Before we can explore postmodern architects, we must have an understanding of what postmodern actually means. The dictionary definition of postmodern is ‘something that comes after modern’ but that seems even more confusing – modern is what we think of as the here and now so what do we mean by what comes after and how can that possibly relate to buildings that have already been built?
When used as a term to describe art and architecture postmodernism is about refusing to recognise any one concept or principle as an absolute truth. It began in earnest in the 1970s, although some of our favourite examples predate that, and is determinedly anti-authoritarian – challenging any single style or definition of what art and design ‘should be’.
So now we understand, postmodern design moves away from classic theories, recognised structures and historical patterns and are based solely on the imagination and perceived reality of the artist or architect. When we apply it specifically to architecture it represents a change in the way that people design; a creativity not seen in every day buildings and structures and an imagination that surpasses the ordinary.
Postmodern architecture, put simply, is forward thinking design that’s ahead of its time and does away with the more common architectural design of the era. It looks instead towards an innovative merging of styles and structures limited only by the imagination of the creator.
Whether you love them or hate them postmodern buildings are memorable and their architects are heralded as masters of design and creativity. Here are some examples that we love and that have further inspired our work here at Rossbanna…
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Stata Centre and Guggenheim, Bilbao by Frank Gehry – with bold lines, definitive colours, whimsical segments and sweeping curves.
MIT Stata Centre and Guggenheim by Frank Gehry
Disney’s Dolphin and Swan Hotels by Michael Graves – a fantasy scape of imaginative colour and light, designed for Disney theme parks and evoking feelings of luxury, excitement and surrealism.
Piazza d’Italia by Charles Moore. Flowing circles, steel columns and clean lines. Sadly, this has now fallen into disrepair and is recognised as the first ‘postmodern ruin’
Rock and Roll Home of Fame by I. M. Pei – a blend of geometric shapes with clean, crisp lines that looks like it defies gravity but is in fact perfectly and beautifully balanced.
Rock and Roll Home of Fame by I. M. Pei
One of our favourite postmodern architects predates the movement by around 40 years and was very ahead of his time. Le Corbusier was a Swiss born artist and architect whose paintings and buildings emphasised clear forms, lines and structures. Some of the best examples of his work remain famous to this day, including Ville Savoye, Notre Dame du Haut in Romchamp and La Roche-Jeanneret Project in Paris. Beautiful and inspiring examples of sleek geometry, impossibly thin pillars, sweeping slopes and clever features to optimise light. We are inspired by artists like Le Corbusier, our aim is to capture the same beauty, simplicity and elegance in our designs to capture the imaginations and hearts of our customers.