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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.95 Santiago abr. 2017 

Works & projects

A very small part of Architecture. Highgate Cemetery, London, England, 2016

Sam Jacob 1  

1 Sam Jacob Studio, London, England.


If a replica is an exact reproduction of an original from which it can be still distinguished, this project explores how much of the initial referent must be left aside in order to achieve something new. Based on an unrealized Adolf Loos design from 1921, the project reproduces its form and function while shifting its materiality and meaning, allowing a discussion vis-à-vis replica and original.

Keywords: replica; monument; tomb; Loos; London

Figure 1 Mausoleum for Max Dvorák (unbuilt), 1921. 

Only a tiny part of architecture comes under art: Monuments. Everything else, everything that serves some practical purpose, should be ejected from the realm of art. Only when we have got rid of the great misunderstanding that art is something that can be harnessed to a practical purpose, only when the fallacious catchphrase "applied art" has disappeared from the vocabulary of all nations, will we have the architecture of our times.

Adolf Loos, "Architecture", 1910 (Loos, 1993:33)

(c) Sara Duncan

Figure 2. 

Commissioned by the Architecture Foundation, Sam Jacob Studio created a replica of an unrealized Adolf Loos mausoleum in Highgate Cemetery, London (home to the graves of Karl Marx, Malcolm McLaren, George Elliot and Patrick Caulfield amongst others).

(c) Harry Mitchell

Figure 3. 

A Very Small Part of Architecture resurrected Austrian Modernist architect Adolf Loos's 1921 design for a mausoleum for art historian Max Dvorák. Though never built, the image of Loos' design has haunted architectural culture ever since. Here the heavy dark and masonic form is recreated at 1:1 scale using a lightweight timber frame and scaffold net: a ghostly reenactment of an unrealized architectural idea.

It takes its title from Loos' essay Architecture (1910) (Loos, 1993) in which he argues that "only a very small part of architecture belongs to the realm of art: the tomb and the monument."

(c) Harry Mitchell

Figure 4. 

Built within Highgate Cemetery, amongst the many monuments and memorials to the dead, A Very Small Part of Architecture makes a different kind of memorial. Not one dedicated to a person, an event or a moment in time, not designed to remember the past but instead to imagine other possibilities, altered presents and alternative futures.

otras posibilidades, presentes alterados y futuros alternativos.

(c) Sara Duncan

Figure 5. 

The project is the latest in a series by Sam Jacob Studio that explore the role of the replica and the copy in architecture and design. It also includes the public artwork mk Menhir; Dar Abu Said, a 3d scanned replica of a shelter form the migrant camp in Calais shown at the Venice Biennale; as well as Twice Removed, a collaborative design process currently shown at Etage Projects, Copenhagen.

(c) Sara Duncan

Figure 6. 

A very small part of architecture

Architects: Sam Jacob Studio

Commissioner: Architecture Foundation

Engineering: AKTII

Location: Highgate Cemetery, London, England

Year: 2016


LOOS, Adolf. Escritos II. Madrid: El Croquis Editorial, 1993. [ Links ]

Creative Commons License Este es un artículo publicado en acceso abierto bajo una licencia Creative Commons