Concrete Worlds

Founding directors of The Modern House Matt Gibberd and Albert Hill shine a new light on Modernist architecture from the 1920s to the present day. Ornament is Crime journeys be­tween the decades to liberate Modernism from its traditional definitions and proposes its continuing presence in the work of 21st century architects as well as in the designs of van der Rohe and Gropius.

Through elegant spreads and striking exam­ples – all in black and white – Ornament is Crime provides an intriguing manifesto. Buildings are grouped into aesthetically comparable collec­tions, enabling common lineages to become vis­ible. In one instance, Takeshi Hosaka’s Architects’ House in Yokohama (2012) is placed next to Le Corbusier’s Maison Guiette (1926) in Belgium, their forms unified by Louis Sullivan’s words urging us to “abandon ornament and concentrate on buildings that were charming in their sobriety.”

The use of quotes from cultural figures as diverse as Leonard Cohen and Kazimir Malevich here reframes Modernism as a timeless dialogue.

Selina Oakes

1. Aluminum House, Courtesy of Fran Silvestre Arquitectos.