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The Story of Post-Modernism. Five Decades of the Ironic, Iconic and Critical in Architecture

  • ID: 2211346
  • Book
  • 272 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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In the late 20
th century, Post–Modernism was the leading global movement in architecture. It questioned the assumption of a single style and cultural totality and effectively stopped the Modern Movement in its tracks. In 1972, this was symbolised by the demolition of Pruitt–Igoe Housing in St Louis, Missouri, the first large–scale modernist housing scheme to be blown up by public demand. Following further detonations, a positive set of traditions flowed into the growing Post–Modern stream, and the pluralist philosophy so active today. Notable were Contextualism and Radical Eclecticism, Post–Modern Classicism and Regionalism, the Heteropolis and the new level of public engagement in city development. After twenty years of success, and then the inevitable commercial rips–offs, Post–Modern architecture succumbed to ersatz, debased by fashion as other leading movements before it. Yet, in another historical turn at the Millennium, plural cultures sought a richer identity than the Minimalism on offer and the result was the second great flowering of Post–Modernism. Now, much aided by the computer and the worldwide web this tradition re–emerged in an outburst of iconic architecture, a patterned ornament driven by digitisation and the complexity paradigm, which has provided the larger ecological and cosmic picture. Ironically, subtracted of its Post–Modern label, this richer architecture again flourishes as the alternative to a mechanistic modernism.

In The Story of Post–Modernism, Charles Jencks, an authority on the subject, provides a lively and accessible account of Post–Modern architecture from its roots in the early 60s to the present day. In an evolutionary diagram, Jencks charts the variety of streams that now make up the river delta and discusses the main characters from James Stirling to Frank Gehry and Herzog & de Meuron.

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PREFACE Post–Modernism Resurgent?

The Back Story

Some Debts Acknowledged

And Especially Madelon

PART I The Perfect Storm of Post–Modernism

The Moral Failures of Modernism

The Recurrent Deaths of Modernism

The Triumph of Nothingness

Revisionists and Le Corbusier Lead the Revolt

Complexity and Double–Coding the First Post–Modern Synthesis

The Shape of History Big, Medium and Small Waves

PART II Searching for Difference, Finding Commonality

Global Pluralism

Radical Eclecticism, the First Response to Homogeneity

Contextual Counterpoint

Post–Modern Classicism the Ironic International Style

Media Events and Money

A Diversion on Cost and Taste

James Stirling Synthesises Contextualism and Pluralism

The Complexity Paradigm Extended

Modernists Becoming Post–Modern

Time–Binding Opposites

PART III Towards a Critical Modernism

What is a City? a Complex Adaptive System

Heterotopias and the Heteropolis

Expressively Green and Inexpensive

Rem Koolhaas, Steven Holl, Toyo Ito and the Porous Route Building

Peter Eisenman, the Landform and the Critical–Creative

PART IV Complexity and Nature s Ornament

The Complexity Paradigm

Fractal Architecture and the Metaphysics of Seamless Continuity

Opening up the White Cube

Four Degrees of Ornament

PART V The Coming of the Cosmic Icons

The Iconic Building and its Discontents

The Bilbao Effect

Multiple Meaning and Enigmatic Signifiers

Worthy Icons?

Paranoia, Veiled Themes and Cosmic Iconology

Premature Conclusion: the Iconology of Post–Modernism?


A Post–Modern Bibliography

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Charles Jencks
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