Akos Moravanszky – The Smooth and the Tattooed

Lecture date: 1995-11-20

Akos Moravnzsky examines the iconography of building, considering the opposition between the principle of cladding as represented in the work of Gottfried Semper, and that of material truth. Drawing on the Central European tradition he demonstrates how these two positions are reflected in the work of the most significant architects practicing between 1900 and 1918. Primarily focusing on Wagner, Olbrich, and Schinkel, he speculates on the dichotomy between surface ornament and material truth with reference to the influential essay ‘Ornament and Crime’ in which Adolf Loos argued that ornamentation was immoral, inefficient, and an impediment to progress in an advanced society. Moravnzsky also explores the critique of the ‘materialistic’ approach of Loos found in the Czech constructivism of the same period. Professor Moravnzsky teaches theory of architecture at ETH in Zurich.


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