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Ornament is crime – all hail modern architecture

It was around a century ago that the architecture of ornament and flash took its leave and a clear and geometric form was adopted. Today, a minimalist picture book celebrates the most beautiful cube houses of yesterday and today…

“Ornament is wasted labour and hence wasted health,” wrote Adolf Loos, the pioneer of modern architecture, in his manifesto Ornament and Crime from 1908. He also stated, “Modern people, people with modern nerves, does not need ornament. On the contrary, they abhor it.” More than a century later, right angles, smooth concrete facades, and the renouncement of any decorations are still popular with international architects. Early modernists, such as Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer, Alvar Aalto, and Richard Neutra, are often idolised by young creatives. Armed with their Leicas and wallpaper city guides, they supported hidden bungalows, which are now bought and sold for considerable sums, and dreamt about moving into mid-century cube homes. 

Matt Gibberd and Albert Hill have recently honored this modern movement with a splendid ilustrated book, which has been publised by Phaidon. The two authors, who have made a name for themselves with the alternative real estate platform The Modern House, seem to be true purists — highlighting the minimalist cube homes from yesterday and today in their purest form: black and white.

Fotos: Richard Powers / Tomáš Manina via Phaidon