Postmodern, Post-modernism, Post Modern
Post-modernism is a distinctive style recognised from the 1960’s (it’s origin date is a point of debate) to the 1990’s, with its dominance in the 1970’s to 1990’s. In 1966 Robert Venturi describes post-modernism in his book “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture” and built his mother a post-modern house, Vanna Venturi House.
The short life span was due to the “outside the box style”, and most found it confusing and ugly.
To define the style is a contradiction to its existence as it is based on questioning or rejecting the authoritarian constraints of Modernism. In order to simplify Post-modernism, I have narrowed it down to three broad aspects:
1) Be free. Not to follow the constraints set down by any one doctrine, to question and accept differences. Take a look at some of the philosophy of post-modernism:
that truth and error run together, that the notion of truth is used to gain and control power;
Religion is constraining and moralistic, doesn’t hold to the idea of one god, but many gods, and that morality is each’s individual code;
there is no need for international boundaries but rather internationalism and unity;
doesn’t define right or wrong.
In saying that, the style does use characteristics of earlier styles and conventions in its design, such as Art Deco.
2) Breaking down the boundaries. As mentioned, not to stay within set doctrines or believes, but to embrace and mix. In design style this has been carried across to disregarding the distinction between ‘high culture’ and ‘mass popular culture’. To blend the boundary between life and art.
3) To embrace nature. Although Post-modernism moves away from a One God belief to many, it focuses more on ‘Mother Nature’, naturalism and evolution. One of the principles of post-modern architecture is to fit in with the community it is building into, but it is not a copy, but rather sympathetic to it.
Throncrown Chapel in Arkansas from the inside Source
Thorncrown Chapel blends with its surroundings Source
Post-modern architecture is quite distinctive in form, shape and colour. The aim is to be funny, warm and engaging. Unfortunately, for many this has not been embraced, but is rather seen as messy, vague, ugly, superficial. It is this attitude that has caused post-modernism to fall into decline.
The National Museum of Australia on Acton Peninsula. Photo: George Serras.
The Museum Hall. Photo: John Golling
More about the building
Federation Square Melbourne 1997
Federation Square at night compliments the street scape Source
Corner Flinders and Swanston Street Melbourne Source
Inside the Atrium at Federation Square Source
Frank Gehry’s “Fred and Ginger” building, Prague 1994
Post-modernism is considered dead. Here in South Australia, the South Australia Medical Research Institute has finally finished construction.
Inside the SAHMR center. Source
So Post-modernism is still happening, maybe just learning from its own mistakes!
Read my Blog on “Post Modernism Dead – Really!”