Basic readings for architects
Architecture is created, used and contemplated. However, it also reads and there are certain readings for more than interesting architects.
There are innumerable architecture books, essays, articles and even poetry where references appear. Especially since it is also a spectator of our human stages. Likewise, architecture is able to narrate, perhaps not in much detail, the how and why of the hands that in its time devised it.
When we turn it into an ethnographic element, its horizons of study expand infinitely and it becomes interesting for everyone. After all, it only describes and defines the culture of each place. When we travel, without knowing it, we go in search of the history of architecture.
That is why we want to dedicate a small stop along the way to review two texts that we consider absolutely essential as readings for architects. These two texts are, in our humble opinion, books that any architect should read.
Ornament and crime (Adolf Loos)
Timeless and incisive, Adolf Loos reflects on the ornament and its historical evolution. Compare modern man with that of the fifteenth century, even with that of the Indonesian indigenous settlements, the Papuans. This comparison of epochs serves as a means to reflect on the ornament and its deeper meaning. Especially what this one hides.
In a clear speech in favor of simplicity and the eradication of the unnecessary. Loos thus comes to consider ornament as a wasted labor force. It also proclaims that, and in his view, the absence of ornamentation symbolizes spiritual strength.
Among the lines of these readings for architects lies a phrase that defines today’s society, and specifically the field of interior design and architecture.
“If all objects could last from both the aesthetic and physical angles, the consumer could pay a price that would allow the worker to earn more money and have to work less.”
With no doubt, an insightful criticism of the fashions and the consumption system that we have created. In this system, fashions allow to increase sales of lower quality products, since they do not have the need to last over time. A commitment at the same time for quality and timelessness.
We cannot agree more with the philosophy of quality and durability. In fact, we also think that the simplicity of our spaces becomes the true ornament.
Aesthetics of the engineer, Architecture (Le Corbusier)
Contextualized in 1923, where Le Corbusier considered that architecture was going through a period of decline due to losing its eternal values, Vers une Architecture was published. From these readings for architects the fragment that we present below is extracted. Despite this decline to which Le Corbusier refers, he himself also saw a new panorama; that of the new machine culture, where the first allusions of a correct modern language appeared.
It was then for Le Corbusier a great opportunity and challenge to mediate between the eternal and this new stage. In this way, modern architecture was shaped and based.
In his fragment, as an index and even as a list, without too much literature, he reflects on the aesthetics of the engineer, the aesthetics of the eternal for modern engineers. Divide your text into concise titles that contain subtitles and brief definitions; Three warnings to architects, Regulatory paths, Eyes that do not see, Architecture and Houses in series.
In these paragraphs you can see the desire of Le Corbusier not to lose traditional values. But, also, the ability to understand and analyze the moment in which architecture passes and the imminent change in its methodologies.
04 December 2023