Architecture, Formal Ornamentation

Topics: Adolf Loos, Architecture, Architectural theory Pages: 10 (3865 words) Published: February 3, 2012
Architecture, Formal Ornamentation
Re-emergence of use of ornaments in architectural practice has occurred on a global scale over the past decade. Several architects are unwrapping a lost language that had been an intrinsic mode of communication in architecture. The language of ornament in architecture has been readily confused with the realms of decoration and pattern among others. However, ornament decoration is used in architecture and decorative art to embellish an object or part of a building. Architectural ornaments can be derived from stone carvings, wood or precious metals. The ornaments can also be formed with plaster or even clay and then painted onto a service in the form of applied ornament. In other forms of applied arts, other objects including paint and vitreous enamel may be employed instead (Mallgrave, 2004). Other decorative styles and motifs that have been developed recently include pottery, textiles, furniture and metalwork. Mimetic ornament is common in primitive cultures while organic ornament is inherent in the materials or functions of a building (Tournikiotis, 1994). In the discussion below, I will describe and compare the ornaments of two buildings. The first building, Loos House which was constructed by architect Adolf Loos is an example of a contemporary building while Dresden Opera House, a historical building was built by Gottfried Semper. I will also describe and compare their theories on ornament in architecture. Dresden Opera House, also commonly referred to as Semperoper due to its outstanding beauty, is one of the most famous buildings in Dresden, Germany that was built in 1838-41 by architect Gottfried Semper. It is strategically located in Dresden, Germany at Theaterplatz specifically at the banks of river Elbe. It has become famous for its beautiful theatres. In fact, it is one of the most impressive monuments in Dresden, Germany. The building has been a victim of many events including the flames of 1869 and World War II in 1945. However, the building was reconstructed in High Renaissance style in 1871-79 and 1977-85 after its bombing. The building has recently been damaged by heavy waters from Elbe floods in 2002 (Mallgrave, 2004). However the building reopened in December the same year after a substantial assistance from around the world. The Semperoper still stand up to date despite the troublesome past. The Semperoper is an example of “Dresden-Baroque” architecture. It is a big attraction in Europe due to its striking statues and inspiring interiors. The two statues visible at the main entrance include those of famous writers Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller (Herrmann, 2011). Other statues present belong to several other famous architects and legends such as Moliere and the Shakespeare among others. Opera House is also famous for its beautiful sculptures such as the statue of Saxon King John that stands in front of the Semperoper. Semper was responsible for construction of the beautiful stage designs in the Opera house theatre that replaced the Old Court theatre. The oval building features a central portal that has a panther quadriga drawn at the top. The quadriga has Dionysos that represent the Greek god of art together with his consort Ariadne. The style of building employed in Opera House is highly debated since it features three styles; Early Renaissance, Baroque and the Corinthian style of pillars. The most suitable style applicable to this building would be eclecticism whereby influences from several styles of architecture have been employed to come up with the building (Mallgrave, 2004). The exterior of the Opera House is as beautiful as its interior. The interior was developed by quite a number of famous architects together with skilled craftsmen from the local community. Gottfried Semper employed use of local material and local skilled craftsmen (Herrmann, 2011). Plaster has been carefully molded and polished while wood has...
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