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Ornament and Structure

Part 2 Dissertation 2022
Katherine Krysiak
University of Nottingham | UK
Since Vitruvian times, ornament had been in a symbiotic relationship with structure. The Enlightenment marked a growing disassociation. There has been a renewed interest in ornament, but with the immense possibilities brought about by advanced technology and fabrication, how can the articulation of ornament and structure connect to people and be affecting?

This study explores the changing relationship between ornament and structure across key case studies. The 19th century idea of ornament as dressing is examined in the Guaranty Building by Sullivan, whilst an intention to unify ornament and structure is examined in the Millard House by Wright. Caruso St John’s Nottingham Contemporary is then looked at as a recent example of ornament that connects to architectural tradition and place.

The articulation of ornament and structure is influenced by social and technological factors. Ornament is expressive, adds order and can convey elements of structure, fact and fiction, shared values, material qualities, or an artist’s vision.

A foundation is set to develop ideas about how a rich, multi-layered relationship between ornament and structure can be achieved by a careful reading of site across time. Ornament can become culturally relevant and accessible, taken beyond a graphic, become spatial, and tied to place.

Katherine Krysiak

Tim Collett
Didem Ekici
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