Where postmodern architecture is most popular?

Postmodern architecture emerged in the 1970s and became most popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Some regions where postmodern architectural styles and buildings gained significant popularity include:

  • United States – Postmodern architecture was embraced in the US as a reaction against the modernist/International Style that had dominated American architecture in previous decades. Major US cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Portland, and Miami feature prominent postmodern buildings.
  • Europe – Postmodernism made some inroads in European architecture, although modernism remained more dominant there. Some of the most famous examples of postmodern buildings are in Europe, like the Pompidou Center in Paris. Germany also saw substantial postmodern architecture in major cities like Berlin.
  • Japan – Japanese architects produced many postmodern buildings through the 80s/90s, often playing with bold shapes, abstract designs, and technological themes reminiscent of Japanese Metabolism architecture. Architects like Arata Isozaki created postmodern buildings across Japan.
  • Australia – Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne contain various postmodern structures, including colorful and sculptural commercial buildings. Prominent Australian architects like Ashton Raggatt McDougall created postmodern designs.

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Postmodern architecture is a style of building design that emerged in the late 20th century as a reaction against the dogmas and ideals of modernism and the international style. It is a movement characterized by an often irreverent and eclectic mishmash of classic and modern styles to create singular works of architecture that aspire to look like nothing that has come before.

Postmodern architecture is an eclectic, colourful style of architecture and the decorative arts that appeared from the late 1970s and continues in some form today in 2024. It emerged as a reaction to Modernism and the Modern Movement and the dogmas associated with it.

Key facets of postmodern architecture visible today in 2024 include:

  • Sculptural forms and manipulated geometries that draw attention and subvert modernist orthodoxy
  • The fusion and collision of elements from vastly different architectural vocabularies and eras
  • Cultural commentary conveyed through design including irony and paradoxical relationships
  • Rejection of the idea that buildings must conform to narrow definitions of function or construction purity

By the 1970s Modernism had begun to seem elitist and exclusive, despite its democratic intentions. Postmodern architecture was a way to break free from the constraints of Modernism and to embrace a more playful, ironic, and individualistic approach to design.

A postmodern drawing of a modern house with a pool.
A postmodern drawing of a modern house with a pool.

Postmodern architecture is often associated with a sense of irony, playfulness, and irreverence. It is a style that is characterized by a mix of historical references, pop culture, and kitsch.

Postmodern architects often use elements of classical architecture, such as columns, arches, and pediments, but they do so in a way that is ironic and self-referential. They also often incorporate elements of popular culture, such as neon signs, bright colours, and kitschy ornaments, to create buildings that are visually striking and memorable.

Postmodern architecture - Historical Context

Postmodern architecture emerged in the late 1950s as a reaction against the austerity, formality, and lack of variety of modern architecture, particularly in the international style advocated by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock.

The movement was introduced by the architect and urban planner Denise Scott Brown and architectural theorist Robert Venturi in their book, “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture,” published in 1966.

Emergence of Postmodernism

Postmodern architecture was a response to the modernist movement, which had dominated architecture since the early 20th century. Modernism was characterized by a focus on functionalism, simplicity, and the use of new materials and technologies.

Postmodernism, on the other hand, embraced complexity, ornamentation, and a mix of historical and contemporary styles.

Contrast to Modernism

Postmodern architecture rejected the notion that there was a single “correct” way to design buildings. Instead, architects were encouraged to experiment with different styles, materials, and forms.

Postmodern buildings often incorporated historical references, such as classical columns or Gothic arches, alongside modern elements.

A black and white postmodern architecture drawing of a house.
A black and white postmodern architecture drawing of a house.

Some of the most prominent features of postmodern architecture include:

Eclecticism: Postmodern buildings freely mix elements from vastly different stylistic vocabularies, from classical columns to high-tech metal cladding to cultural symbols. This eclectic and playful collage of forms is a hallmark.

Shape and Silhouette Manipulation: Postmodern structures often have bold, unusual shapes with manipulated geometries – tilted, curved, warped. The silhouette is sculpturesque and attention-grabbing.

Color and Ornamentation: Vibrant colors, decorative patterns, and ornamental fixtures are used across postmodern buildings. This contrasts modernism’s austerity.

Historicism and Symbolism: Architects reference historic building styles like neoclassical and Gothic through modern recreations of columns, pediments, arches, etc. Symbolic forms are also added.

Rejection of Rules: Postmodernism defied modernist conventions like “form follows function,” instead prioritizing visual effect. It didn’t conform to consistency and order.

Whimsy and Humor: Buildings sometimes have a playful, witty, ironic character through the borrowing and morphing of past idioms. The architecture becomes communicative.

Multiple Interpretations: Postmodern buildings allow for plural meanings, meant to be read and decoded differently by each viewer based on cultural references.

In total, postmodern architecture tends to be bold, contradictory, and engaging on multiple levels. It embraces the complexity of communicating ideas.

Influential Postmodern Architects

Several architects played a significant role in the development of postmodern architecture.

  • Charles Moore was one of the earliest proponents of the movement, and his building designs often incorporated playful elements and bright colors.
  • Philip Johnson, who had been a leading figure in the modernist movement, also embraced postmodernism later in his career.
  • Other influential architects included Denise Scott Brown and her husband Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, James Stirling, Aldo Rossi, and Charles Jencks.

Postmodern architecture represented a significant departure from the modernist movement that had dominated architecture for several decades.

The movement embraced complexity, ornamentation, and a mix of historical and contemporary styles, and encouraged architects to experiment with different forms and materials.

Who is the most know modernist of all times?

The most well-known and influential modernist architect of all time is generally considered to be Le Corbusier. 

An illustration of a Le Corbusier standing in front of a postmodern building.
An illustration of a Le Corbusier standing in front of a postmodern building.

Some key reasons why Le Corbusier stands out as the quintessential modernist architect include:

  • Pioneering Designs: Le Corbusier was responsible for designing some of the most groundbreaking and paradigm-shifting modernist buildings in the 1920s and 1930s that set the tone for everything that came after. Key buildings like Villa Savoye and Unité d’Habitation became icons of the movement.
  • Writing and Theory: Beyond just buildings, Le Corbusier was prolific in writing texts that codified and spread key modernist architectural theory about functionalism, rationalism, open plans, and more. Books like Towards a New Architecture and The City of Tomorrow had immense influence.
  • Urban Planning: Le Corbusier sought to reform cities through his radical modernist urban planning models like the Contemporary City design. His visions cemented views of modernism’s ability to engineer utopian social change through design at the largest scales.
  • Global Reach: Le Corbusier’s works, writings, and urban schemes spread the modernist vision far beyond Europe to have formative impacts as far as Brazil, India, the United States and beyond through students, admirers, and disciples seeking to spread his ideals for architecture globally.

While other architects like Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright drove major aspects of modernism, Le Corbusier as a central figure most cogently synthesized the aesthetics and ideology of the movement to emerge as its enduring face and legislator even today.

Defining Characteristics of Postmodern Architecture

Postmodern architecture is a style that emerged in the late 20th century as a response to the rigidity and minimalism of modernism. It is characterized by a number of defining characteristics that set it apart from other architectural styles.

Architectural Elements

Postmodern architecture often features a mix of traditional and modern design elements. It incorporates a variety of materials, including glass, steel, and concrete, and often incorporates ornamental details.

Buildings may include asymmetrical shapes and forms, and may be decorated with signs and symbols.

Design Philosophy

Postmodern architecture is characterized by a rejection of the dogmatic principles of modernism.

Some of the key dogmatic principles of modernist architecture include:

Functionalism: The notion that the form of a building should directly arise from and reflect its function and purpose. “Form follows function” was a guiding mantra.

Rationalism: The belief that architecture should be rooted in a reasoned, logical approach to design, with an emphasis on order, simplicity, and clarity.

Universality: The idea that architectural forms should transcend culture, locale, and history to embody universal truths and utility.

Minimalism: A pared-down aesthetic avoiding ornament and decoration. Design elements should be reduced to their essentials.

Abstraction: Architectural geometry, shapes, and forms are distilled into abstract compositions, devoid of representation or metaphor.

Transparency: Buildings should communicate their inner functions through extensive use of glass, steel, and other transparent materials.

Progressivism: Embracing technological advancement in materials and construction while rejecting historical styles as irrelevant.

Utopianism: Architecture expresses optimism in the future and a belief that design can positively shape society.

Rather than adhering to strict rules of form and function, postmodern architects sought to create buildings that were more playful and expressive. They embraced wit, contradiction, and complexity, and often incorporated humor into their designs.

An artist's rendering of a postmodern courtyard.
An artist's rendering of a postmodern courtyard.

Postmodern architecture is inclusive, ironic, historically aware, metaphorical, and outright rejects the constraints that functionalist modernism placed upon building design. The styles represent opposing forces in many ways.

Eclecticism vs. Universalism: Postmodernism embraced rapidly shifting modes of expression in architecture with highly eclectic buildings, rather than trying to conform to some universal modernist style.

Symbolism vs. Abstraction: Postmodern structures make metaphorical references and communicate ideas directly through symbolic ornamentation as opposed to modernism’s geometric abstraction.

Whimsy vs. Seriousness: Postmodernism introduced levity, irony, parody and playfulness into architectural design, eschewing the seriousness of modernist dogma.

Historicism vs. Progressivism: Postmodernism borrowed, remixed and made allusions to previous historical eras from classicism to Victorian, while modernism focused only on advancing technology and innovation.

Artistic Freedom vs. Functionalism: Postmodern structures feel more freely composed like sculpture according to the architect’s imagination rather than rigidly following function.

Plurality vs. Singularity: Postmodernism allowed for pluralism and multiple meanings/modes of expression versus modernism’s unitary style and utopian narratives.

Use of Symbols (semiotics) and Forms

Postmodern architecture often incorporates signs and symbols into its designs.

These symbols may be drawn from a variety of sources, including historical architecture, popular culture, and everyday objects. Buildings may also feature ornamental details, such as columns, arches, and pediments, that are used in unexpected ways.

Postmodern architecture is a complex and multi-faceted style that incorporates a wide range of influences and design elements. By rejecting the rigidity of modernism and embracing a more playful and expressive approach to design, postmodern architects created buildings that were both visually striking and intellectually stimulating.

Semiotics, or the study of signs and symbols, played a significant role in postmodern architecture. Architects began to incorporate elements of symbolism and metaphor into their designs, using them to communicate meaning to the viewer.

This approach was exemplified by the work of Hans Hollein and Michael Graves, who used historical references and playful imagery to create buildings that were both visually striking and intellectually engaging.

Hans Hollein, an Austrian architect, designer, and professor, was a key figure in the postmodern architectural era. He is known for his museum designs, particularly the Abteiberg Museum in Mönchengladbach, Germany. 

His other notable works include the Haas House and the Albertina extension in Vienna, the Museum of Glass and Ceramics in Tehran, Iran, and the Retti Candle Shop in Vienna, Austria. Hollein’s design philosophy was encapsulated in his essay “Everything is Architecture,” which served as a manifesto for the Postmodern era.

Michael Graves, an American architect and designer, was a member of The New York Five and the Memphis Group. He is best known for his architectural works such as the Portland Building, the Humana Building, the Ministry of Culture in The Hague, and the expansion of the Denver Public Library.

Graves also designed numerous commissions for Disney. In addition to his architectural works, Graves designed more than 2,000 household objects for Alessi, Steuben, and Target, making him a household name.

Notable Postmodern architecture Works

Postmodern architecture is known for its eclectic mix of styles and forms, and many of its notable works reflect this approach.

From landmark buildings to urban projects, postmodern architecture has left an indelible mark on the built environment.

Landmark Buildings

Portland Building 

One of the most well-known examples of postmodern architecture is the Portland Building in Portland, Oregon as administrative offices for the City of Portland. Designed by Michael Graves in 1982, the building features a colorful facade and playful decorative elements that depart from the sleek, minimalist aesthetic of modernism.

It is recognized as an award-winning example of Postmodern architecture and was later placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was built at a cost of US$29 million which in today’s rates is $92,326,649 and opened on October 2, 1982.

The construction of the Portland Building was a significant architectural event as it was considered groundbreaking at the time for its postmodern design. The building features a variety of symbolic elements on its facades and was designed to stand in contrast to the functional Modernist architecture that was prevalent during that period.

In terms of the construction process, the building was developed by a team that included Michael Graves as the architect, with Emery Roth & Sons, and structural engineering by Desimone Consulting Engineers. The main contractor for the original construction was Hoffman Construction, along with Pavarini Mcgovern Construction.

The Portland Building is not only an example of architectural innovation but also a testament to the city’s commitment to preserving and updating its infrastructure to serve the needs of its employees and the community for years to come.

Vanna Venturi House

Another notable work is the Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Designed by Robert Venturi in 1964, the house is considered a seminal work of postmodern architecture, with its mix of classical and modern elements and playful, asymmetrical facade.

The house was designed as a response to the modernist architectural movement, with Venturi using the house as a platform to challenge the modernist principles of simplicity and functionality. 

Vanna Venturi lived in the house from 1964 to 1973, and Robert Venturi also resided there for a short time.

After Vanna Venturi moved out, the house was bought by historian Thomas P Hughes and his wife, artist Agatha C Hughes, as a private residence, and later inherited by their daughter. 

The house was sold to another local buyer in 2016 for $1.325 million

The house’s design includes a variety of unconventional elements, such as a pitched roofline and a functionless arch, which were clear departures from modernist principles. Despite its small size of 1,800 square feet, the house was a full-scale experiment for Venturi to test his sometimes-contrarian ideologies.

The Vanna Venturi House has been recognized for its architectural significance. In 2012, it was awarded the AIA Philadelphia Landmark Building Award. 

It was also added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 2016, providing the home with preservation protection. 

Despite its fame, Robert Venturi insisted he wasn’t trying to create a new movement with the design of the house. Instead, he saw it as a response to the narrow constraints and purist principles of modernism

Urban Projects

Piazza d’Italia

Postmodern architecture has also had an impact on urban design, with notable projects such as the Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Piazza d’Italia is a renowned public space located in the Warehouse District of New Orleans, USA. It was designed by postmodern architect Charles Moore and completed in 1978.

The Piazza was conceived as both a memorial to the city’s Italian community and an urban redevelopment project. 

The contributions of the Italian community had been largely overshadowed by those of the French, Spanish, African, and Native Americans, according to the Italian-American community leaders who commissioned the project.

The design of the Piazza d’Italia is characterized by its vibrant colors, playful elements, and architectural references to the Roman Forum.

It features colonnades, arches, and a bell tower arranged in a curving formation around a fountain.

The centerpiece of the water feature is a cascading St. Joseph’s Fountain in the shape of a map of Italy.

Two faces carved into the wall in Moore’s image spit water into a pool. A large rectangular clock tower holds a gate for access from Lafayette Street. 

In the center of the Piazza, a column rises up with the Latin inscription, “FONS SANCTI JOSEPHI. HVNC FONTEM CIVES NOVI AVRELIANI TOTO POPULO DONO DEDERUNT.” This means, “The Fountain of St. Joseph: The citizens of New Orleans have given this to all the people as a gift”

Despite its initial acclaim, the Piazza d’Italia suffered from decades of neglect due to the surrounding area remaining underdeveloped.

However, it was fully restored in 2004, and a second renovation starting in 2013 re-added the clock tower and completed further restoration. The space was reopened to the public in November 2019. The Piazza d’Italia is considered an icon of postmodern architecture and a manifestation of Moore’s ideas of an “inclusive” architecture, which can speak to and be enjoyed by anyone.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Another example is the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. Designed by Frank Gehry in 2003, it is a deconstructionist-style building. The concert hall features a striking stainless steel exterior and undulating forms that depart from the rectilinear geometry of modernism.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, located at 111 South Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, California, is an internationally recognized architectural landmark and one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. 

It was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and serves as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

The story of the Walt Disney Concert Hall began in 1987 when Lillian Disney, the widow of Walt Disney, donated $50 million to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and as a tribute to her husband’s devotion to the arts and the city.

The project, however, faced numerous challenges and delays, with construction costs escalating to $265 million, well above Lillian Disney’s initial donation. Despite these hurdles, the hall was finally completed and opened on October 23, 2003.

The hall is known for its distinctive design, featuring sweeping curves of stainless steel that resemble silver sails.

Inside, the warm, Douglas fir-lined interior houses 2,265 steeply raked seats that surround the stage, creating an intimate and immersive experience for concertgoers. 

This design was influenced by Ernest Fleischmann, former Executive Director of the LA Phil, who felt that balconies and boxes reinforced a social hierarchy and that proscenium arches separated players from the audience

Cultural Impact

Postmodern architecture has had a significant impact on the cultural landscape, with many of its works listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Groninger Museum

One such work is the Groninger Museum in Groningen, Netherlands. The Groninger Museum in Groningen, Netherlands, is a modern and contemporary art museum that has become an architectural and cultural landmark since its establishment. The museum was originally founded in 1874, but it gained significant attention with the opening of its new building in 1994.

This new structure was designed by Italian architect Alessandro Mendini, who collaborated with other designers and architects, including Philipe Starck, Michele de Lucchi, and Coop Himmelb(l)au, to create a vibrant and eclectic space.

The museum’s design is characterized by its colorful and post-modernist style, which stands out as a unique addition to the cityscape of Groningen. The building features a series of pavilions, each designed by a different designer, which together challenge traditional museum and architectural values.

The central part of the building, which includes the entrance and heart of the museum, was entirely designed by Mendini.

The museum has undergone revitalization efforts, including a large-scale project in 2010, to ensure that it continues to serve as a dynamic space for art and culture. 

It has become a beloved institution in Groningen, attracting visitors with its diverse collection and engaging exhibitions.

Dancing House

Another notable work is the Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic. Designed by Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunic in 1996, the building features a distinctive, sculptural form that departs from the rectilinear geometry of modernism.

The Dancing House, also known as “Fred and Ginger,” is a distinctive modern building located in Prague, Czech Republic. The site of the Dancing House was originally occupied by an apartment building that was destroyed during the U.S. bombing of Prague in 1945. The plot remained vacant until 1992 when the Dutch insurance company Nationale-Nederlanden purchased the land.

The Dancing House was designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in collaboration with the renowned Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.

The design process took place from 1992 to 1996. 

The building’s design is a unique example of deconstructivist architecture, with its dynamic form disrupting the traditional architectural landscape of Prague, which is known for its Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau buildings

The building’s design is metaphorically referred to as the Dancing House or “Ginger and Fred,” named after the famous dancers Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. The design features two central pillars that represent dancing partners, giving the building a unique sense of movement. The male part of the dancing couple is represented by a rock tower, and the woman is symbolized by a glass tower.

The Dancing House is a symbol of the post-communist era in the Czech Republic and represents the transition from a communist regime to a parliamentary democracy

Postmodern vs other types

Postmodern vs modern architecture

While modernism placed emphasis on social progress through sleek functionalist buildings, postmodernism reconceptualized architecture’s role through communicative buildings that inspire multiple interpretations. Both movements transformed architectural discourse in their respective eras.

Aesthetics

Modernist buildings are typically devoid of ornamentation with simple, geometric forms following the principle that “form follows function.” Postmodern structures, on the other hand, feature colorful, eclectic styles with ornamentation and symbolic elements that communicate meaning. The main difference is modernism’s functionalist austerity versus postmodernism’s playful pluralism.

Goals

The aim of modernist architecture was to use new materials and technologies to craft buildings suited for modern living, with a focus on improving society. To do this, it rejected past architectural styles. Alternatively, postmodern architecture reacted against modernist detachment and uniformity through irony and humor while embracing historical reference.

Meaning

Modernist buildings derive meaning from abstraction and openness with the goal of occupants imparting significance through use. Postmodern buildings, in contrast, impart meaning themselves directly through symbolism and reference embedded in the structures.

Façades

Modernist façades typically have simple, geometric forms and no ornamentation, driven by internal function. Postmodern façades feature colorful, symbolic designs with unusual shapes, historical references, and sculpture-like protrusions that communicate meaning. The key divergence is modernism’s blank austerity versus postmodernism’s stylistic play.

Interiors

Modernist interiors are stripped down with lots of open space, glass, and metal, prioritizing utility and occupant flexibility. Alternatively, postmodern interiors employ elaborate symbolic ornamentation with extensively customized details, seeking to impart meaning through the space itself.

Postmodern vs metamodern architecture

Postmodernism broke conventions through irreverence and collage, while metamodernism thoughtfully reconciles old and new approaches to resonate with today’s world. Both transitioned architecture to new paradigms that question presumed certainties.

Aesthetics

Postmodern buildings feature eclectic, symbolic designs with bold shapes, while metamodern structures have an abstract yet contextual aesthetic, focused on simplicity and function. The key difference is postmodernism’s playful collision of styles versus metamodernism’s connection of modernist forms to communicate meaning.

Philosophy

Postmodern architecture rejects modernism’s assumed truths and grand narratives through irony and bricolage. Metamodern architecture seeks to rehabilitate social vision and sincerity from modernism with more nuance and plurality. The core divergence is postmodernism’s disbelief versus metamodernism’s re-engagement.

Innovation

Postmodern buildings innovate through distortion of historical elements and dramatic silhouettes made possible by new technologies. Metamodern architecture innovates by approaching design challenges with a beginner’s mindset open to situations impacting context and communities.

Façades

Postmodern façades feature eclectic, symbolic designs with unusual shapes and historical references. Metamodern façades have an abstract yet contextual aesthetic, with forms inspired by local conditions and needs. The key divergence is postmodernism’s collage-like approach versus metamodernism’s pursuit of responsiveness.

Interiors

Interiors of postmodern buildings use ironic, lavish ornamentation with extensively customized details. Metamodern interiors focus on flexibility and multifunctionality, with reconfigurable neutral components brought together by unifying elements. The main contrast is between postmodernism’s pluralism and metamodernism’s adaptability.

Postmodern vs contemporary architecture

Postmodern buildings are provocative critiques of modernism, while contemporary structures synthesize global needs and contexts into unified, humanistic designs. Both introduced more socially-conscious paradigms, but took different approaches.

Aesthetics

Postmodern buildings have colorful, symbolic designs with unusual shapes, while contemporary structures have minimalist forms brought together in simple, integrated complexes. The main difference is postmodernism’s collage-like stylistic collisions versus contemporary architecture’s sleek cohesion.

Goals

Postmodern architecture aimed to criticize modernism using irony and explicit symbolism to communicate ideas. Contemporary architecture seeks to optimize buildings for context, sustainability, and human use with subtle integrated messaging.

Meaning

Meaning in postmodern buildings derives from stylistic irony and metaphor made possible by advancing technology. In contemporary architecture, meaning arises from holistic design concerned with human experience, ecology, and social context.

Façades

Postmodern building façades have colorful, fragmented designs with unusual shapes, historical references, and sculpture-like forms. Contemporary façades employ more minimalist shapes or dynamic angled geometries unified through simple materials like glass and metal. The key divergence is postmodernism’s collage-style approach versus contemporary’s pursuit of integrated coherence.

Interiors

Interiors of postmodern structures use lavish ornamentation with bold patterns, symbolism, irony, and extensively customized details. Contemporary interiors highlight open, multifunctional spaces using neutral elements, lots of natural light, and adaptable modular components. The main contrast is between postmodernism’s eclectic theatricality and contemporary minimalism tailored for flexibility.

Criticism and Reception

Academic Perspectives

Postmodern architecture has been the subject of much academic debate and critique. Critics argue that the style is too eclectic and lacks a coherent design philosophy. 

Some have even gone so far as to call it “controversial” and “divisive”. However, defenders of postmodernism argue that its eclecticism is a strength, allowing for a greater range of expression and experimentation.

One of the most prominent postmodern architects is Alessandro Mendini, who was known for his playful and colorful designs. Mendini’s work has been both celebrated and criticized for its use of bright colors and unusual shapes. Some critics argue that his designs are too whimsical and lack a serious aesthetic.

His supporters argue that his work represents a refreshing break from the strict formalism of modernism.

Public Opinion

Postmodern architecture has also been the subject of public scrutiny and opinion. Some people find the style to be too flashy and ostentatious, while others appreciate its playful and eclectic nature. In the 1980s, postmodern architecture was seen as a symbol of the excesses of the era, with its emphasis on ornamentation and decoration.

In 2024 there has been renewed interest in the style, with many architects and designers revisiting its principles and ideas.

Influence and Legacy

Postmodern architecture had a significant impact on later movements in architecture and design. It challenged the dogmas and ideals of the modernist and International Style movements, which had dominated architecture for decades.

Postmodernism rejected the strict functionalism of modernism and instead embraced a more eclectic and playful approach to design.

Impact on Later Movements

Postmodern architecture influenced many later movements, including Deconstructivism and the Arts and Crafts movement.

Deconstructivist architects, such as Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, were inspired by postmodernism’s rejection of the strictures of modernism and its emphasis on form and ornament.

The Arts and Crafts movement, which emerged in the late 19th century, also rejected the mass-produced, machine-made aesthetic of modernism and embraced a more traditional, handmade approach to design.

Postmodernism’s influence can also be seen in contemporary architecture. Many architects continue to embrace postmodernism’s rejection of the strict functionalism of modernism and its emphasis on ornamentation and playfulness.

For example, the recently completed Vessel in New York City’s Hudson Yards development is a playful, postmodern structure that invites visitors to climb its many stairs and take in the views of the city.

Postmodernism Today

Postmodernism continues to be a controversial and divisive style of architecture. Some critics argue that it is a superficial and cynical style that lacks the depth and rigor of modernism. Others argue that it is a necessary corrective to the excesses of modernism and that it allows for a more playful and expressive approach to design.

Despite its critics, postmodernism remains an important and influential style of architecture. Its rejection of the strictures of modernism and its emphasis on form and ornamentation continue to inspire architects and designers around the world.