Post Modern Architecture



Post modern architecture was predominantly a reaction to and reversal of the Modern Architectural movement which was dominant from the turn of the 20th Century.


The Modern Movement by the decade of the 1970's had developed an elitist persona with a building style that was looking formal, austere, lacking variety and failing the public in creating aesthetically pleasing and inclusive public housing which was a major focus of criticism of architects in the early 1970's


Origins for this movement can be found in the 1960's, with one main advocate for change Robert Venturi, an American architect writing an influential academic book "Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture" which still has influences to this day.


Venturi encouraged the development of the Post Modern Movement in his book by discussing how the use of inconsistencies, ambiguity, the use of unusual materials, incorporating historical elements from past architectural movements, would create a less austere architectural style that the Modern Architectural movement followed at the time the book was published.


Venturi's book helped re educate and open the eyes of not just the architectural world but town planners and critics of building style to allow them to realize that buildings are built for people not for a movement and that a building should draw from many historical facets, and variety incorporating vernacular references for the locality that the building was to be constructed in.


Key features of Post Modernist Architecture include the use of bright colours, using classical motifs with a modern slant, using many different building materials and various shapes and forms with the option to add humour and playfulness into the building structure, Other notable structural designs are forms that are based on non traditional shapes for a building, as an example of this is the Sydney Opera House with the reference to sailing ships clearly in its construction.


However its playful and alternative designs have caused criticism to be targeted at the movement being called superficial. Fredric Jameson, an American Literary critic has been quoted as saying post modern architecture is "the cultural logic of late capitalism"


Notable Architects that advocated the post modern movement were Frank Gehry, Cesar Pelli, James Stirling, Robert Venturi, Terry Farrell, William Pederson


There are many examples of the Post Modern Movement, some of the most famous buildings include


Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany - James Sterling 1984
AT&T Building, New York, USA - John Burgee - 1984
Portland Building, Portland, Oregon - Michael Graves - 1982
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain - Frank Gehry - 1997
MI6 building, London, United Kingdom - Terry Farell - 1994
British Library London - Colin St John WIlson - 1997

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© 2017 Alec Boreham