"Ornament is a Crime." (as is photography, apparently)

Adolf Loos’ Villa Moller. If you should ever visit this icon of modernism, whatever you do, don’t take a picture! See that little guard booth on the right? The sole purpose of that lone protector is to prevent people from taking photos of the house. (As I learned soon after snapping these) However, the guard was very apologetic and assured us that there were many books with great pictures of the building.

We ventured out into the suburbs of Vienna to find this place, and unfortunately didn’t plan ahead enough to schedule some sort of interior tour…actually, i’m not even sure thats possible for single visitors. Nonetheless, the house was very impressive. Much more beautiful in person that in textbook photos. I’ve always loved what Loos does with his interiors, but I’ve never quite been sold on the complete abandonment of exterior ornament. Until now. To drastically oversimplify, the Moller House just works. It’s beatiful, serene, balanced… Looking at the building, I felt like Loos exploited my subconscious understanding of beauty and harmony.

As we walked through the neighborhood, it was impossible not to notice the number of Loos-alikes scattered amongst the traditional viennese houses. Most were awful, and looked like they might’ve been built in the 70’s or 80’s, but it was nice to see how one architect and one building can make such an impact, especially in a city as conservative as vienna. So even though these moderish-mishaps were less appealing, they were nonethess encouraging.

2 Replies to “"Ornament is a Crime." (as is photography, apparently)”

  1. cool story, jim. i like the picture, too.

    do you think that vampires like ornaments? would adolf indulge in gay porn? you can find the answer to that and many more fun quetsions in:

    “Crime and Ornament: The Arts and Popular Culture in the Shadow of Adolf Loos”, a cool book indeed.

    (Not available in French)

  2. i thought that was a fake book you made up.

    (but it’s not and now i want it) It looks like its hard to order though. Do they have it in your fancy new york city bookshops?

    instead of leaving a comment, i should probably email you about this…

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