What is postmodern architecture and what are its most important concepts and works that caused its prosperity?

Postmodern architecture or postmodernism, a movement that appeared in the 20th century, some of its characteristics are a selective mix of modern designs and concepts to create singular architectural works that aspire to be unlike anything that has come before. Most of the memorable and controversial constructions in the world of architecture belong to the postmodern architectural movement.

Postmodernism originated in the 1960s and 1970s as a critical reaction and response to the dominant modern architecture of the mid-20th century, which postmodern architects perceived as rigid and constructed from modern materials like steel and glass, and lacking in ornament and emotion. Architects of the postmodern movement say that the unrealistic ideas of Modernism as a shape of architecture reachable to the masses had failed and that its cultural time had gone. While modernism was devoted to order and simplicity, postmodernism embraced complexity and contradiction, as argued in an influential 1966 book by postmodern American architect Robert Venturi titled Ambiguity in Architecture.

Most of the successful building of the postmodern movement has its own concepts and personality. It is inspired by a lot of architectural movement and aspects linked with the past, the beauty of the design, and concepts that contain good taste.

Postmodernism flourished during the economic boom of the 1980s and continued into the 1990s, first in the United States and around the world in places like Europe, Japan, and Australia where its influence has spread. Postmodernism influences contemporary architecture until today.

•             Characterized by playfulness, fantasy, humor, irony

•             Particular forms, which break the rules and challenge the dogmatic codes of modernism

•             Use of optical illusion

•             Use of abstraction

•             Use of classic ornamental details taken from past architectural movements

•             Mix of architectural styles and eras

•             Sculptural forms

•             Frequent use in bright color, sometimes in the form of ceramic tiles or colored glass

In 1982, the architect Michael Graves designed the Portland building, which is an office building located in Portland of the United States of America, It belongs to the list of the National Register of historic places in 2011.

Portland building

In 1964, the architects Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi build the Vanna Venturi House, the building is located in the chestnut hill of Philadelphia, the house was built for Venturi’s mother, the house is characterized by its own unusual design and form and broken gable roof, it’s the first building that belongs to the postmodern architecture, the architect wrote a quote about the building and its design and he said that he prefers elements that are hybrid than pure, compromising rather than clear, distorted rather than simple.

Vanna Venturi House

In 1984, The Neue Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart in Germany opened after five years of construction. This art museum was designed by James Sterling, Michael Wilford and Associates and houses a collection of 20th-century modern art.

The Neue Staatsgalerie

In 1994, the architect Terry Farrell and Partners build the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) or M16 building which is located in London. Its original design was inspired by British industrial power plants of the 1930s to Mayan and Aztec temples. The building is practically a character in James Bond films such as GoldenEye (1995), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Skyfall (2012), and Specter (2015).

the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS)

In 1970, the architect Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers built The Pompidou Center, The Pompidou Center made a lot of noises and received a lot of criticism, but in the end, became one of the most attractive places in Paris. This contemporary art museum designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers is a postmodern building whose functional elements, including plumbing and elevators, are visibly moved outward to leave as much room as possible inside for art and people. The colorful anomaly nestled in the heart of majestic 19th century Haussmannian Paris makes it all the more remarkable, even today.

The Pompidou Center

Architect Frank Gehry is considered a postmodern master thanks to iconic buildings such as the Dancing House in Prague or the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, built between 1999 and 2003, which appears to be made from stainless steel wings larger than the life of a fantastic ship.

the Dancing House