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Ornament: What is it, and why architects are returning to it?

Ornament is not essential to architecture but people continue to like it. Perhaps architects need to begin thinking why, after their best efforts to educate them otherwise, they still do. Perhaps the people are right and it is indispensable. The problem is that most architects seem to have lost the knack. Ornament is not on the curriculum. Perhaps it should be.

Architectural review

This is why the Architectural Review has a special issue dedicated  to ornament. We celebrate the emphasis on ‘making’ and craftsmanship of ornament – and consider the challenges architects have historically had with ornament, and why they are increasingly re-engaging with it.


Subscribe today and you can explore this special issue which examines why and how you might use ornament in your practice. It will also give you access to a range of in-depth building studies that will inspire you to look at ornament in a fresh way, these include:


PLUS – you’ll also get access to our new skills feature which offers a unique combination of innovation and practical know-how. Through case studies of exemplary projects you’ll get to see what can be achieved from a specific product type or material due to technological advancements. 


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David Nitecki, Project Manager, Alexander & Associates, Ltd


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