Voluptuous Space

In the Boudoir: Intimate Space and Erotic Places

Encoding the Erotic

Adolf Loos: The Erotics of Sensed Space

Le Corbusier: The Erotics of the Free Plan

Mies van der Rohe: The Erotics of Intensity

Veil and Lure

Carlo Mollino: Surrealism and Optical Eroticism

Modern Architecture and the Erotics of Space



© 2001 Anne Troutman

    The role of intimacy and eroticism in western modern architectural culture is a largely unwritten dimension of modernism. Veil & Lure traces the re-emergence and transformation of the erotic within 20th century modernist architecture--an erotics of space that underlies and exceeds the modernist narratives of rationality, functionality and transparency.    

   Veil & Lure begins in the early modern era of 18th century France with a brief analysis of the spatial, social, political, and aesthetic strategies of the boudoir and the petit maison to suggest the historical roots and a vocabulary of themes and characteristics of the erotic in the context of modern architecture. The bulk of the essays focus on the erotic dimension in the work of three seminal 20th century modern architects, Adolf Loos, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe, at the apex of high modernism in 1929.                    

    Underlying the abstract but sensual aesthetics of high modernism in late 1920s and early 1930s in Europe, and informed by the optical erotics of surrealism, the elusive and protean aspects of eroticism always exceed the material and formal language of architecture. The erotic comprises a sort of architectural ‘id’--unconscious, instinctive, primitive, signaling its fleeting but phenomenal presence in the continuous surface, blurred boundary, an almost physical handling of light and palpable sense of space, features which enliven contemporary modernist architecture and continue to spark the cultural imagination today.


Inside Fear

The Modernist Boudoir

Veil & Lure


Veil & Lure

Modern Architecture and the Erotics of Space