mutations (2000).