Post Modern Architecture Critical Essays

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Brutalism can be seen as modern architecture at its most radical: the idea that architecture might quite literally build a better world rendered into a stark aesthetic of bold abstract forms and raw concrete.

The Balfron Tower in the Brutalist Brownfield Estate in London, England.

A classic example is the Cascades in Canary Wharf, which arrived before the office buildings.

Its innovation was to incorporate references to Victorian warehouses in the base of a 20-story building, which by its summit had morphed into the kind of tower that, up until that point, could only be found in New York or Hong Kong This architectural approach proved critical to fashioning a new urban identity for an area still ravaged by deindustrialization -- an idea taken to the extreme in John Outram's pumping station which appears as a kind of Pomo/Art-Deco/Egyptian temple.

Against this backdrop, the standard view of postmodernism sees it arriving as a ray of light, as a burst of color, energy and fun.

While modernism had sought to draw a line under the past, postmodernism used it as a quarry of sources, references and quotations, deploying them with wit, irony and irreverence.Envisioned as an exhibition building and luxury apartment complex for the Guggenheim Foundation’s first museum - The Museum of Non-Objective Painting - in 1943, Wright’s remarkable artwork, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and overlooking Central Park, by its official opening in 1959 has developed into a permanent home to a renowned collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art, as well as into one of the architectural landmarks of the 20th century.Post-modernism is a school of thought or a tendency in contemporary culture which rejects modernism.While the neatness of this summary is alluring, on the ground the reality was rather more complex.Take Terry Farrell's TV-am building in Camden: the new studio for the the UK's first breakfast TV franchise is seen as one of the era-defining postmodern projects, reflecting the spirit of the 1980s.Further east, in what became known as Docklands, a very different kind of postmodern urbanism could be found in the work of CZWG.By drawing on the area's industrial heritage and combining it with contemporary references to fashion, a new architectural identity for the area was born.There are numerous ingenious and revolutionary works that led the American Institute of Architects to distinguish Frank Lloyd Wright as the greatest American architect of all time, but among the 1141 works Wright designed during his 70 years long remarkable career, the Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum in New York City perhaps stands apart by its grandiosity, eloquence, and elegance.We are even seeing a number of contemporary architects and designers taking inspiration from its garish colors and outlandish decorative schemes, such MVRDV in the Netherlands, ARM in Australia and even Caruso St John in the UK.What was once maligned for its association with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and American president Ronald Reagan, vilified for its crass commercialism, and written off as the cultural embodiment of everything that was wrong with 1980s, is now, remarkably, undergoing a critical reassessment.


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