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“ Architects can no longer afford to be

intimidated by the puritanically moral
language of orthodox Modern architecture.”
– Robert Venturi
• “Less is A Bore”
Robert Venturi
• “Learning From Las Vegas”
• The Duck and the Decorated Shed
The Architects of Post-Modernism and their
Breaking the Box of Modernism

The monolith of
Modernism began to
show hairline cracks
after WWII.

Architects surveyed the

field and found the
zeal, conviction and
utopian vision of the
pioneering Modernists
The Seagram Building waning.
Mies Van Der Rohe, 1958
The Reaction to
Modernism, 1950s-1970s
Postmodern architecture
began as an international
style whose first examples
are generally cited as being
from the 1950s, but did not
become a movement until
the late 1970s and
continues to influence
present-day architecture.

1000 de La Gauchetière, Montréal, Lemay

& Associates architects, 1992
The Emergence of Post-Modernism

• 1960s - the emergence of Post-Modernism, a way

of thinking of architecture that is quite different
from the approach of International Style

• “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture”,

Robert Venturi, 1966 made the case for non-
straightforward architecture and glorified
Baroque architecture.

Mies Van de Rohe “Less is more “

Robert Venturi “Less is a bore”
Robert Venturi’s Vision
I like elements which are hybrid rather
than ‘pure’, compromising rather
than ‘clean’, distorted rather than
‘straightforward’, ambiguous rather
than ‘articulated’, perverse as well
as impersonal, boring as well as
‘interesting’, conventional rather
than ‘designed’, accommodating
rather than excluding, redundant
rather than simple, vestigial as well
as innovating, inconsistent and
equivocal rather than direct and
clear. I am for messy vitality over
obvious unity. I include the non
sequitor and proclaim the duality.
Robert Venturi, Vanna Venturi House, Pennsylvania, 1962

In this modest dwelling, Venturi combined simplicity of external form with

complexity of interior layout, and conventional symbols and elements with
contradictory arrangements.The house was constructed with intentional
formal architectural, historical and aesthetic contradictions.
Farnsworth House, Illinois
Mies Van Der Rohe
The Duck and the Decorated Shed
The terms “duck” and “decorated shed” were
codified in the 1972 book Learning from Las
Vegas by Robert Venturi, his wife Denise Scott
Brown, and their friend Steven Izenour. The
book argues that there are two distinctly
different types of buildings and that all
buildings can be classified as one or the other.

Duck-shaped roadside building, Eastern Long

Island, used to sell ducks and eggs.
‘Wit, ornament and reference’

Postmodernity in architecture is generally

thought to be heralded by the return of "wit,
ornament and reference" to architecture in
response to the formalism of the International
Style of modernism.
The functional and formalized shapes and
spaces of the modernist movement are
replaced by unapologetically diverse

•styles collide
•form is adopted for its own sake
•new ways of viewing familiar styles and
space abound.

Perhaps most obviously, architects

rediscovered the expressive and symbolic
value of architectural elements and forms
that had evolved through centuries of
building—often maintaining meaning in
literature, poetry and art—but which had
been abandoned by the modern movement.
City Hall, Mississauga, Canada , 1987
Modernism=Post Modernism
• Modernist architects may regard • ...while Postmodern architects may
postmodern buildings as vulgar, regard many modern buildings as
associated with a populist ethic, and soulless and bland, overly simplistic
sharing the design elements of and abstract.
shopping malls andmay cluttered
with "gew-gaws". .. • ...while the "grays" were embracing a
more multifaceted cultural vision,
• This contrast was exemplified in the seen in Robert Venturi's statement
juxtaposition of the "whites" against rejecting the "black or white" world
the "grays," in which the "whites" view of modernism in favor of "black
were seeking to continue (or revive) and white and sometimes gray."
the modernist tradition of purism
and clarity, ... • ... While postmodernism is a
rejection of strict rules set by the
The divergence in opinions comes down early modernists and seeks meaning
to a difference in goals: modernism is and expression in the use of building
rooted in minimal and true use of techniques, forms, and stylistic
material as well as absence of references.
The ‘Post-Modern’ Architects

• Philip Johnson
• Charles Moore
• Michael Graves
• Robert A.M. Stern
• James Stirling
• Frank Gehry
• Robert Venturi
No 20th C architect has
Philip Johnson received more attention for
his historicism than Philip
Johnson, nor has any
architect practiced or
indeed lived longer than he

In 1984, Johnson took the

center of Post-Modernist
age, with his AT&T
Headquarters in New York

At its base is a giant

Serliana, which has been
compared by some to the
facade of Brunelleschi’s
Pazzi Chapel, and at its
crown a broken pediment,
which has been compared
to a grandfather’s clock or
18th C highboy.

Left: Pazzi Chapel, Brunelleschi, Florence, 1441

AT&T Building, New York

The Miesian Tradition

With this building and its references to

architectural styles of the past,
Philip Johnson broke completely
with the Miesian tradition. In fact,
his client had said emphatically
that the company did not want
another glass box. Philip Johnson and John Burgee, American Telephone
and Telegraph Headquarters, New York, 1984.
Philip Johnson

Bank of America Center,

Houston, John Burgee and
Philip Johnson, 1984
combines architecture
elements of pre-WWII
skyscrapers with elements
of modern aesthetics.
Charles Moore, 1933

The Piazza d’Italia in New

Orleans (1975-79) consists
of a flamboyant, wildly
Ne0-Classical, neon-
outlined, scenographic
backdrop for a contour
map of Italy set in a pool
of water that is
demarcated by concentric
rings of marble paving. It
is much spectacle as
Charles Moore brought to Post-
Modernism a gentle but studied
playfulness that made his
buildings immediately accessible
to the public and professionals
alike. Moore took pleasure in
historical allusions, but with
large doses of whimsy.

Piazza d’ Italia, 1979

Michael Graves, 1934
Graves describes his work as
‘figurative’, with the figural
elements traceable to
‘classical and
anthropomorphic sources’.

The Portland Building in

Portland, Oregon (1980) is
replete with quotations
from the classical language:
the temples on the roof
(never built), the giant
keystone beneath them,
the pair of fluted pilasters
of indeterminate order,
and the tiered stylobate at
street level.
The Portland Building in Portland, Oregon
Graves was also a force in reintroducing color
into 20th c architecture, as here with the green
base, terracotta-colored columns, and tan
flanking walls punctured by square windows.

The Portland Building, Oregon,

Swan and Dolphin Hotel, Michael Graves
Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida, 1987
Michael Graves Projects, 1980s

A Private Residence

Celebration Florida Fire Station

St Coletta School, Washington D.C., 2006
Michael Graves

Various products for commercial outlets

Robert A.M. Stern (b 1939)

Disney’s Newport Bay Club, 1992.

Disney's Newport Bay Club is a hotel situated at the Disneyland Paris. It was
designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern and styled after archetypal New
England architecture with its white clapboard exterior, porches, woodwork and
nautical memorabilia. Its name was derived from the town of Newport, Rhode
Post-Modernism defined by Robert Stern:
contextualism, allusionism, and ornamentalism.

Contextualism refers to connections

between the building and its
setting as Post-Modernist
architects attempt to link their
buildings to established patterns,
geometries, and possibilities for
future growth, rather than
conceiving each design as an
isolated object in the landscape, as
many would argue that Modernists
Robert Stern Projects

Residence, Edgartown.

One of the entrances to the Walt Disney World Casting Center, across the road from Downtown Disney. The
architectural design is by Robert Stern, with its castle-like influences and Mickey Mouse shapes.

Stern has written at length about classicism, calling it the “fulcrum about which architectural discourse balances”
and has built in a variety of traditional styles.
James Stirling

Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany 1984

Stirling’s Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, Germany contains a host of historical allusions, and responds to its site in a
fashion somewhere between the search for a genus loci, or peculiar character of the place, and literal

Stirling made the rotonda a sculptural garden and part of a public walkway designed in homage to an established
pedestrian path through the site. As for the allusions, Stirling used Greek or Roman pediments to Egyptian cavetto
cornices to displaced stonework.
James Stirling Projects

The Biological Science Library,

University of California, Irvine, 1994

Cambridge Faculty of History, England

Team Disney Building, Arato Isozaki, 1990
Education City Convention Centre, Qatar by Arata Isozaki
Under Construction

The conceptual design of the centre was developed to incorporate a large “Sidra tree” has
very strong roots, which allow it to flourish in the harsh climate of the desert. The tree is a
symbol of strength and growth, serving as an icon to the people of Qatar as well as the
emblem of the Qatar Foundation.
Frank Gehry, (b1929)

Frank Gehry has succeeded in having a host of designs that would seem destined to remain as models
or conceptual drawings actually built. Early in his career he realized that he often preferred buildings in
an incomplete state of construction to the finished products. While most would have left it at that,
Gehry started to design new buildings that seemed frozen in a state of becoming.

Above: Frank Gehry Residence, 1978

Team Disney Administration Building, California, 1995

Seen from the freeway, its flat,

quilted metal facade
appears to be quite
conventional, its regularity
broken only by slight offsets
in the stacking of windows
and the mottled colored

To the rear however, the buildings massing

becomes curvilinear, warped, even delusional,
as canary-yellow walls bend, lean forward, and
lean back, their canopies equally disfigured, as
if a result of a recent seismic event.
Team Disney Burbank, California, 1991.

Michael Graves designed the building, which features large figures of the dwarves
from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on its facade acting as caryatids.
National Nederlander, “Fred and Ginger”, Praque (1997)

Here, within a historic context, Gehry took movement as his theme for a corner building that
twists and projects in space with an energy expressive of the opening up of Eastern Europe since
the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Gehry, National Nederlander, “Fred and Ginger”, Praque (1997)

The entrance tower of concrete columns bundled in glass seem to sway as if part of an
urban choreography in step with the surrounding buildings and space, hence the “Fred
and Ginger” nickname. The result, though idiosyncratic, is surprisingly contextual,
acknowledging adjacent medieval towers and Baroque facades and domes.
Gehry, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (1997)
This museum has aroused a kind of popular and critical interest equalled by few other 20th c constructions. His
exhilarating structure replaced dock facilities on a site adjacent to the Nervion river in a gritty manufacturing city.
Out of a four mass blossom “pleated petals” of titanium attached to a steel frame. The museum acts as a mirror,
reflecting and absorbing the city, reflecting and absorbing itself. Giving off a metallic luminescence, it hovers and
shimmers at the end of a hard-edged urban vistas.
Gehry began to explode buildings, breaking them up into discrete
volumes in a way that to some, reflects the fragmentation in modern
Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (1997)
Toronto Entertainment Center, Under Construction
UTS Campus, Sydney
Under Construction