Talk:Postmodern architecture

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Postmodernism series[edit]

I've created a template feel free to add other important examples of postmodernism - broadly defined - in this template so that readers can gain a better understanding of the terms involved by comparing and contrasting their use over several articles. Stirling Newberry 17:21, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Since the page is linked from the "History of Western Architecture" template, I've added the template to the page; not sure how best to arrange it with having both the Architecture & the Postmodernism templates to have it look less cluttered, and they're definitely both quite relevant. Grsing 15:32, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Gehry and Bilbao[edit]

I'm new at this discussion page so lets see if this works. But I wanted to note: Bilbao is Deconstructivist. not post modernist. So I'm going to take it out. actually, Gehry as a whole is DeCon (since, for one main reason, he makes no reference to any past styles whatsoever), so I'm going to get rid of the refrence to him as well.

Gehry can sometimes be considered postmodern as well as his forms are a rejection of the modern aesthetic. Take his Chiat Day building for example with the sculpture by Clas Oldenberg. But you're right that he is deconstructivist, maybe it's better to include a link to deconstructivism??

This article might also be considered part of the "History of Western Architecture" series. How to reconcile series boxes? Burschik 10:52, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Postmodern architecture[edit]

  • When we say post-modernism we traditionally think of architecture. What is the post modern architecture?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .
  • There should be more examples of postmodern buildings on here. This article needs a lot of work. --Kalmia 15:42, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Sydney Opera House[edit]

I don't have sources for this, and maybe public perception is wrong, but when people think of post-modernist architecture, people think of the Syndey Opera House. This should maybe be one of the added photos. Am I right, am I wrong?

The SOH has no pre-modernism references that I can see, which would seem to be a requirement for this catagory; rather, it appears to be de novo, a unique creation, which is what makes it so special. I think it is neither Modern, Postmodern, nor Deconstructonist, although does suggest an evolution toward deconstructivism. - Leonard G. 02:13, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

The Sydney Opera House, while not Postmodernist, was part of a reaction against the "high-modernism" of the International Style. Architects began drawing from the contextual ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright, and revived expressionist forms (see the work of Jorn Utzon's contemporary Eero Saarinen), and at least here on wikipedia, the Sydney Opera House gets more identified with the idea of critical regionalism wherein modernist architecture is no longer "International" but may draw from more local context (here, the "sail" idea of the Sydney Harbour), while not "quoting" historicism in the same way as postmodernism. Or at least that is how I understand it - I may be wrong. Morgan Riley (talk) 15:03, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Comment on the newest addition[edit]

While I am happy to see this article expanded, this newest addition [3] strikes me as slightly odd. I ran swaths of text through google, which usually helps determine C&P from other sites, but found nothing. What strikes me as odd though is the inclusion of (fig. 5) type references to illustrations that don't exist. DVD+ R/W 20:50, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm thinking that it's a student's paper. The missing figures would be images that the author realizes are OK to insert into an academic paper, but not into Wikipedia. It needs some work, but that's what Wikipedia editors are for. Thanks to Azhardesai and hope you don't mind being edited. Novickas 03:28, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
PS, it would be good to have the building date included in the image captions. Novickas 03:30, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
I didn't mean to sound harsh or suspicious, it's just that lengthy unformatted additions are very often copyvios. If it's a student's paper then I applaud Azhardesai for that. I'll add more info to the captions soon. DVD+ R/W 06:11, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
As the article has been resident for some time, I will assume that it is not copyvio and will be wikifying it. Perhaps others could assist. Things needed:
  • Link architect names for those that have Wikipedia articles, for those that do not, add external references to their current information
  • Link example buildings
  • Add example images
  • Sectionize the article
  • Review earlier articles for text and images to include
  • etc. (add items here)
- Leonard G. 17:46, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

More images[edit]

On another note, above are some images that I think we should include. I've also seen some pics from buildings by Aldo Rossi and Carlo Scarpa, that maybe should be added also. I added Piazza d'Italia by Charles Willard Moore to the lead already. DVD+ R/W 20:50, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Portland PSB is too poor an image in my opinion. The NYC building with the Chipendale top would be a good inclusion (building name?). Also, I will obtain an image of the Hobart Building (early 20th century building in San Fransciso) as a reference for the lead skyscraper image, to show the roots of the top-middle-bottom style, mostly rejected by modernism - Leonard G. 02:32, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
the one you are referring to in nyc with the chippendale top is the AT&T Building by Philip Johnson, I found a picture it isn't perfect though. you should explain and preferably cite some information about the "top-middle-bottom style" I've never heard of that before. I just found some pictures of the portland building on flickr and am uploading them now. be right back, DVD+ R/W 03:59, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Portland building


The tone of the "brief Discussion" is I think too chatty and filled with anthropomorphisms. Postmodernism did this.. Postmodernism did that... and too much emphasis on Venturi. Needs to be overhauled. One should at least discuss the impact of Charles Jencks' book. ec.Brosi 18:01, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Continuing my rewrite. Dive in if you think it is still too chatty. - Leonard G. 02:20, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


a) context / history / kitsch

b) sign / meaning / semiotics

c) pop or novelty (I found an article about a Duck building Big Duck. I think novelty architecture is what Venturi means by "Duck" but honestly I don't know.) maybe metaphor or simile would also work as a section about this tendency in pm. the term novelty makes me think of something else however - newness. the figurative aspect of pop art parallels pm representational and sometimes mimetic art. Gehry worked with Claes Oldenberg and Coosje Van Bruggen, and with writer and curator Germano Celant they collaborated at the 1985 Venice Biennale on The Course of the Knife. (ref Margaret Plant. Venice: 1797-1997. Yale University Press. 2002. ISBN 0300083866 Pg. 399 ref) Oldenberg designed the Binoculars at the Chiat Day building and Gehry later attached a jet to the facade of Aerospace Hall and often used vernapcular materials as if found objects.

d) decoration

e) formal complexity

f) technology

looks good Leonard G I'm glad you are working on this. I'm trying to anticipate some sections to add to this article and made some suggestions above. what do you think? interesting choices for the initial and final images I've never heard of either building or architect but they both seem postmodern to me DVD+ R/W 18:37, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

1000 de la Gauchetiere has its own article, referenced now from the image. I think that this is exempliary of the style as applied to modern skyscrapers. Unfortunately the pediment is not well displayed but shows the dominant top-middle-bottom progression seen in PM. I included the tail image as a warning to architects of what not to do. - Leonard G. 19:19, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
about 1000 de la Gauchetiere and Image:ShanghaiMixedClassic.jpg. they are pretty borderline as far as notability, an indication of this is that those buildings or the architects that made them are not written about much in reliable sources especially in terms of postmodern architecture which is the subject of this aricle. I understand what you are saying to some extent but no matter how "rich" or "poor" you believe the Portland building images to be, and exemplary the SAM is this all needs to be credible and verifiable. Graves and Venturi are known for postmodernism - you can look that up in many books, websites, and articles whereas 1000 de la Gauchetiere and Image:ShanghaiMixedClassic are not. DVD+ R/W 02:58, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Final Image[edit]

The last image on this page, of an Asian building labeled "an attempt at postmodernism" seems a little underhanded. The building shown is completely anonymous, and certainly less relevant than than the other examples of the style available on wikimedia. The person who took this image has even added a crude critique of it to the image tags, which leads me to believe it was added to spite the article. Anyone else agree this should be removed?

Agreed - remove it. Staib 01:35, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I added it to show an example of how poorly postmodernism can be done, in contrast to the excelence shown other images I added such as the lead image (not to spite the article). - Leonard G. 02:31, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I certainly understand the sentiment, but this brings up two problems. First, this is an anonymous building chosen by you as poor. More appropriate in an encyclopedic context would be an image of a well known postmodern building with cited criticisms by various architectural scholars. Secondly, your image hangs in a seemingly random portion of the page, rather than in the context of a criticism section. Whether such a section is needed is a different matter altogether, but as it is a floating photograph without context does not constitute coherent criticism. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:20, 3 May 2007 (UTC).

Abteiberg Museum[edit]

Could someone please explain to me how this building can be regarding as Postmodern? (A non-rhetorical, non-snide question; I genuinely want to know) It doesn't seem to have any of the characteristic I'd associate with Postmodern architecture (e.g. use of surface decoration, historical references, humour etc.).

Also, as far as I'm aware the term postmodernism was first applied to architecture by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as a derogotory term leveled at the New Brutalist/Team X movement (championed by Reyner Banham and exemplified by the likes of Alison and Peter Smithson, Aldo van Eyck, Sir Denys Lasdun and to a lesser degree Louis Kahn) whose extreme approach to exterior expression of structure and functional use, and urbanism and attention to context (in terms of scale if nothing else) broke with the formalism, rigorousness, supposed universiality, and obsession with proportions of the ("not really a style at all") International Style, yet many of those building now appear as exemplars of the "bad modernism" Postmodernists reacted against. Is this worth mentioning? (talk) 00:00, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

I think this image must have been included by someone based on the fact that its architect Hans Hollein is often described as postmodern, however the Abteiberg Museum is certainly not a common example of postmodernism. Elekhh (talk) 03:42, 1 November 2009 (UTC)


This article desperately needs a section clarifying the different uses of the term postmodern in architecture. Most notable theoreticians of architecture (William J. R. Curtis, Charles Jencks, Kenneth Frampton) give the term somewhat different meaning. However, postmodern architecture should not be exemplified by everything built after modernism. Therefore I removed from the article examples which can be classified as high-tech, critical regionalism or deconstructivism. Elekhh (talk) 03:42, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Representative Architects[edit]

How are Calatrava and Renzo Piano good representations of Postmodernism? I have never seen an example of ornamentation in either of their works, nor do either of their articles contain any reference to Postmodernism. The term does not simple mean "notable architects of the past 30 years"! They both tend towards structure and functionally expressive designs, if scultural. In fact, including them will likely confuse the uninformed reader, as their styles clash so blatantly with Venturi and Johnson's works in postmodernism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:39, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

On a second look, 3 of Calatrava's buildings are used as examples, none of them exemplary PM examples. Since when did white structural gymnatics become the face of this page? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:45, 24 September 2010 (UTC)


I added a blurb about the origin of the term "Contextualism" in the Relation to Previous Styles section. Here's the excerpt from the source:

"In fact, the term originally used by Steven Hurtt and Stuart Coheen was Contexturalism, a conflation of Context and Texture. We were interested in urban texture, what Italians call the tessuto urbano (more literally: "Urban Fabric"), and urban form."

I thought this was notable because it shows a unique source of the term as used in Architecture which is unrelated to the philosophical ideas of Contextualism. Would be interesting to know more about how these two are related. Ahp378 (talk) 22:55, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Lead too long[edit]

Hi! I think this article's introduction should be more compact. Too many details up there that should be further down in the sections. Any suggestions? Cheers Horst-schlaemma (talk) 11:31, 23 March 2014 (UTC)