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Ornament and Architecture - Essay Example

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This paper will explore the value of ornamentation in enhancing beauty in architectural work: whether it's truly necessary for buildings and how much the ornamentation influence on an overall looking of the building. Additionally, the writer briefly describes the origins of the ornamentation…
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Ornament and Architecture
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"Ornament and Architecture"

Download file to see previous pages The origin of architectural ornamentation can be traced back to the 19th century when classical design is said to have reached its peak in the U.S in what is popularly known as the the American Renaissance. What was evident on the architectural pieces at the time is that they had a style that was commonly used by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio in the first century B.C. What is notable in Vitruvius work and those who heed to his records regarding the classical style, design and ornamentation is that they were based on imitations (Polio 56). Furthermore, the technology applied during this time followed strict rules, which did not give room for innovation since preconception hindered harmonious ornamentation.
Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), like Vitruvius, is another architect who influenced a lot artwork during the American Renaissance. He considered ornament as something applied or added. In fact, he defined ornament as a type of additional light that was aimed at complementing beauty (Alberti 7). I believe, from this definition, that beauty is something inherent in property, which is supposed to be manifested in the body of a beautiful, whereas ornament instead of being inherent is added or attached to a piece. Alberti argues that beauty is found in nature and may be the main reason for building.
Nevertheless, several questions arise from Alberti’s argument because ornamentation is done on the whole work and is part of the whole. Therefore, it is not reasonable for him to have thought that beauty and ornament were separate. Furthermore, it is not reasonable to say that an attached or added ornament is beautiful. Ornamentation of a building is supposed to enhance beauty. Louis Sullivan was the first architect to have understood that ornamentation of a building is essential in enhancing beauty. His works mainly centered on creating an architectural works dependent on context of the project, with integral ornamentation. Sullivan focused mainly on principle of design rather than preconceived rules. He mainly believed in the principle “form ever follows function” (Dorra 111). From this principle, Sullivan made attempts to fuse his naturalistic ornament with the building’s structure as was seen in Wainwright Building at Saint Louis, Missouri (1890-91) (Dorra 112). The building is a classical example showing how Sullivan used naturalistic orna ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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