Turncoats: Ornament is Crime is Crime

Is the 'less-is-more' culture elitist and suffocating? The third in a series of debates rugby tackling six fundamental issues facing contemporary practice


06:30pm, Wednesday, 27 January 2016


09:30pm, Wednesday, 27 January 2016


Hoxton Hall


Free, but booking is essential.

This is a past event

Turncoats is a project by Phineas Harper, Robert Mull and Maria Smith, supported by the Architecture Foundation.

This debate is one in a series created by Maria Smith, Phineas Harper and Robert Mull. Each is theatrically provocative presenting combative propositions challenging six aspects of architectural practice.

The Proposition

We are conditioned to believe that ornament is crime, that less is more. In fact this so-called wisdom stems not from deep human insights nor profound spiritual truths, but from age-old middle-class snobbery. It’s time to abolish the lies around ‘refinement’ and material lust. Within the constraints of contemporary practice, restrained ‘truth to materials’ only works for the wealthy - the normal-person's version is horrendous and depressing casting class divides in concrete. We must abolish this crude consensus before it irreparably wrecks the experiential and social richness of our environment.

The Debators

Rory Hyde is Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Bertie Brandes co-founded the satirical fashion magazine, The Mushpit. She is a stylist and journalist regularly contributing to i-D, the Guardian, Dazed and Vice where she was Fashion Editor.
Adam Nathaniel Furman is founder of the Postmodern Society. He is an architect, furniture designer and curator. Among many other projects he runs the research cluster Saturated Space which investigates the role of colour in the built environment.
Jane Hall co-founded Assemble who recently rocked the art world by becoming the first architecture firm to scoop the Turner Prize. She formerly worked at art and architecture firm, Studio Weave and is stuyding a PhD on Brazilian Modernist, Lina Bo Bardi.


Charles Holland is co-founder of Ordinary Architecture. Previously he was a director of FAT where he was responsible for a number of the firm’s key projects including A House for Essex, Islington Square and Thornton Heath Library.