It’s no secret that post-modernism has, in recent years, experienced something of a revival. The much-maligned movement’s exhuberant and joyful take on architecture is perhaps a solace in difficult moments. Or, for the more jaded among us, perhaps it simply lends itself to Instagram.
That said, it’s not quite the postmodernism that took off in the 60s. Post postmodernism is also concerned with history and context, but with contemporary spins made possible by new technologies. Installations and other temporary typologies also bring with them a fresh perspective, preserved forever on the internet for our vicarious enjoyment. But perhaps most crucially, it is no longer so wholly a reaction against the hegemony of modernism; something that the original postmodernists were fixated with. Today’s postmodernism can be at once joyful and reserved, vernacular and high-tech.
MVRDV’s design for an entertainment complex in Incheon, South Korea, features a facade peppered with windows – though in fact, there are no windows at all. The building’s program is entirely interior, but the facade allows it to respond to it’s context in a wholly unique way.
Monadnock was challenged to create a landmark for a town. The resulting public tower is neither church nor clocktower, but somehow draws from the architectural language of both. The ornate but subdued facade suggests a traditional brick structure (in line with Dutch vernacular architecture), but the structure is, in fact, largely steel.
Attika Architekten decorated this facade of an office building with, not gargoyles or insignias of the city (as a more traditional building might have done), but with emojis. It’s a playful nod to architecture of the past, while remaining entirely of its own moment.
Why have a decorated shed (or indeed a duck) when you could have mushrooms? These padstools from Ateliers Bauhinia house a variety of garden-related programs, from shed to terrace.
This installation, developed for The Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love commands attention and requests only joy in return. Bright colors, bold words, and familiar forms are all part of the post postmodern experience.
FAT, the legendary London studio, created this house in Essex with artist Grayson Perry as their last official work before disbanding. The house is sumptuously decorated and references a wide range of architectural movements and contexts – not least among them Essex itself.
This play park in China from X+Living is meta postmodernist, referring to the 60s Vegas aesthetic in a contemporary color palette. Cheerful shapes and a throwback vibe make for an experience situated with one foot in the future, one in the past.
Polycarbonate is the main material in this project in China, designed to be a haven for kids. The project combines familiar forms with punchy and bright moments, culminating with a red house perched atop the entire structure. The only aim – to create a “magical reality” from what could have been a mundane space.
With it’s reserved color palette and sharp edges, COBE’s Frederiksvej Kindergarten is perhaps not typically postmodernist, or even post postmodernist. But the project takes it’s form not only from its surroundings, but also from the drawings of its pupils. It may be quiet, but it’s impossible not to smile.
Xing Di’s Church brings a more traditional take on postmodernism to rural region in China. Fighting a limited budget and small site, the project pays close attention to the tactile and experiential. It’s not locally contextual, referring instead to an established (but foreign) approach to design.