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Sam Jacob recreates unbuilt Loos' tomb in Highgate Cemetery

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Sam Jacob Studio has created a 1:1 scale version of Austrian Modernist architect Adolf Loos’ unrealised 1921 design for a mausoleum for art historian Max Dvorák

The tomb was never built, but according to the Architecture Foundation, which commissioned the temporary installation, it has ‘haunted architectural culture ever since’.

The structure, A Very Small Part of Architecture, has been built in Highgate Cemetery as part of the foundation’s Good Grief series of events, exploring loss and rebirth.

Practice founder Sam Jacob said: ‘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.

‘The title of the installation has been taken from Loo’s essay Architecture, in which he said that ‘only a very small part of architecture belongs to the realm of art: The tomb and the monument.’

Original model of Adolf Loos s Mausoleum for Max Dvorak proposed 1921

Original model of Adolf Loos s Mausoleum for Max Dvorak proposed 1921

Original model of Adolf Loos’ Mausoleum for Max Dvorák (as proposed 1921)

Art and architecture critic Joseph Masheck, in his 2013 book Adolf Loos: The Art of Architecture, said of Loos’ mausoleum design: ‘Here then is a radically plain mausoleum consisting of a single square chamber of large stone blocks with a stone-block zigurrat roof: visibly just a box, with a sepulchral categorical supremacy no other building could top as unassailable architecture in the most dogmatically Loosian sense.

‘No one could possibly look at the dark funereal sublimity of the projected Dvorak Mausoleum, his only actual tomb-cum-monument, and suppose that what makes it count absolutely as architecture is anything like ornamentation.

The installation will be open until 10pm tonight (Frdiay 16 September) at Highgate Cemetery, Swain’s Lane, London N6 6QX (click here for more information).

The Good Grief series also included an event delving into the legacy left by Zaha Hadid, who died earlier this year.

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