Infoscience

Conference paper

The Redefinition of Ornament: Using Programming and CNC Manufacturing

Architectural ornament, the art of decorative patterning, is commonly perceived as an historical characteristic for architecture which declined in the beginning of the 20th century. The lecture of Adolf Loos in 1908 “Ornament and Crime” [1] can certainly be seen as a crucial contribution in the architectural discussion about the exclusion of ornament. Although the modernist emphasis on unadorned form, the upcoming international style and the replacement of craftsmanship by the rise of mass production yielded to a systematic elimination of ornament, we are experiencing its revival in contemporary architecture through experiments using digital technologies. New concepts and procedures of surface modeling and texturing, have lent themselves to rediscovering ornament, and the related computer numerically controlled manufacturing (CNC manufacturing) processes are being used to compensate for the declining skills of the artisans. Our ongoing research, teaching, and professional activities using new digital processes have found success in the architecture of the present, both in the revitalization of historical buildings, and in a new “reinterpretation” of ornament applied to contemporary architecture and allowing for an interesting integration into a historical context.

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