Professor Frederic J. Schwartz inaugural lecture

Architecture and Crime: Adolf Loos and the Culture of the ‘Case’

Tuesday 17th January, 2012. 6.30 pm, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT.

The lecture will followed by a reception at 7.30pm in the Garden Room, Wilkins Building.


The Austrian architect Adolf Loos, author of the modernist polemic ‘Ornament and Crime’ (1910), was involved in two widely publicized criminal trials during his career. An investigation of his encounters with criminality suggests that his experiences with the press and the courts had implications for both his architectural practice and theory. The publicity surrounding scandals and criminal cases in fin-de-siecle Vienna provided opportunities for the debate of matters of general importance at the time of a deteriorating public sphere. Loos’s architecture, scandals and controversies offer unparalleled insight into the changing configurations of the public at the time.


Frederic J. Schwartz (PhD, Columbia University, New York) has lectured and written widely on Central European art, architecture and design, the historiography of art and the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. His books include The Werkbund: Design Theory and Mass Culture Before the First World War (1996) and Blind Spots: Critical Theory and the History of Art in Twentieth-Century Germany. He was for ten years an editor of the Oxford Art Journal.