Postmodern architecture: from Las Vegas to Japan

Postmodern architecture: from Las Vegas to Japan

Postmodern architecture emerged in the late 1960s as a backlash against the monotony of modernism. It was a cry for architects to unstick themselves from entrenched ideals and endlessly accumulating glass blocks. In protest, postmodernism added expressive characteristics onto the muted palette of modernity such as colour, reappropriating historical styles and humour. Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi stepped out onto the sidewalks of Las Vegas to see what they could learn from the low-brow. Philip Johnson, Michael Graves and Charles Moore piled up neoclassical references in new ways. Terry Farrell combined Aztec design with green glazing in London, James Stirling threw pink-painted metal pipes against travertine in Stuttgart and Arata Isozaki deconstructed mathematical forms, combining the high-tech with the traditional. It’s a movement that kept on moving, embarking down new routes well into the 1990s and early 00s; nothing was ever too much.

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