In one of the few fundamental pieces of writing about architecture ever produced, Adolf Loos argued: Our culture is founded on the recognition of the all-transcending great- ness of classical antiquity. Our manner of thinking and feeling we have adopted from the Romans, who taught us to think socially and to disci- pline our emotions. It is not mere chance that the Romans were incapa- ble of inventing a new order of columns, a new ornament. The Greeks, who invented the mouldings, were individualists, scarcely able to govern their own cities. The Romans invented social organization and governed the whole world. The Greeks applied their imagination to the elevation, which is individual, the Romans to the ground plan, which is general. The Romans were more advanced than the Greeks, we are more advanced than the Romans. The great masters of architecture believed they built like the Romans. They were mistaken. Period, place, climate frustrated their plans. But whenever lesser architects tried to ignore tradition, whenever ornamentation became rampant, a master would appear to remind us of the Roman origins of our architecture and pick up the thread again (Loos, 1910). Though hermetic as usual, Loos was precise here: he recognized the particular attitude toward architecture developed in the Roman cultural context and suggested that this experience still provided the basis for contemporary architectural practice. In other words, for Loos – no matter what changes have happened in the meantime – con- temporary Western architecture was still “encompassed within the limits of the natural evolution of Roman architecture” (Grassi, 1997). What does this mean? Should we follow Loos’s perspective even today?

Rituals, Ostacles and Architecture

TAMBURELLI, PIER PAOLO
2012

Abstract

In one of the few fundamental pieces of writing about architecture ever produced, Adolf Loos argued: Our culture is founded on the recognition of the all-transcending great- ness of classical antiquity. Our manner of thinking and feeling we have adopted from the Romans, who taught us to think socially and to disci- pline our emotions. It is not mere chance that the Romans were incapa- ble of inventing a new order of columns, a new ornament. The Greeks, who invented the mouldings, were individualists, scarcely able to govern their own cities. The Romans invented social organization and governed the whole world. The Greeks applied their imagination to the elevation, which is individual, the Romans to the ground plan, which is general. The Romans were more advanced than the Greeks, we are more advanced than the Romans. The great masters of architecture believed they built like the Romans. They were mistaken. Period, place, climate frustrated their plans. But whenever lesser architects tried to ignore tradition, whenever ornamentation became rampant, a master would appear to remind us of the Roman origins of our architecture and pick up the thread again (Loos, 1910). Though hermetic as usual, Loos was precise here: he recognized the particular attitude toward architecture developed in the Roman cultural context and suggested that this experience still provided the basis for contemporary architectural practice. In other words, for Loos – no matter what changes have happened in the meantime – con- temporary Western architecture was still “encompassed within the limits of the natural evolution of Roman architecture” (Grassi, 1997). What does this mean? Should we follow Loos’s perspective even today?
Architecture, Roman religion, Rituals, Obstacles, Adolf Loos, George Dumézil, Aldo Schiavone, Giovan Battista Piranesi, templum in terra, templum in aere
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1010254
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